One question I am asked to address all of the time is about body image and fitness. What do I do? How do I feel? What's my "thang"?
Hmmm. Let's start at the very beginning.
For some reason, I found myself obsessed with my body and weight at a very young age. I remember sitting in my third-grade classroom wearing some hideous polyester pants and looking down and thinking how fat my thighs were. Then, of course, there was the girl who decided calling me big butt Bertha would make HER feel better. 30 some years later…those words still ring true in my ears.
Therefore, I remember thinking and feeling from around 12 years old that I should be dieting and I should be exercising ALL the time. Reality? I was not overweight. Maybe I wasn't super skinny... But I was avidly involved in sports and already fairly tall.
If I felt that pressure 30 some years ago. What in the world kind of pressure are our sons and daughters feeling today? I wasn't even reading seventeen magazine yet. And goodness knows commercials were nothing like they are today. My heart breaks when I think of the pressure that our children are under. That WE are under.
Not having the benefit of YouTube fitness videos and/or Tony Horton, I just did what I thought would work. Eat less. Walk around my house on my butt…awkward. And do anything Jane Fonda recommended! I so desperately wanted my big butt to look good in parachute pants and guess jeans! I can actually remember praying that I would become anorexic. SICK!
I poured myself into volleyball then basketball then softball. Sports were my life and I loved every second of it. Besides I actually enjoy working out so running ladders was exciting! Don't be a hater.
College/post college. Throw in a tumultuous relationship. A difficult, competitive art program. Then a bad marriage which ended in a yucky divorce with an individual who put a lot of pressure on what I looked like and how I presented myself. Disaster. I became OBSESSED with how I looked. So I exercised and dieted and exercised and dieted. None of it made me feel better, or even look the way I felt like I was supposed to.
Fast forward. As of today, I am 44 and 6 months. That's a nice way of saying I'm almost FORTY FIVE. I can hardly believe it. But you know what. I'm loving my forties.
I think for the first time I really KNOW who I am. I am deeply in love with a man who loves me for me. We have four amazing (not perfect) kids. I love what I do.
However, I still struggle with body image. It's a million times better. But now I get to throw in the aging factor. Who knew how fun that would be? But I have matured. It's no longer about being "skinny". I have learned that beauty is so much more. It's about embracing what we have. Loving ourselves. Shining from the inside out. I know that's easy to "say". But it's so very true.
You are beautiful. You are.
For me truly embracing that means I feel good about my body. Feel. It's not about look. And I feel the best when I am exercising and being healthy. That's me. That's who I am.
I decided to get more serious about my fitness regimen. I do love working out. I hate the gym (there are people there!). So I purchased the Body Beast program from Beach Body. It was something different. Oh.my.word. Did that change things? Lifting weights every day. I have muscles. Real ones. That I can see!
Then came my "busy season" Christmas into Valentines Day. I slacked a bit.
Jump start. New program. Tony Hortons P90X3. Now I've done P90X before. And I adore Tony. But the workouts were 60-90 minutes. I don't have that kind of time. P90X3…30 minutes. I have 30 minutes! I have been doing them faithfully for several weeks and I FEEL so good! My son has been doing it longer…and he is so buff right now! Geesh. Where did all that cute little baby fat go? And his cute chubby thighs? I digress!
I also have significantly changed my diet. Ok, not changed. I've always been a healthy eater, and I have an amazing amount of self control. But I started counting calories. Not just counting, tracking. I was amazed at what I would "just eat". Now that I count. I don't do that. If I want chocolate or wine…I work it in my count for the day. So I never feel deprived. Just accountable.
Combine these things and I truly feel good about me. I feel better. I sleep better. I have more energy. I am happier.
Life is too short to worry about fitting into a magazine image that just doesn't exist. I love watching my girls embrace sports and fitness. I love seeing them confident and poised. They are beautiful…from the inside out. And it shows. Same with "buff boy".
Take care of the body God gave you. You only get one. Just little tweaks. Maybe 30 minutes of sweat a few times a week. Something to care for you. Because you ARE beautiful. You shine. And you should feel as amazing as you look!
I feel like I wasted so many years obsessing about something that was shallow and selfish. I have so much more to offer than that. As do you. When I see you…I notice your smile. I "hear" your spirit. I want to know what excites you. What you are passionate about. Not your jeans size.
It's time. Get your shine on. I am. Take that 45….50? I'm coming for you!
(I got my hairs did yesterday…didn't she do am AH-MAZ-ING job?)