Tuesday, April 5, 2011
5Ks, Body Image Issues, and Lots of Gratitude
My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.
I'm also, apparently, to my great delight and surprise, a runner.
Crazy, I know. My friends, believe me when I say to you that I am one of the world's great couch potatoes. But I just ran twenty minutes without stopping. Twenty minutes!
I'm planning to run the Full Moon 5K in Tulsa on May 14. My wife and son will probably join me, and I'm training now, using the Couch-to-5K program. Every time I bump up to the next level, it's tough... but not impossible. And each time I get stronger. It gets easier. I love it.
I've been thinking about body image lately. I always saw myself as a "big" guy. I told myself that even if I lost all the weight I needed to lose, I would still be a big, barrel-chested guy. I saw myself as a big, lumbering guy. And I hated it. I know it's unusual for a man to talk about body image issues, but we experience this stuff too. I see the men on TV and in magazines, and I want to look like that. I sing in a cover band... I want to look like a rock star... skinny jeans and tight t-shirt and all.
But you know what? I've been lying to myself. I'm actually, really, honestly a lot smaller than I ever could see before. I was at my chiropractor's last month. He and I were talking about running, and he was working on my back... He said - I kid you not - "You'll be a great runner... You have such a nice, light frame." I actually asked him to repeat and clarify what he had said. Yup, I had heard correctly. I have a light frame. A small frame. Me.
Why have I never been able to see it? It's amazing the lies that we tell ourselves, that our disease whispers in our ears. I look in the mirror now, and I think I'm starting to see what I really look like.
Thanks be to God. I could never have imagined these gifts eight months ago. I was an absolute mess, and today I'm training for a 5K. I'm feeling more peace and joy than I have in years. I'm experiencing the 9th Step promises. I feel purposeful. I'm working on my 8th Step, and I'm not living in fear of the amends I have to make. I feel more connected to God, more in tune with my wife and kids, more accepting of myself and my character defects, more willing to turn my life and my will over to God's care, more able to accept life on life's terms...
I'm recovering, one day at a time. And I'm grateful.