Beth Meadows

Lift this weight

"dating", "love", "men", "single lady", "women"BComment
I was with my family last weekend at my grandfather's lakehouse in Alabama. I've been going there my whole life, and it's where I learned to eat well and ski.

My goal for the past few years is to be able to get up on one ski on the first shot of the summer. I'm usually unable to do it, but this year it happened effortlessly.

BETH MEADOWS Gluttony's Humble Get-Together acrylic on canvas 2011

I know, however, that it wasn't effortless. I've been in preparation for this season over the past few months- seven months to be exact. I've lost almost 25 pounds in that amount of time, and I've been taking care of some aches and pains, in my back, shoulders, and legs, that I've had trouble with over the past few years.

While there seems to be evidence of my hard work physically, there is still more work to be done in the way of self-discipline as I, sometimes agonizingly, count calories, stretch, swim, hike, jog, and bike. I wouldn't say I always do it cheerfully.

***

I'm not sure exactly what brought on the motivation to alter my life last November. I remember being fed up with my shoulder and neck hurting, so I joined the YWCA so that I could swim, to see if it would relieve the pain.

Then I started doing yoga, and after a month or two, I had accidentally lost five or so pounds. After that, losing weight became contagious. I wanted to walk into a room confidently.

***

After graduating from college five years ago, I sort of let myself go, as they say. Mentally, I was a wreck, but I was also on the mend. I knew I had a lot of healing to do, so I decided the remedy was to live my life "organically", to go with the flow, to do what I wanted, in big and small ways. For me, there was freedom in finally listening to myself, but it was also horribly confusing, not only to myself but to those around me. The problem was I wasn't quite sure what I wanted yet, especially on things that really mattered, when other people were involved.

At the same time, I was relishing in life, going out, eating and drinking with little to no limit. I have no idea how I made it work financially, but somehow I was able to keep paying my rent. I was fatter and happier than ever.

***

I was in a not great relationship at the beginning of this year. It's not that we didn't enjoy each other, we really did, but we weren't on the same page about a lot of things, and you know how that ends up.

It was hard to let go of him, but at the same time, I, rather sadly, realized how much I loved him, more than anyone I've been with in a long time, while also realizing how little he wanted to understand me or listen to what I thought. I was falling for someone who wasn't being the man I needed him to be.

I'm still not quite sure what he wanted with me, someone who thinks about every detail of everything, when he didn't want to think about much at all, but I've always tended to be a magnet to men like him.

I walked away from that disaster, and at the same time, felt like I was walking away from every other relationship I've had over the past ten years. I've liked every person I've ever dated for different reasons- how much they made me laugh, how smart they were, how dorky they were about their interests. My affections can run so strong for only an aspect of a man, so much so that I tend to overlook the qualities I could never live with.

***

It's odd to realize you've never fully loved someone, but I guess it's for the best.

***

I hate it when single girls in their twenties say that they'll probably never get married. (I've said it before, so I can say just how much I hate it.) I won't say it again, but I do know I'm in transition- a stripping away of the foolish girl I've been in the past. I've had to tear my heart out for so many men, to help myself let go of them. Sometimes I wonder how I still have hope, but I do. I don't think a heart can lose it's ability to love.

I'm trying to will myself to turn away from my natural inclinations and look toward something... brighter.

***

It is my desire to be more sensible these days; I have to be able to counter my heart that is always so full. I'm working on self-control, because, quite frankly, living organically has turned out to be a bunch of crap. It left me wreckless, fat, and poor.

Strong relationships, friendships, and bodies don't happen naturally. All of life goes against it. The more adamant I am about eating right, the more friends and co-workers give me free drinks and food. It's a proven fact!

I have to run and I have to eat less than what I used to if I want pounds to shed. While I often (stupidly) daydream of wearing smaller clothes that fall better on a less rotund body and to have men fall for me left and right as a result, I'd like to hope my motivations run deeper.

Though I run the risk of being self-absorbed in my fitness endeavors, I hope that at some point it will mean thinking about myself less.

It's worth a shot.