The hubby and I have been having some really candid body image conversations lately. It’s a topic that’s important to me as a woman, as someone who struggled (and sometimes still does) with this a lot, and as a mother of a daughter. Obviously life with a baby means that my schedule has dramatically shifted since before Marlee’s arrival. And I’ll be honest, now that she’s here I don’t always make the healthiest food choices. It seems so much easier to opt for quick, easy-to-eat-with-one-hand, junk foods. So I’ve been doing my best to monitor my weight without being obsessive about it. In all truthfulness I haven’t been using the scale much, only sparingly but watching how my clothes are fitting me and how I feel.
I’ve committed myself to finishing the Beachbody Insanity program and I only have two days left with it so I’m super proud of that accomplishment. I’ve also been working to build up my strength and muscles. My arms are stronger and more toned than they’ve ever been. And I actually have a little bit of a booty going on haha. I’m taking my Plexus which has helped immensely with my energy, health, and weight maintenance. And on the whole I feel pretty pleased with where I’m at health-wise.
But I told Ryan it’s interesting because now that I’m slimmer, I notice the flaws more readily. I’m far from perfect and I’m truly not striving for a rock solid, perfect body. I have stretch marks that I could care less about – I see each one as an individual tribute to how far I’ve come – both in overcoming my obsession with being thin and eliminating the weight I packed on. And I have some serious loose skin… which only bothers me because it makes certain areas “hang” weird which is annoying.
But the thing I find goofy is that despite how far I’ve come, despite the fact that I’ve lost almost 80 pounds – that little pooch in front has started to be a thing that makes me self-conscious. Now look – yes there’s a pooch there and yes I could work harder at getting rid of it by eating better. But it’s a pooch… it’s not the big belly I used to have. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that little pooch. It’s annoying when I work out because with the loose skin – when I jump (Brace for TMI) if my pants aren’t tight enough around the waist you can hear my loose belly skin/pooch slap my body when I come back down. And it does make me evaluate how “tight” of a top to wear.
The other thing I notice is that I compare myself a lot more. For me with the negative body image issues I’ve had since my youth, once the scale starts moving it’s hard for me to not see it as a competition. A competition to reach the next goal, to keep moving forward. Yes – a competition with myself but also with others. Looking at other girls who have lost weight and feeling bad because they’ve lost more than me or they look better than me. No – I never see that I’ve come farther than someone else. My brain is very good at focusing on my shortcomings haha. And believe me – I know this is ridiculous… but it is my reality.
BUT I know how far I’ve come and I know that it’s not a competition and I know that these thoughts are irrational… so why am I so fixated on this?
I think that as we get smaller, as we approach “perfection” our “flaws” sometimes become increasingly more apparent to us. An extra five pounds are far more apparent on on a 120 lb body than they are on a 220 lb body. And five extra pounds is not a terrible thing. Our size isn’t really important. Our shape isn’t really important. It’s how we feel that matters. And yet – in spite of knowing this, in spite of how far I’ve come – I continue to have to remind myself of this truth.
So I share this with you today to remind you – you are perfect exactly as you are. Reaching a certain number on the scale or a set number of pounds lost or a size pant is not the thing that will bring you happiness. It certainly can make you feel better and it can make you feel proud. But it should not be the end all, be all of your joy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my daughter’s self-worth dependent on how much she weighs or what her dress size is. And her feelings about that start with me. How I see myself, how I choose to react, the way I talk about my body… that will shape how she sees and feels about her own. So my goal, as a mother of a beautiful little girl is to be the example. To show her to love her body. That girls can be strong and smart and brave and beautiful all at the same time. Because our true worth and beauty is more than a number.