Let’s talk body image. Because, let’s face it, that’s a core reason and motivator for more than a few of us. How many times have you scrutinized your nearly or completely naked body in the mirror, pinching and pulling real or imagined flab? Turning from one side to the other, sucking in, letting it all hang out, sucking in again and standing taller? I feel pretty certain that I’m not the only one guilty of self-criticizing. I also feel fairly safe in my assumption that I’m not the only one who has walked away from this situation with less than fond feelings for my body. So, why do we do this to ourselves?
I don’t want to hear that society is to blame – though it is at least partly to fault. We’re all grown ups now, and somewhere along the road to adulthood, we’ve all picked up minds of our own. At least, most of us have. Now, it is our choice how we view ourselves and our decision what sort of bodies we will have. I’m not saying we can all decide to have Heidi Klum’s body (I bet she wants to keep it). What I am saying is that we can have sit-on-the-couch-and-scarf-Cool-Ranch-Doritos bodies or sweat-it-out-and-flex-those-muscles bodies. I’ve had both, and let me tell ya, I much prefer the latter.
I know that no matter how hard or how much I work out, I will never be a size 2. These hips were meant for birthing and they ain’t goin’ anywhere now that I’ve decided the birthing has stopped. What I do know is that I can strengthen my muscles and condition my lungs so I can run faster, jump higher, and lift heavier. I can make my heart pump more efficiently and keep myself around longer. I can enter half marathons, full marathons, and mud races as often as I please and finish them! Two years ago, I could not say that of this body, but oh, how the times have changed!
I was once a hard partyin’ kinda gal, chainsmoking and binge eating my way through life, and my body had no qualms about reminding me of its abuse. Stairs stole my breath and sometimes simply making it through a workday at a desk stole my energy. I used to watch my kids play outside while I stole a quick P-Funk. I ain’t gonna lie; I cringe when I think about OldMe. Just the smell of cigarettes makes me slightly nauseous now; I cannot begin to think what taking a puff would do. Ugh…moving on…
Fast forward to now…me, smokefree for over two years and living a Fit Life for over one. Stairs shmairs. I still have days when I’m weary, but I can generally attribute that to needing iron (anemia is often a source of fatigue for me, but that’s what leafy greens and steak are for). And I believe we discussed what I do when I think I may be too tired to finish a workout…
Also, I refuse to be depressed about my size or shape anymore. This body produced three amazing babies and this body allowed me to carry them in my arms and on my shoulders, bounce them on my knee, and push them on swings. This body takes me on meditative hours-long runs and sweats through exhilirating Beachbody classes. This body will be hauling me through a Spartan this summer and Tough Mudder the following summer. This body will allow me my first real run on the beach during family vacation and help me coach my daughter’s cheerleading squad in the fall. I have found that the harder I push myself, the better my body responds, rewarding me with increased energy, stronger muscle, and lasting endurance.
Plus – who do I want my daughter to grow into? An insecure yet thin girl counting calories, bypassing experiences and tastes for fear of bloating? Or a strong and fit champion counting victories and accomplishments, facing challenges head on? I don’t think I even need to share my answer.
Now, I could have opted to simply cut calories and be thin. After all, weight loss was my number one goal when I began this journey. But thin is no longer the reward. I want medals around my neck and quality moments in my life more than I want smaller clothing in my closet.
Of course, I enjoy the side effect of looking totally fabulous as a result of these newfound goals. But it’s the icing on the cake, and anyone who knows me knows that I couldn’t care less about the icing, but I’ll take a great big ol’ bite outta that cake.