I did a double take when I read recent headlines…
First lady Michelle Obama’s toned triceps have spurred an almost 4,400% increase in upper arm plastic surgery.
Really?! Oh my. This just in from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, I suppose the docs who make this country a beautiful place ought to know.
Most women, yours truly included, really do want to look great, well at least good. Of course, one glance in the mirror can send even a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model over the edge, because we are our own worst enemy. But really, cutting up your upper arms to get that look…not sure I get that.
For me, feeling truly whole includes being fit, not simply looking fit. While the days of bikini modeling are long over (ok, so they never really existed) I must remind myself daily that the journey to my physical and mental wellbeing is life long. It’s a lesson I continue to teach my two daughters. In addition to working hard at school, at a job, in giving back, work hard to take care of the beautiful body God gifted you.
When I was young, I was one of the lucky ones…naturally lean, long legged and with the appetite of Hagar the Horrible. But, I was also active and I devoured fruit and veggies with gusto. A satisfactory level of fitness was fairly easy. “Was” would be the keyword here.
Years later, a new phase of life would slowly reshape this body of mine. As if my days as a single, working mom weren’t chaotic enough – with raising children, working demanding jobs, being volunteer extraordinaire and so on – aging and the force of gravity were staring back at me. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall who’s the fairest of them all…please don’t answer that question!
Hmmm, so my limited time hitting the gym to jump on an elliptical was no longer cutting it. I’ve never been much of a scale person. Pants not pounds are my litmus test. If the britches are tight, Houston there is a problem. So, I threw in kickboxing class for a while – now that can kick your @*%! But as time passed, my sweat and weak jabs were simply not enough! A growing affinity for red wine may’ve played a small role, too.
So a couple of years ago-with a fast approaching birthday that has a big, fat ZERO at the end-I was ready to start a bucket list of sorts. When our children are young they have Well Baby/Child doctor visits. Why not have a “Well Mama List” to take on a few new “physical” challenges. Nothing outrageous or death defying… my list would just include sporty stuff I’d never done before.
Here we go: running, yoga, tennis and paddle boarding. Yes, that’s enough for now. At the tender age of just shy of the half-century mark this mom decided to become a fitness warrior – my petite version of one, anyway.
The quest began…both frustrating and exhilarating at the same time. With best friend/sister-in-law along for the ride and my two girls as occasional sweat partners and constant cheerleaders, my challenge has been fulfilling as someone who doesn’t quite fit the natural born, athlete status.
Running. At the beginning, the runs were slow and very, very short. We (me and my BFF ) began counting how many mailboxes, then utility poles and finally streets we could run past before taking a “walk” break. But the plodding and perspiring through the heat, humidity and hills of Tallahassee paid off. There are plenty of 5ks, a few 10ks and 15ks now under our belts. And, drum role please…completed my first ½ marathon in the big “50” year and didn’t even come close to dying.
Yoga. Okay, my days as a cheerleader didn’t provide quite the balance and flexibility skill set one would hope for on this venture into Downward Dogdom. (And, yes thank you very much, unlike my bikini model fantasy, I actually did jump around with pompoms back in the day.) Today, I can say I’ve practiced Flow, Hot, Core, Vinyasa and a few other yoga styles that I cannot even begin to pronounce. Yoga is astounding and impossible; spiritual and silly (when one tumbles out of a pose); the epitome of yin and yang.
Tennis. I am not sure where I was in middle school when the rest of the kids were learning how to volley and serve, but my experience in this sport was pretty much nil, I mean “love”. With new court shoes and vintage racquet in hand I hit the court with BFF and teenage daughter in tow. We’ve come a long way…from chasing out-of-bounds balls to playing a solid game. Just might join a tennis league this year. I know I can score way beyond “love”.
Warrior. I have hurtled the great warrior wall, climbed cargo nets, crawled through muddy mayhem, and leapt above roasting flames to claim the famed and fuzzy St. Jude’s Warrior Dash Helmet, all for a great cause.
Yes, I am Woman, I am Warrior!
Photo caption: Me in the front row-left, along with my BFF in red & fellow Warrior friends.
SUP. That’s the lingo for Stand Up Paddle Boarding, in case you didn’t know. It’s all the rage and great for the core, they say. Not a bad way to work on the abs whilst also enjoying the sunshine and water. This venture is next on the list and will be shared with my beautiful girls, in one of my favorite places in the world. This summer, we’ll SUP along beautiful Lake Trasimeno, tucked among the “Tuscan Sun” hills of Italy.
So, getting back to Michelle Obama’s arms. A wee bit more weight on the rack and a few more of those blasted push-ups ought to get me closer to the “Michellesque” triceps. Think, I’ll try to achieve that cut look without going under the knife. It’ll be a lot more fun…along with whatever else lands on the “Well Mama Bucket List.” The quest continues.
Namaste’, Ciao and Goodbye.
Liz Hirst is a mom of two and crazy about my not so mini dachshund. My faith is strong, my extended family large-that’s what fills my life with joy. I love putting pen to paper, sinking my soul and soles into salt and sand, chillin’ to most music genres and traveling to places I’ve been or never seen before. My career is built upon the power of words, as a TV journalist, politco press secretary and today as SVP of Communications for the nonprofit Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Love this post! Thank you also for doing a Warrior Dash for St. Jude!!
Yvonne Crum says
Love this blog.. it’s so great to see the many different ways “loving on me” takes.. each of the 4 have been different interesting and so insightful. Thanks Katrina for this series…