I want to talk about something that makes a few people uncomfortable. And I don’t care that it’s been said before, because it’s a great message that deserves to be said over and over until it’s the new social norm. We live in a country (At least, I think this is worse in America?) where women (and men) go to extreme lengths to “starve themselves into beauty”, and even worse than that, where they don’t and hate every inch of their “not perfectly thin” selves.
I’ve known people who hated how skinny they were, and how fat they were, how flat chested or potbellied or whatever flavor of self-hatred of the month it happened to be. I am first and foremost going to tell you, FUCK that. I firmly believe that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and levels of confidence. And I also firmly believe it is so much harder than it looks to practice what you preach.
I have battled my weight ever since I was 12 years old and stepped on a scale. I spent my high school years envying my thin, beautiful girlfriends and telling myself I was a plain, fat girl that no one cared about. Reality check: I was THIN. I look back at pictures from 10th grade and my jaw hits the floor. So why did I think I was so “fat”? Because that’s what teenagers (note I’m not naming a gender here) tell each other and tell themselves. Who tells them? Media? Parents? That’s not what I’m here to talk about, but I know that it’s a problem. And we carry these horrendous insecurities inside ourselves and then spend the rest of our lives trying to overcome them, or succumbing to them.
I am fighting tooth and nail to overcome.
And in that fight, I have experienced a wonderful truth that we need to teach our children as well as ourselves.
Don’t lose weight. Get strong.
I started going to the gym three months ago because I was on a mission to lose the baby weight. Here I am, now able to run faster than I ever have before, lift heavier weights than I ever have before. And the scale has hardly changed. I’ve lost a whopping 3 pounds in 3 months. But you know what? I’ve gone down 2 pant sizes, and friends and family are starting to notice.
“You’ve lost weight!” they say excitedly. And I correct them every time.
“No I haven’t, actually. I’ve gained muscle.”
And I am very pleased to say that I like this result much, much more. I have more energy, I’m keeping up with my toddler, I’m fitting in to all my pre-pregnancy clothes again. I’m so excited to keep it up. The increased energy alone is its own motivator to keep going.
There was a post floating around facebook the other day that said, “if you could go back in time 10 years what would you tell yourself in two words?” Well, how about three? “Join a sport!” “Don’t quit gym!” Okay, here’s two. “Keep exercising!” I think these sentiments are incredibly valuable to instill in the younger generation. So many people (adults included) are not moving enough, and there’s so much value that can be gained in keeping your body healthy. Don’t worry about getting thin. Don’t worry about what number is on the scale. Focus on becoming strong, at whatever size your body is happy being, and I think we all can find peace in that.
Thanks for reading.