Sunday, September 11, 2011

Go Figure..

Button up your overcoat,
When the wind is free,
Oh, take good care of yourself,
Eat an apple every day,
Get to bed by three,
 Oh, take good care of yourself,
 You belong to me!
 Be careful crossing streets, ooh-ooh,
Cut out sweets, ooh-ooh,
Lay off meat, ooh-ooh,
You'll get a pain and ruin your tum-tum!
 Wear your flannel underwear,
When you climb a tree,
 Oh, take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!

Okay, some of you may remember this song from your childhood. Most of you won't, just like most skating parents (particularly Skating Moms) don't remember to take care themselves.
 If you follow me on Twitter @PCFclub, you know I've been on Weight Watchers since April 8 of this year. Since then, I am proud to say I have lost 34 pounds. Did I gain it all at once? No. Did I realize what was happening to me? I'd like to say no, but I'd be lying.
So what happened?

While I wasn't looking, life happened. Work happened. Stress happened. Age happened. Too many excuses happened and 10 years happened, too. I can't blame skating; I blame myself. But this is a reminder to parents just starting out in this sport that it CAN happen to you.

It seems innocent enough. You go to the rink and  you bring lunch for your skater, or you bring something from home. You're sitting watching. Your skater takes a bite or two. Your grandmother's voice rings inside your head:

You innocently munch on what's left. You go to competition. It's expensive. You take a "To Go" box from dinner but there isn't any place to store it. Midnight snack. You let  your gym membership expire because you're too busy or it simply costs too much. You can't leave a session because you may miss a first completed Axel, loop, lutz or Salchow. You get a hot chocolate from the machine because it's cold in the rink, even if it's 80 degrees outside. You're bundled in warm clothes most of the time - sweaters, parkas; everything is loose-fitting. It is your security blanket; it is your cocoon. The problem is you don't emerge a butterfly; you emerge a butterball.

I can say this. I've been there. Next week, I celebrate my 63rd birthday. I'm old enough to know better. Unfortunately, I wasn't wise enough until recently.

For skating parents, particularly moms, weight gain is insidious. Sure, there are the moms who jog around the rink during practice while keeping a watchful eye on their prodigy. There are the moms who go to the gym with their skaters and act as coach and trainer rolled into one. There are the moms who run mile after mile every day in between sessions. Then there are the moms who fool themselves into thinking they are taking good care of their skater and their family while letting go of themselves. Yep, that was me. 

It wasn't until I ballooned up to a size 14 and started having health problems that I took a good look in the mirror and said, "Get a grip! Do something NOW or you're not going to be able to take care of anyone." Yes, my epiphany was that sudden. Yes, it was that serious. It was an awakening that was 10 years in the making. Now, I stand back and wonder why it happened in the first place and what took me so long to realize that  taking care of everyone else meant being "Self-less," not selfless. I lost myself. It's been 16 weeks to find me again. Not a long time on the calendar, but a lot lost along the way. At least it isn't gone for good.

For those of you reading this and saying, "I know better than that. My kid's an athlete. I know how to take care of myself," all I have to say is good luck with that. Some of you will succeed. Kudos to you. The reality is most of you won't. But from my side of the scale right now, I can tell you watch out.
While you're watching the health and welfare of your skater, watch what's happening to you. Be aware not only of eating disorders your kids may be faced with but the ones you are walking into yourself. It is a fine balance between what is healthy and what is obsessive. Keep yourself balanced so you can keep your skater balanced. Seek professional advice from a doctor for both of you. Don't let peer pressure affect your judgement. Don't let coach pressure affect your judgement. No one wins if you find your skater, or yourself, with eating disorders. No sport is worth a life. Truly. Not yours and certainly not your skater's.

So, what about now? I'm at the weight I was when we moved here for skating and I am proud of that. I walk 10,000 steps a day measured by my ever-present pedometer. I've spent a fortune in Sketcher Shape Ups and in clothes that actually now fit the "New" me. I've shed the parkas, big sweaters and scarves that hid my weight gains. Belts have become my new obsession. I feel better than I did at 50 and I'm enjoying every minute of it. My regret: There were no blogs 10 years ago to prepare me for the pitfalls. I hope there are a few of you out there listening and taking heed in this cautionary tale. Do as I say; don't do as I did. Do as I do now and you will be a LOT happier. I feel as if I lost 10 years of me along the way to where we are today. I can't get that back. I can only be happy I figured it out before it was too late.


  1. Congratulations!!! I am inspired by your example and thank you so much for your advice.

    Though an adult skater myself, we are just starting on this journey with my 8 year old daughter. The role of skating parent is completely new and unfamiliar, and I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate and value your insights on this blog.

    I've been working on weight loss these past few months as well, as a collorary to getting back into skating shape - 30 down and about 15 to go before I'll consider putting on a skating dress. :)

  2. Cogratulations! I admire all adult skaters. It is difficult to have that dedication; difficult, too, to be both a skater and a skating parent. Just remember to take care of yourself and let your skater enjoy the sport you obviously treasure! Thank you for following, too. It is a journey. Enjoy the ride. ~ Error with Blogger. This is Allison