Sunday, August 1, 2010

Body Image

I wish my excess weight bothered me more, because then I might be more motivated to take it off. Like most women, I go through phases where I feel horribly fat, and unhappy with all of my clothes, and I feel miserable about myself, but most days, I accept that I’m not as thin as I once was, and I’m completely fine with it. Other things are much more important to me than making time to exercise, and I can easily put off fitness for another day, or another year.

I keep hoping that one day it will be important to me to change my diet and increase my amount of exercise. I think everyone has a point where they decide to change, and their motivation becomes stronger than the status quo they have been living with.

I didn’t really have to work at weight loss after I had Ava. I went with the “nine months up, nine months down” philosophy, and when she was a year old I was pretty much back to my regular weight, without really trying or doing any additional exercise. William has been a different story. Maybe it’s because I was three years older when I had him, and my metabolism changed, but there are an extra thirty pounds on my frame that don’t belong and should come off, but my “doing nothing” philosophy isn’t having the same effect as it once did.

He is four years old now, and the baby fat excuse begins to wear thin. Some days I like that I’ve accepted my body, and the stretch marks are worth it in order to be a mom, and if society thinks I have to conform to a certain body image then I don’t have to buy into that lie, and so on and so forth. All of these things are true most of the time, but once in awhile I have that niggling guilt feeling that I should be working harder at this problem, and conquer my own body, and make my health and fitness a higher priority. Not necessarily for any societal reason or pressure, but simply to increase my chances to live longer and be healthier for the rest of my days.

I deeply admire anyone who has changed their diet and exercised regularly in order to lose weight. I know now that it’s very hard to resist the temptation to eat junk or to be lazy, and that kind of will power is worth admiring and respecting. I think the key is to be satisfied with yourself, whatever your body shape, because when people work hard to lose weight and get fit and still feel bad about themselves, that’s a real shame. I’m trying to find the sweet spot of recognizing my own limitations and enjoying life (in the form of a slice of pie or a chocolate bar), and upping my motivation to be healthier, and not necessarily thinner. I don’t want to work so hard on my exterior, only to find my interior in need of encouragement.

As women, we are all beautiful. If we don’t feel beautiful on the inside, we won’t project that confidence to the world, no matter if we look like Julia Roberts or her exact opposite. For now, I want to spend more time building up my own confidence in myself and make slow changes to the way I eat and exercise, doing what I can on a daily basis to improve my health. I want the inside to match the outside, so that I feel good regardless of how I look, and I want to genuinely learn to accept and love myself as I am, not as I wish to be.

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