The fact is, I am a much leaner machine when I'm training then when I'm not. Before I started running regularly in 2005, I only weighed about 10-15 lbs more than I do now in the midst of a hard training cycle, but I wore clothes 2-3 sizes bigger back then. Basically, the point is you take running away from me and the pounds creep back. This has been a tough 5 weeks for me. Not training and periods of no running at all are hard enough just because it's a loss of doing something I like to do. The less time with friends, the lack of the stress relief and endorphins release are hard, sure. But the thing I am struggling with the most is the fact that I've gained 4 pounds. It sounds absurd just typing it.
In theory, I realize it's not possible to stay my leanest at all times of the years. In fact, it's probably not even healthy. Yet, I find it so hard to accept my body with a couple of extra pounds of chub. I hate the way my jeans feel. I hate feeling like I need to pull and tug my sweaters so they don't cling to the bit of flab I feel is there. I know in reality, no one other than those really close to me could possibly tell I weigh more and no one would look at me and think I was fat. If I flew out of my body and looked at me across the room I'd probably laugh at myself for feeling this way. Yet, I do.
I take so much pride in my strong lean trained body and no matter how much I tell myself that this state is temporary, that I will soon be the chick (semi)comfortably rocking the boy-shorts and sports bra, I have a hard time accepting my body this way. I want to tell everyone I see--"hey, this is me not training! I normally am leaner! I swear! I do not accept this level of flabitude for myself!" It's like I'm me, just with an asterisk. I want everyone to know that average is not acceptable. Above average is not acceptable. Right now I might still be above average, but if I'm really being honest, deep down that is not good enough for me. I certainly don't judge others against my standards. Why then do I hold myself to these (impossibly?) high standards?
I struggle with whether to view my attitude about my body as an unhealthy body image or just my personal preference for myself. I am sure I'm not the only female runner or athlete out there who feels this way. At least I have the recent experience of losing 50 lbs twice in the last 3 years to give me a little perspective. I suppose compared to post-pregnancy, these four pounds I'm sporting are really no big deal other than making those jeans a bit uncomfortable.