Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom and Uncomfortable Transparency

Yesterday I went to Tuesday spin class.  It's always a great class, taught by one of the most wonderful women God could have ever placed in my life.  Just like every other class, yesterday was a great ride.  I can tell my anaerobic base is growing back to its Insanity levels, and I love it.  I live for that amazing feeling.

But this post isn't about how awesome Tammy's classes are.  This is about the post-spin conversation that almost always occurs.  There's usually a few of us who hang around after class who have become pretty good friends, and sometimes our chats after class go on for 30 minutes to an hour.  I love this time of community.  Our conversation about a lot of random things eventually turned to body image and our own observations from the gym.  Something that was said has been in my head since yesterday morning and I feel it needs to be shared.

As women in today's society, no matter what, we are 99.9% likely to, at some point or another, be unhappy with one or more parts of our bodies.  But if we are truly making an effort to take care ourselves and we're healthy, truly, what does it matter if we don't all have fitness-model bodies?

As Tammy pointed out from observations we have all made, and I agree, I do not want to be in my 50s, 60s, and further, still killing myself in the gym.  Now, don't confuse my words.  I do still want to be taking care of myself in the gym, teaching, training, motivating others.  But I don't want to be killing myself.  I just want to be happy, loving life!  Don't you?

It's a much finer line than you think.  And I know it well from experience.

It is true that I have never had a "real" weight problem.  However, I know what it feels like to look in the mirror every single day and hate what you see.  I know what it is like to to strive for eating one meal a day and to hate yourself if you have more than that.  I know the pain of comparison.  Everyone looks at a picture of you and comments on how great it is, yet all you can see is imperfection.

And here's a huge thing I have learned recently - I GET the control-freak aspect of it now!  Back in my days of extremely restrictive eating, and weighing myself a thousand times a day, I never understood why people with eating disorders usually said they had issues with control.  I practiced my awful eating (or lack thereof) behaviors because "I didn't want to be fat."  Now that I have NO control of pretty much anything in my day-to-day life, I get it.  When our "big transition" of becoming an unexpected family of four happened, suddenly I was back to obsessively counting my calories, down to the 10 calories of soy creamer that I put in my tea at night.

And that's when it hit me - everything in my life feels out of control, so I'm trying to control even the smallest things!  And for what?  I would never want my children to do this.  I would never let them catch me looking at myself in the mirror, trying to analyze if my "tummy pooch" is getting bigger.  Is that really the most important thing in life?  When I'm in my 50s, 60s, and beyond, will it matter if I had 6-pack abs in my 20s and 30s?  Will my kids look back and think, 'jeez, if only mom had been thinner'?

The answer to all of those, of course, is a resounding NO, NO, and NO.

I'm sharing all of this because that simple statement - I do not want to be in my 50s, 60s, and further, still killing myself in the gym - has been in my head since yesterday morning, and I find it kind of liberating!  I am so hopeful that it could motivate another woman who struggles with body image issues.... and let me tell you, it doesn't matter if you're a size 2 or 22, your feelings about your own body are real and valid.  Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Especially with the holiday season almost being upon us, I would challenge you to just focus on loving yourself.  Give yourself a break.  Focus on the awesome things about yourself.  If you have a worry, ask yourself, 'will this matter in 20 years?'  If the answer is no, work on letting it go.  If you need help with this, please feel free to send me a message.  Let's build each other up this season!

Happy hump day!