Both my boyfriends are runners. One, in fact, runs marathons. Although built differently, they are muscular and lean. When we get naked I spend a lot of time running my hands over their chests and abs and legs, luxuriating in the different textures of skin, hair, muscle and bone. They’re beautifully constructed, and I love being naked with them, but I’ve been feeling a little bit self-conscious too. In comparison to the men in my bed, I’m curvy and soft. In fact, I may have some decidedly fluffy areas, and nothing brings that more to my attention than when a fluffy part is contrasted against a lean part of my boyfriend. The worst part is getting so caught up in worrying about my fluff that I’m pulled out of the connection between me and my partner.
I’ve never felt completely comfortable in my skin, and it has only been over the past couple years as I’ve embraced my kinks and sex positive attitude that I’ve begun to make peace with my body type. At my first play party, I think I spent most of the time marveling over the differences in bodies and how the most attractive people were the ones with the most confidence. Their actual shirt or pants size was irrelevant. It was how they carried themselves and their general attitude that said “badass.” I know from actual experience that sexy has more to do with attitude than physical form, but I need reminders. Especially since we’re in the season of treat making and giving and celebrating, and I’ve done more of these three things than exercising.
My criticisms of my body rise with my PMS. The week before my period I’m at my worst emotionally, and the easiest target is my lower abdomen. If you’ve had a baby, you know what I’m talking about. Then there are my upper thighs and upper arms, all of which need more physical activity and less cupcakes. The trick is reminding myself that I’ve made progress with my fitness goals and that all I need to feel better is to pull on my running shoes and get outside. Quite literally, I’m a few steps away from having a better attitude. Four miles later the mind monkeys will be quiet, and I’ll feel a hundred times better. Running also helps me break through writing blocks.
I also recognize the pitfall of food. Portion control is the name of my game, because I love good food. I love baking and cooking, and my kitchen is where I spend most of my time when I’m not writing. From past experience I know that cutting out things like cake and brownies never lasts long. The key for me is to make healthier choices while cutting back the treats so that they’re atypical, not the usual. Doesn’t sound crazy, does it? Well, it’s the doing that proves the biggest challenge. And to keep doing throughout the year despite falling off the healthy wagon. Oh yeah, that part.
As I look forward into the New Year, I’m making exercise and eating goals like most Americans. I hope I’ve gained enough experience to accept that the path to these goals isn’t always a straight one. Deadlines, the lure of tasty food and being a single parent can derail my best laid plans. What counts is getting back on the path and working to be my healthiest while accepting all the curves ahead. Especially my own.