Let’s talk words and labels (day 12)

M and I were talking before I left for the gym this morning. He remarked that my body is transforming into something more shapely, which was meant as a compliment and taken as such. He went on that “curvy” has been transformed into mainstream code for fat.

I’m not sure I like that, but I also know my opinions on the topic are so benign that it really does not impact the emotional equivalent of my blood pressure. But of course it got me thinking about terms and labels and what it all means. Truthfully, I have no idea, mostly because I have not invested enough time or energy to become truly offended or adapted or develop alternatives to what could potentially disturb my placidity on the subject. While I might ponder the obscure for sport, most of my time is spent thinking about such things in terms of the impact on my own life and times.

Am I moving from curvy to shapely? I don’t think so. In the world where I dwell with M, it is more from overly fat to more fit. Those descriptive terms are more meaningful to me in their descriptiveness. Was I ever curvy? I don’t think so; I was simply more fat. Fat is a discomforting term, one I do not use much or take lightly. However, being capable of neutrally using the word speaks volumes in itself of how much tougher and more confident I have become in the last 2 years. I still think I am fat, but less so than once upon a time. And perhaps oddly, I am okay with that. It took me a number of years to add such density to my frame and it will not burn itself up from all my wishful thinking.

I am starting to believe it is my acceptance of being this size and shape that tends to drive the more type A in midst mildly insane. If only I would be more careful with my diet or do more cardio I would reshape my shape so much faster. Even M, who is very careful not to apply his blanket proclamations about his brand of discipline and what it takes to become a better athlete, it is hard not to hear it and take it somewhat personally and be defensive about my choices. Thing is, I do not complain about not getting faster results. Closest I come is getting frustrated with my blood sugar peaking out higher than what I feel it should be when I have been very good with diet or my lack of ability with certain Lists or individual exercises when it seems I should be improving and am not. If I did complain about the shape of my shape or lack of progress with the scale or if I ever should in the future, I would become fair game about my somewhat lackadaisical attitudes toward diet and exercise could improve for M and anyone else to whom I bitch, moan, and complain about it. My attitude right now, if I’m not whining, no need for anyone else to be frustrated about my seeming lack of progress either. Progress I make does not necessarily show on the outside.

While moving along through my upper body List of the day today, I was pondering this and other matters … like why is it every time I am in that area of the gym and want to use the 30 lb. dumbbells they go missing? And maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I think no. Weighty matters indeed, I know.

But I digress. Back on topic here ….

During my practice I was thinking about the huffy-puffy Lists and the intensity factor, the go-go-go, don’t stop, don’t rest, don’t be a wimpy little girl with princess aspirations. Did it make me up my intensity and focus? Hardly. I went at my normal pacing for this List, did 4 sets instead of 3, and at least 15 reps with my typical weight range. In my book, that was perfectly fine effort and practice. On a Saturday on my own, mine is the only opinion I believe matters.

If I had more concrete goals other than “get to the gym and do something,” would I be trying harder, be more focused, more intense, more driven? Possibly. Probably. I suspect I would also be more anxious and stressed than I am with my present levels of effort, but perhaps not. I am having a lot of fun in my gym time, find my exercise efforts peaceful and relaxing at whatever pacing and intensity I happen to be exuding in the moment. For me, that counts for a lot. Maybe it takes me longer in my two-step dance with the scale and fitness, but this is not a process where I achieve success and replace exercise with learning to knit or play piano. Better health, exercise, fitness pursuits – I have to stop randomly thinking of or referring to it as a hobby. More importantly, I need to correct anyone in my life who thinks of or refers to it that way. It is a mandatory component of a good and healthy life and part of maintaining any sort of balanced outlook.

Probably everyone should exercise for optimal health. But the way of it – cardio versus resistance versus sports – I leave those debates to others with more knowledge and experience. M runs, I don’t. But he respects that I’m making progress getting fitter with my own weightier weights pursuits. I’m happy with those pursuits, and it shows with my consistency and with my happy attitude toward it. While “lifestyle” implies something I can change or adjust, exercise should be part of daily life. Period. For me, life itself is different and not optimal without exercise, and have an entire life’s history of before to compare with my present day after. From where I am and how I feel now, I know I need regular amounts of movement and exercise to have any sort of life I value or see as worthy of living. If that’s addictive, so be it.

I think about my focus and refer to my better health pursuits as more an objective than a goal. I looked both words up in the dictionary to clarify the differences in the terms and labels in my own mind. Goal is something to achieve or an objective reached, what I would tend to think of as a milestone or waypoint in my journey. Objective relates more to the intent toward the goal, the pursuit of the achievement. In my mind, much better and more accurate description of my better health quest.

While I occasionally acknowledge my wishful desire and aspiration for a more defined waistline, I do not think I am genetically composed of hourglass figure base materials. And if it were truly a goal and heart-felt desire for me, I could pursue corset training to get that appearance and effect. But appearance and the scale are more measures than goals or even objectives for me; I don’t want to fall into a trap of my own making by starting the endless chase of such gains in those ways.

For now, probably forever, I’ll stick with objectives (instead of goals) and fitter, less fat (rather than slender or thin) as the labels within the range of my own pursuits. It’s not buzzy or the stuff that social media trends are made of, but neither am I. As fab trainer J once described me, I am a tank in the gym. To me, tanks are strong, powerful, capable of getting shit done. It was an is high praise indeed.