Saturday, January 1, 2011


Today, the weather is more genuinely Wisconsin: bitter cold with a biting wind. If 2010 was out like a lamb, 2011 is in like a lion -- a really mad lion.

Speaking of change, I worked really hard on it in 2010 and anticipate more of the same in 2011. It's interesting, though, how change will ripple and spread into places one doesn't expect.

In 2010, I got really tired of being tired. My doctor thought it had a lot to do with weight (too much) and exercise (too little) . I decided I'd work on the exercise piece and the weight thing would fix itself. But it didn't work that way, and it never will, because the same voice that tells you "it's just one muffin" will also add loudly that "you JUST RAN THREE MILES." After eight months of vigorous exercise, I got really REALLY mad that the scale number wasn't going down, and realized I was going to have to (sigh) watch what I eat.

So I joined Weight Watchers. At first, the plan emphasized calorie counting, and just about the time that I was gonna throw in the towel and resign myself to being a slow, chunky fit person, they changed the plan to encourage more whole foods, discourage artificial and processed foods, and basically made fruit and veggies not count for purposes of tracking your food. This made all the difference in my ability to think I could stick to the plan long term, and since I joined I've lost ten pounds and maintained over the holidays. Today I'm back on the bandwagon, and anticipate that I'll be down to my goal weight by summertime.

This brings me to two points. One, given my height (five nine) and my overall build (big boned and muscular), even my goal weight will exceed my husband's weight, and I will never look "willowy" or "lithe" nor will I ever leave the athletic category designed for big women: Athena. While there's something cool about being in the same category as the Greek goddess of war and strategy, I must admit it's discouraging to know that a healthy weight for me would still classify me as "fat" among athletes.

Which brings me to my next point, which is, I don't know if it's the nature of being me or the nature of being human, but it seems that when I decided to change myself, to set boundaries and goals for myself, to do things in my own best interest, I get encouragement from people I don't expect (which is great) but I also catch a lot of flack from people I don't expect (which stinks). As a woman, it's hard to do the right thing for yourself, to set goals and meet them, to run farther and faster than you ever have in your life, and then learn that people (especially other women) are threatened by it, want to sabotage you, or question your motivations, or even your sanity, and then, on top of THAT, to know that even when you meet your goal, you'll still . . . well, weigh more than the average man. To know that you can also probably chick the average man is kind of cold comfort.

I know that names have meaning, and I don't think that there could be a better name for a class of big, strong, and athletic women than Athena. I am honored to be one. I guess I just wish I had Athena's self-assurance too.

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