I’ll admit that I’ve always been somewhat critical of my body. The older I get, the more I try to embrace my flaws instead of always fighting them or being unhappy that I don’t look like a model on the cover of a magazine. I look different than I did in my 20’s, before having three kids, and before sleepless nights with newborns have left me looking more tired than anything else. As long as I’m healthy and fit, that’s what matters most. But I’m not going to lie and say I don’t have those days like anyone else where my imperfections start to bug me and I wish I could change things about my body.
After having a baby, I always go through a period of time where I don’t feel very comfortable in my own skin. I’m kind of in that phase now, with my body still changing a few months after giving birth. I’m anxious to get back to that pre-baby state, where my body isn’t perfect, but at least it’s familiar.
Growing up, my mom was always trying to lose weight through one diet program or another. I remember her weight being a source of frustration, because she’d see some success, only to “fall off the wagon” and gain the weight back again. That cycle continued through my childhood, and still continues today as I’ve become an adult. The funny thing about my mom is that she’s never really had issues with her self-esteem. No matter what her size, she’s a confident and happy person. Up to this point she hasn’t had any significant health problems as a result of the excess weight (which could be why she’s never felt compelled to lose it and keep it off).
I wondered why it’s hard for me to accept my body and my flaws, without a lot of excess weight to lose, while my mom is very accepting of her body, despite having a lot to lose in order to be considered healthy. Why are we so different, and why can’t I be more like her?
When I asked why she wants to lose weight (and if it’s okay to blog about it), she laughed and said she wants to be able to fit into a lot of the clothes in her closet that she hasn’t worn in a long time. She said that when she looks in the mirror, she doesn’t see herself as she really is. She joked that she has a distorted body image, but it’s the opposite problem most people have: she sees someone who is thinner (and about 30 years younger) than she actually is. She wants to lose the weight so that her actual self reflects what she sees in the mirror every day. She doesn’t dwell on how she looks. In fact, she’s able to look at the bigger picture of her life, seeing all of the things she has to be thankful for and all of the things that she does like about herself (physical or otherwise.)
This conversation with my mom made me realize that accepting your body isn’t about being a certain size or seeing a certain number on the scale. It’s about learning to be happy with who you are. Whether you have 20 or 200 pounds to lose, I’d bet there are things you could say you like about your body. Focusing on the good during your weight loss journey can make the experience much more positive and enjoyable. Just because you haven’t reached your goal weight, that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace things about who you are and what you look like.
What do you think? What is one thing you can say you love about your body?
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