Love the Skin You’re In

How do you arrive at what you believe is a good body image? What is a “good” body and likewise what isn’t? I would love to believe that body image is simply about health and feeling good about your body. Or maybe that is what it is supposed to be about, but the more I continue on with my journey I am beginning to believe that body image is a twisted up stereotype we have in our mind that we are trying to live up to.

When I weighed over 200 pounds the very thought of weighing around 140 was staggering to me. I could only imagine how awesome I would feel when I got there…I’d be skinny, I’d be happy, I’d be confident. And, I was those things. For awhile! Then something weird happened (still don’t know exactly what or why…I’m working on it though). All of a sudden I didn’t feel skinny or comfortable anymore. The place I’d desperately wanted to be suddenly wasn’t good enough. I gained a few pounds…7 to be exact…my jeans got a little tight, and suddenly I felt fat again. What???? All that hard work! All those pounds lost to feel that way again! To have felt like I conquered those body image demons only to have them back jawing at me in my head again. Again I say…what???

I’ve done some soul searching and I’ve learned enough through my process to health that what has happened over the last few months is largely my own doing and my own mindset. I take responsibility for that and I’m the one that has to work through it. On the flip side of that, I’m also kinda pissed off at our society and the fitness industry to some degree, too. It’s just seems it’s never enough to be just how you are. There are images all over the internet, magazines, youtube, etcetera, touting “do this and look like that.” And you know what?  Most of the “look like that” is all the same: long, tall, lean bodies that are perfectly proportioned with beautiful definition. If that is you, then wonderful–I don’t begrudge you that. You were lucky to have the genes as your base and kudos also for the hard work you put into maintaining your body.

However, by and large, most of us aren’t built that way. I’m in shape and I’m pretty darn strong, but my body will never in a million years look like the bodies seen in the media (and I’m not even referring to all the photo editing at this point).  No matter how much I work out and modify my nutrition I am not 5’8″ with small bones and perfect upper to lower body proportions.  I am average height, small busted, with big glute and quad muscles. (Wish they would have had speed skating where I grew up because I would have rocked that sport!!  ) At any rate, my body is what it is and it has been very difficult to learn to be okay with it. I’m still working at it, to be very honest.

Anyway, my point is this: your body image needs to develop from a place within yourself…not from trying to create a physical body that looks like the so-called definition of fitness. Body image needs to be about how you, and only you, view and feel about your body. As you work to get physically healthy, I would encourage you to put efforts into embracing your body type and moving past the idea that you should look or be a certain way. If YOU are healthy and happy with how your body looks that is what matters. If when you reach that point of feeling happy about and comfortable in your body, it should not matter to anyone else what size pants you wear, if you do or don’t have ab definition, what your BMI or body fat percentage is, or if you can do a pull-up or not.

I apologize I’m not eloquently getting to my point.  At any rate, here’s my big wrap up:  learn to love the skin you’re in and appreciate the HEALTH of your body and let go of the “supposed to’s.” “Supposed to’s” just leave you feeling crappy and after you have worked hard to regain health there is no reason you should be feeling crappy anymore!

So there! 😉

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