Saturday, February 25, 2012

Kate: Serious Business

Warning: There will be frank discussion of weight/eating issues in this post. If you feel that is triggery, go check out one of our more lighthearted posts. I promise, sometimes this blog is very funny!

Lately, I've been trying to lose weight. Thanks to skating and generally trying to do more physical activity, I'm in good shape, but I'm still overweight.

Yep. I admit it. My BMI is high and y'all, I'm not going to share any numbers here, but let's just say I'm not overly thrilled with what said numbers are. Building muscle/getting in shape is not a big struggle for me, which is nice, but losing weight is an uphill battle that is not helped any by my deep and passionate love of good food and wine. I have difficulty saying no to things that make me feel good and a tendency to overdo it when I'm indulging.

I was always a very thin, but uncoordinated child. Athletics didn't really come naturally to me (other than skating - apparently when balanced on thin blades on the ice, I am very coordinated. If only I could skate my way through life in general!), but I was still fairly active. I rode my bike around, I climbed trees, I wandered around our yard and neighborhood playing all sorts of pretend games where I was a pioneer woman or a fairy or a mermaid or whatever. I could eat whatever I wanted back then.

Puberty hit early, and I was granted a woman's body immediately. Everyone who knows me in real life knows that I am a curvy lady, and it was pretty much that way from the start. I, like many other teenaged girls, thought I was fat, and with the stresses of being a teenager who struggled with depression and very low self-esteem, I eventually developed an eating disorder.

I was very lucky, in the end. I had friends who supported me (and two who went to a school counselor when they realized I was beyond their help). I got into therapy and spent years trying to overcome the control issues and build self-esteem. I struggled with food and weight issues for most of my teens and early twenties, but I can say that my friends forcing me to confront these things early may have quite literally saved my life.

Eventually, I did build self-esteem. I also gained a LOT of weight in my mid-twenties, and have spent years trying to lose it in a healthy way. Part of the struggle there is I worried about backsliding and ending up with my same unhealthy habits I had in my youth and losing the self-worth I had fought so hard for. This led me to develop new unhealthy habits - I'd tell myself that it was okay to eat what I wanted, because the weight loss wasn't a big deal. I'm still pretty, guys are still into me, I am a worthwhile person at any weight. Pass the fried avocado, done and done.

Well. I am pretty. I am a worthwhile person. I am a good friend, a loving daughter, and a smart and dedicated student. I also am now trying to lose the weight to help me be even healthier, even better at the athletics I do. I'm writing this blog entry to give me accountability in this journey. I'm sure I will have nights where I go out and drink wine with my girlfriends and indulge in that cheese plate, but for now I am trying to think of the diet as something that is not to be feared or resented for taking away one of life's pleasures. Eating healthy does not have to be a chore.

I recently told some friends that the greatest gift of my late 20's is that every time I look in the mirror, I see someone who is beautiful. I also have looked back over the last two and a half years of my life, years in which I have lost so much, but I have also gained. The inner strength I have found since my mother's death and the peace I've found with myself will make this journey easier, I think.

I think I'm going to wind this blog entry down, and finish it off with saying that I hope the work I'm putting in to weight loss and my health will also make me a better skater. I know I'll definitely be going to the rink more often to help me get into better shape. Hopefully my next entry will be all about how I've gotten the scratch spin and the slachow jump!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kate-Triumphant Return

Another blog update! I know, it's very exciting. It's going to be all about what you've been waiting to hear about - my triumphant return to the ice. And triumphant it was!

I have a long and storied history of not taking proper care of myself after surgery and ending up back in bed, weak and worn-out. This always makes my recovery take longer, and yet, every time I try to get up and get back to business too soon. This time, however, I resolved to actually rest and recovery properly. I spent a lot of time reading and lounging about and generally letting my body actually heal. I took six weeks off the ice, and when I returned I was really nervous and convinced I would have lost all of my skills.

Well, there was some backsliding, clearly. My first day back I was very shaky on things I had been doing well on before - I got busted back down to a one foot spin (I was learning scratch spins and backspins before) and baby jumps. But I've been practicing a lot and doing strength training off-ice, and I am very quickly returning to where I was before. It's true that practice makes perfect.

The most exciting news about all this practice is I am now learning the salchow jump. It's incredibly frustrating because it's taking me a long time to get it, but I'm practicing. In class, I could not seem to get it, but then when I went to practice on Sunday I just worked on jumps for an hour and fifteen minutes, and by the end of practice I had had a few successful tries! The amazing thing about figure skating is the feeling you get when you finally manage something that you've struggled with.

I'm still on one-footed spins - I've reverted to some bad habits that we need to correct (going into it from two feet, for example). I also need to get over my fear of gaining momentum - speed is what you WANT in a spin, and it always makes me panic. This week I plan to practice just that - gaining momentum and not being afraid to fall.

I was really frustrated with the changes at the rink and with skating in general, and during my time off I considered quitting. But now that I have returned to skating, I honestly can't imagine leaving it behind. No matter how hard it is, no matter the problems at the rink, it's worth it to be able to do something I love so much.