I have a new goal to help overcome my significant body image issues: improved fitness and regular exercise.

I have started exercising regularly. On Sunday, I did 90 minutes on the trail. On Monday, I did some stretching because my foot hurt. Today, I did 30 minutes of aerobics, with a little step worked in.

My body issues are significant. I look around and all I see are fat people. I look at myself and I see how fat I am. I look at myself in a mirror naked and I try hard not to focus on my fat thighs, which is frankly easier when BFD is also reflected back. Ahem.

I am struggling to accept my body for what it is. I carefully examine pictures of myself with women I consider petite and compare my body to theirs — from that, I know I am not fat. In some cases, I am thinner than they are. I see my face in pictures and I think I look good, but I also think I looked better at 111, when the world thought I was sickly.

After three weeks of happy hours, chinese food, lunches out, desserts, brunch, and dinner at the club, my weight . . . maintained. I float from 112 to 117, with my preferred weight under 115. When I hit the top end of my range with bloating and multiple meals out, I immediately kick back into strict nutrition mode. I put on a sheath dress on Saturday to wear to a party and immediately changed because I looked so fat in it. I did not — it’s the same dress I wore on the first date with BFD when I was over 120, but I felt fat in it. I was not. It was fine. I also wore it when I was at 128 and looked great in it, but at 117, I felt fat. It’s all in my head and I know it.

Everyone thinks I am crazy. Even BFD, who pays close attention to how I eat — how much and what. Though he has his own body image issues, he loves my body and thinks it’s ridiculous that I deliberately lost weight after we started dating. Yet, he works out 5-6-7 days per week and frets over his weight and food . . .

I have decided to hasten my body acceptance by making fitness improvements . . . by focusing on improving how my body works rather than how it looks aesthetically. I miss being strong. I miss working out hard and challenging myself physically.

I used to love exercising, but I lost my passion for it when I broke my foot. Th two subsequent stress fractures in the same foot have been seriously limiting. My favorite exercising is walking on the trail near my house. It’s 4 miles, heavily treed, and well-populated. Sadly, walking just aggravates the injury.

I have a bike, for which I paid a lot of money, but I famously injured myself riding and now no one will allow me back on the road.

BFD has invited me to participate in a sport with him that will not aggravate my foot injury (about which he is not really aware), while allowing me to get real total body fitness — and cardio. It’s something I have wanted to try, but it’s expensive to join so I have not been able to do it on my own. I look forward to getting started with him, once he is feeling better.

In the meantime, I will keep working on what I can do without hurting myself too much. Even a little exercise makes a difference. Brain function improves with cardio. The more I exercise, the better I feel. Although it may be in my head, I think I can already see a little difference. My butt feels a little firmer already and I can feel a bit of muscle forming. It may just be that I am accepting how I look without thinking of myself as globular, but I feel better already.

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