This blog is an accounting of my personal journey to find fitness. All the content on this blog should be read as a biographical piece of literature, not a medical resource. I am a physician, but I am in no way giving medical advice or establishing doctor patient relationships with my readers. I am simply keeping a diary. If you are starting a diet or exercise program or require medical evaluation or advice, please see your own family physician.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pain is a beautiful thing.

As I was laying in bed this morning, willing my body to move and trying to identify a part of my body that wasn't sore from the workout I was tortured with yesterday, I found myself wondering if thin and fit beautiful people experience the same pain from working out. I mean, is this a price I'm paying for being overweight and inactive all those years OR is this just the price you pay for fitness in general?   I was just wondering if at some point, when I am lean and fit and in shape AND frankly as lovely as any model, you know, so stunning that people are stopping you on the side walk just to gaze at your beauty (at least that's how I imagine it) will this pain stop?

I was lying in bed trying to lift my head off my pillow and finding it quite difficult when I had a sudden vision of Julia Roberts and wondered if she too were lying in her bed with aching muscles.  I felt a sudden camaraderie with her and all the beauties like me who work so hard to stay lovely.  I imagined Cameron Diaz groaning in pain as she rose from bed with sore triceps. And Angelina Jolie having to get up in the middle of the night to feed one of her various adopted children wincing in pain from the 1000 situps the day before, her abs contracting as she sat up. I thought to myself, "See self. THIS is the price of beauty." (I chuckled of course at the thought of these lovelies I envy in pain. I'm sick like that.)

That's right. The price of beauty is pain my friends. Anyone who has ever had a waxing will confirm that one for you no doubt. And plastic surgery is no picnic either. Not that I know from personal experience. But, I'll say that some of the most harrowing surgeries I witnessed in my medical training were boob jobs and eye lifts and face lifts and tummy tucks. The bruising and swelling and ickyness (is that a word?)..... well, anyone who has watched those make over shows knows. But, I don't think they ever show the whole picture, the weeks of pain and swelling afterward, do they?

And so in my little pity party this morning as I lay there with aching back, abs, biceps, triceps, hamstrings, calves.......well let's just make it simple. I identified a few parts of me that weren't in pain: eyebrows, pinky toes and lips.  As I laid there thinking and frankly feeling sorry for myself, I realized that even thin and beautiful people pay a price for their beauty.  They work out. They eat right. They drink lots of water. Most of them do have to WORK to stay looking like that.

This is a new revelation for me as I always thought that skinny and beautiful women were just born that way.  But now that I spend more time in the gym than I ever had before, I know that those hated "natural beauties" are often hanging out in the gym. And it's not just to wear those cute little yoga pants and matching brightly colored sports bras or the short shorts with cute phrases printed across their derriere while flirting with overly muscled and sweaty male specimens.  No my fellow fatties, it's because they HAVE to workout.  They have to run. They have to bike. They have to swim.  They have to pilates and zumba and pump iron and plank and sit ups and push ups and burpee and all the other crap I too loathe at times.  They must also work to stay in shape.

(Well.... shit.)

And so this realization cut my pity party short. I can no longer wallow in the idea that it was some cruel twist of fate that left me "chunky" or "big boned" or "a big girl".   Those lovely women I admire, while genetics likely play a role, are in shape because they......well......they WORK on staying in shape. Damn it. I can no longer curse my grandparents for defective genes. NOW I have to take responsibility for my SHAPE or LACK there of  as the case may be.

Finally I was able to inch my way from bed to bathroom this morning. I did so in pain, but with pride. And when I dressed this morning groaning as I tried in vain several times to secure my bra and finally after multiple attempts and much windedness (is THAT a word?) or as we call it in the medical field, dyspnea, I was victorious over the hated but necessary garment. I swelled with pride (and perhaps multiple sprains?) knowing that I am fighting the battle for beauty my friends and I am winning.

And as I stood there in Tae Kwon Do class sweating and tears of agony joy running down my face while we did our 100th kick combination today, I comforted myself with this: Somewhere there is a skinny woman who has been thin her whole life without effort. Who has always been able to maintain her weight without much exercise and eating whatever she'd like. Somewhere she is hitting that age. You know the one. She is entering the peri-menopause or the menopause and she is learning that sooner or later we all pay a price to be in shape. And since she's waited so long to learn this lesson, she will need a crash course in bloating and weight gain and calorie counting and exercise. And I will NOT teach her. No, she WILL feel my pain. (Smile)

I may never have the skinny waist of Cameron or the abs of steel of Angelina or the seemingly effortless natural and timeless beauty of Julia (those freaking bitches) BUT I WILL be as beautiful and healthy and in SHAPE as I can be. And for that I will suffer my friends. WE ALL will suffer. We will deprive ourselves and punish our bodies, but WE WILL win this war for beauty and health.

And we will love it.... pain and all.


  1. I remember reading once where Gwyneth Paltrow was asked why she was so lucky to be so thin. She said that she works out 90 minutes a day, 6 days a week and eats veggies, broiled fish, etc.

    You are a wise woman to realize that our choices determine our results, much more than our dna.

  2. Having just finished two rounds of Tabata sprints at the highest speed I've ever managed so far and being as close to puking as I can be and still be capable of typing? I hear ya.

    Now I'm going to go get in the shower and try not to drown.

  3. What an awesome post! You are so right - WE decide our fate - we take responsibility for our actions, and can look at the big picture. Sore from a workout? Oh Yes. Strength, Health and Beauty as the big picture? Then bring it on, sista!

  4. This post made me smile, big time! It would be so easy to see those skinny women as having it easy, but yeah, they work at it. I remember reading one time that Kathy Griffin (who has a killer body for a 50-year-old) said that she is hungry all the time. So apparently, they DO suffer. Yay? :)

  5. Just found you via Dr. Synonymous. I had a few chuckles reading this. No one has it easy, not even the skinny people.

    I like metabolic conditioning aka strength cardio aka lactic acid conditioning myself, but can't handle the workouts right now. They are supposed to be superior for insulin sensitivity and fat loss.

    You do a workout twice a week for about 20 minutes each session and you will feel like a superhero. (You also might think you're gonna die by work out, but it's worth it.)


  6. Thank you for posting this blog. It makes me want to work out more often and harder. :)

  7. LOVE IT!!! Pain is beautiful! You should be proud of your post-workout pain. I love feeling a little pain during and after a workout, and I look forward to pushing myself that hard for the rest of my life. What does that pain mean to you? Do you love it?

  8. Yup!! Being thin is PAINFUL, yo!!! But it's well worth a day or two of muscle-soreness. It's the emotional warfare that hurts the most, I think, not the physical. Heal fast so you can hit the gym again!

  9. So funny and so true! I love your slightly twisted, sick humor, great post.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Progress to TouchDown and GOALLLL!!