How do you identify yourself? A year ago, I would have identified myself as a mom, a wife, a Christian, a friend, sister, cousin, daughter, aunt, coach, driver, maid, chef. Perhaps the label I would have given myself, but never told anyone about is "the fat girl." Funny, I would never give someone else that label. I save it for myself. Why? I guess it was just to bring myself down, to keep that fear of success in the back of my mind.
I have been thinking about these labels a lot lately. These labels I give myself are who I am. They shape my thinking (and my thinking shapes them). Now that I have started running, I have time to think about these labels. Side note: Typically, the first half of my run is spent in prayer (and not just about praying I survive the run). This is where I give my cares to God, and my burdens go from my shoulders to His. He is definitely more capable of taking care of my worries than I am.
Now, the second half of my runs are spent clearing my mind of the things that were rolling around in there that weren't cleared out by the prayer session. Sometimes, I think about those labels, especially the fat girl one. Oh sure, I can gloss over it and think about what I need to cook for dinner (chef), what time sports practices are (coach and driver), what needs cleaned (maid), or even where my husband is traveling for his job this week (wife). I always come back to the fat girl label. When I started running with Casey (http://thefatfoodieandfriends.blogspot.com/) back in August 2010, I would complain about the way my fat would jiggle on the running portions of our Couch to 5K training plan (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml). This jiggling just increased that fat girl label in my head. Thank God that I had Casey running with me then. I would likely have given up. Sure I would have given excuses about how I should lose some weight before I started a running program. Then I would like running because I wouldn't have the jiggling. Truthfully, I wasn't going to like running no matter what at that time. The fat girl just complained about the jiggling because of her fear of success. This past Saturday, I ran just over 7 miles for the first time in my life. 7 MILES!!!! That was a lot of time to think about those labels.
For those of you who knew me last summer and have seen me recently, there is a significant difference in the way I look. It wasn't like I was on the Biggest Loser television show. The change in me was not that dramatic, but through Weight Watchers (http://www.weightwatchers.com/) and running, I have made changes in my life. I've dropped three clothing sizes. You will see me in the same clothes over and over again, because I only have a few that fit. I think I own more workout clothes now than clothes that are not workout clothes.
I still think about the fat girl label, especially when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I wonder who that person is and then I remember that I am seeing myself again. I have dropped that fat girl label. I needed a label to replace it. I replaced "fat girl" with "runner" after that 7 mile run on Saturday. On Saturday morning, I was a person who likes to run. On Saturday afternoon, after 7 miles of grueling hills (those of you who have driven in my neighborhood will shout AMEN to that one at the thought of running them), I began to think of myself as a runner. Runner: I like that. I think I will keep that one.
The next time I am asked to describe myself, I will use that label. I will tell people that I am a runner.
Happy Running everyone!