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Does Your Weight/Age Define You?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I always thought when I lost all my weight somehow my life would be perfect. I would finally be able to accept myself for who I was. I would no longer find fault with myself. I would be able to go into any store and buy anything I wanted right off the rack and my life would be just dandy. But for some reason that hasn’t been the case. However, I am slowly beginning to accept where I am and no longer will I allow my weight or age to define who I AM TODAY!

I don’t know if this has to do with just me or just being a woman. A few weeks ago I overheard a conversation between four women in the locker room--here were four women 15-20 years younger than I am and all they did for 45 minutes was complain about their weight, the size of their thighs, the roundness of their bellies, etc, etc. I must say I was becoming a tad paranoid thinking, “Gee I wonder what they are thinking about me, if that is what they are thinking about themselves?”

The older I get, the less I care about what others think, but it did make me feel like I should not have been so satisfied having just completed an hour run on the treadmill followed by a good 30 minutes of strength training. I felt like I should try to find something wrong with myself just to fit in. I didn’t, but t it did sadden me that these women had nothing more positive to say about themselves. The negativity just kept going on and on.

I am not saying I don’t care what I look like. In fact, I do. Having just celebrated my 47th birthday a few months ago, if finally struck me that I am closer to the big 5-0 than I am to 40! Looking back at photos of when my Grandmothers were 50, well to me THEY were OLD and they LOOKED OLD, too. But I don’t feel old, in fact I feel younger today than I did 5 years ago.

Yes, I still color my hair (I am not ready to go grey just yet), and I have invested in some really good anti-aging serums, but now when I look into the mirror I see so much more than my physical being--I see the person who has gained wisdom and insight over the years. And the older I get the more confident I become in my own skin. While being young and carefree was fun 25 years ago, I am really beginning to embrace where I am right now in my life. This didn’t happen overnight, but over a period of many months and years and it continues to evolve over time.

That being said, I am more thrilled at beating a PR in a race than I am about buying a new outfit or trinket. I find it more fulfilling when I can run faster then a man half my age then having the nicest car in the lot. I am beginning to appreciate friends who I haven’t seen in years over being able to show off my new things.

So tell me, is this something we have created within ourselves or does the media play some role in shaping our views on how we perceive ourselves? Just pick up any women’s magazine these days and all across the covers scream, “Twenty Days to a Sexier You” or “Lose Your Belly in 8 Days” or “Look 10 Years Younger without Surgery!” Even Oprah devoted her January issue of O Magazine to her struggle with her weight.

However, when I read her story, WOW, could I ever relate! She revealed her vulnerability to her readers. While she may be a very rich woman, money can’t buy health or even the perceived perfect weight. When she stated that she has spent a lifetime plagued by weight issues, I realized she and I had something in common and that was learning to accept ourselves right now--that health is not a number on the scale or the size on a tag—it is about being to embrace an active lifestyle and finally saying I AM FINE RIGHT WHERE I AM.

With the New Year just behind us, how many of you are willing to take a pledge to embrace who you are today and who you will be in the weeks, months, and years ahead, no matter what the scale reads or what size you wear? Will you accept yourself today and embrace tomorrow?

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Well I'm now 58, no grey hair (and no colouring used), still enjoying a happy relationship with a man 18 years younger than me, and with a slimmer and lighter body than I had when I was 25 (thanks not least to SparkPeople). After 50+ years of hating myself and negative self-talk, it is absolutely wonderful just to be happy with my body and myself. Sorry if that sounds smug: it's not meant to, but just to encourage everybody to think that you too can actually get there... Report
Ditto your article. Well said. 45 and happy here. Report
Great article. I also feel so much younger now that I have adopted a healthy lifestyle. I am 62 now but feel more like 45. I don't color my hair. My hair is more silver than gray but aside from that I started getting gray hairs at 20 and although I did try a temporary color product 2 or 3 times I decided that I did not want to become obsessed with coloring by hair for the next 60 years and worrying about my "roots" showing. I remember as a child seeing a few of my mother's friends with gray or silver hair and I used to think how beautiful it was and how young they liiked despite the color of my hair. That was before the media decided to make us all feel guilty about turning gray, so they could sell their products and magazines to us,but those memories keep me from buying into that . Who I am is not the color of my hair and if anyone has a problem with that, they own the problem not me!!! I feel the same way about make up. All those chemicals are doing so much damage to the skin and wind up making you look even older whithou it. While my skin is far from perfect, it looks a lot yournge than most of my friend. I think of makeup as a mask that hides who I truly am. what you see is what you get. If anyone can't see my inner beauty shining through, that is their problem. Report
Thanks Nancy. This is a great article about getting real about the consequences of our positive or negative self- talk and also an antidote to the unreal media hype bombarding us if we let it.
I appreciate your thoughts. Report
Love your story!!

47, huh? My triathlete husband died of a massive heart attack at 47. I was 42. I can't wait to get to 48! Just so I pass that age marker. Still here for our kids.

Be healthy, be happy and live your life. Stuff happens so don't waste your time worrying about that kind of issue. Live and be happy! Report
Words of wisdom that resonate with me. Thanks. Report
Awesome article. Yes, one must be accepting of oneself to truely enjoy our accomplishments and be able to reach our goals. Whether it is our weight, age, or other attributes - let's all be kind and accepting and open our hearts to allowing ourselves to fully enjoy life and meet our goals. Report
I find that I still define myself too much by my weight and age... but I'm working on it! Your article is certainly helpful in countering media pressure to be 20 years old and a size 4 all your life! Report
Great article :) At 26, 5'6 and 153 pounds I'm don't wear bikinis, but I do feel like an attractive woman. I still remember being 16, 5'5 and 110 pounds and feeling like I was the fattest thing on earth. I look in the mirror now and think "do these clothes flatter my body" not "does my body flatter these clothes". If the clothes don't make me look good they go away. My body is my body, I have learned to love it on most days, and forgive it on the bad days. Report
You are an excellent writer! I will become one soon myself..... Report
I'd like to know what your anti aging serums are. Report
I agree that I am not only me age or weight and that I am much more confident now than I was 15 years ago. I domore things "out of the box" and enjoy challenging myself, physically, mentally and emotionally now.I compete with myself rather than with others to feel fulfilled. Things do not last nor define who I am. Report
Many of your words mirror my own/ I think of MY grandmother at my age and the differences in our lives. Back then you were EXPECTED to grow up and leave childs play to the children. I have never been one to fit into the mold as othrs , but instead marching to the music only I hear. It matters not what otherss think of me, it matters only what I think of me. The last body issues had were dispelled with my first visit to a 'clothing optional' resort this summer. I love being the age I am (I will be 64 in another month) and wear every wrinkle as a battle scar. I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. Report
I am 60 and haven't lost weight but have lost inches. I know I'm not making great strides but I still like who I am and I expect to lose but just not as quickly as others. I will get there but I won't beat myself up over it. Report
I read your blog and many of the comments - wonderful. I turned 60 this year and had just lost my husband a few months prior. I guess those were two big turning points in my life. I did learn to accept myself. I may never be thin but I do eat healthy and workout regularly and I know who I am. Thank you for the great article. Report
Great article--thanks Report
Perfectly stated!!

I am going to be 64 my next birthday and share your feelings.....except, I had a 'very' young and inspirational g'mother who I lived with - also a mom that wouldn't let age stop her...(but she was heavy and I take after her - I like to eat) LOL. We learn so much on this road, and you said it so perfectly well. Nice job. Report
I will be 60 in two weeks and I think I'm finally moving toward the point of feeling that health is more important than appearance. I will never look like one of those young cutie pies on television. I went back to school three years ago and finished my Master's degree -- keeping my mind sharp and my body healthy is paramount for me. Report
My entire life I have only looked at my flaws. I even have a notebook with everything wrote down. I hate every single part of my body. From the shape of my toenail to the thinkness of my hair. I believe something is wrong with every single aspect of my body.

Reading this article, losing some weight, even my great support on SP - none of this will overcome the 21 years I've continually been told what my flaws are by others and myself.

I do not accept myself today: weight nor age. Report
I am going through a hard time with my body image. I have wrote a blog about it. I would
love other womens opinions!!
I cross my 32, some time i use to think and tell my friends about my weight.This blog is awesome,i always looked forward with Sp and its greatest articles.keep it
up. Aljabri1 Report
Hi shanshe, I'm katie, susie's daughter!!!! She is sick today so I posted her bolg and left you this comment for her!!!
She is doing alright now, but she is still sick. Anyways see ya latter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Report
Nancy - this really hit home for me. I went back to school and no one is close to my age. I'm graduating with my bachelor's degree at 43. I found that their focus or pre-occupation with how they look has affected me a lot. I have become more critical of myself, etc. I resolved to change this Jan 5th and then a week later I found sparkpeople. Its helped me re-focus on whats important. Health, family, etc. Once again Thank you! Report
slowly happening Report
I will celebrate my 50th birthday on August this year 2009... and I am so excited with the great changes I see in myself. Not only on the physical aspect that I have already achieved through Spark... but the inner beauty within that I so earnestly desire that is budding... with God's grace. Report
You are right in what you had shared in this blog. As for me, even before I joined SparkPeople... I never complained about myself. And about my physical well being... I know right from the start that I am where I am right NOW because of what I did in the PAST. It is just the end result...

I thank God for everything that He has allowed me and is allowing me to experience. To be contented in whatever situation where I am in... and enjoy life to its fullest. Worrying will never add a single inch to my life, and I only have to ask God's wisdom in everything that I do... and behold... everything just fall into it's proper place.

Putting faith in the God who authored the universe... things seen and unseen... I think it's the marvelous things I will ever do the rest of my life. He is the One who is giving me the will and the discipline to accomplish everything in my life.

So I give Him the glory and honor that He alone deserves! Report
What an awesome article! I haven't ever been overweight (except after babies!) but oh how I struggled in my mind. The person I saw in the mirror was way bigger than I actually was. This past year, I turned the big 5-0, lost my job, lost family and it was just a bad for a while. Then I woke up with the help of God, lost 15 nagging pounds, got back to the gym, started running and walk everyday no matter what! (Walking/running in the rain is so wonderful!!!!) My whole attitude changed and I reconnected with old friends and got my priorities in order. WOW what a difference. I love who I am, being with my family and friends and thank God for his Mercy and Grace and helping me finally accept me for who and what I am. It is going to be the BEST year ever. Report
Too many allow the Media to influence the way they look and feel about themselves. The Media has bombarded us since birth into thinking we must be thin, we must be beautiful, we must be and look sexy. Because of this mentality, billions aren't happy with their looks or bodies and end up doing things to their bodies to try and live up to other peoples expectations.
Too much time and money is spent trying to change their bodies. This mentality is criminal in that it has killed untold numbers of people in the process.
I may be overweight and not look pretty but you know, I don't care. I will do the best I can to get of the excess weight and get healthier in the process. My thought has always been, if you don't like my looks, don't look. I am much more than looks. Report
Nancy- This is a great blog. It is all so true. We are the same age and even though I have a long way to go on my weight journey, I am comfortable with who I am. I don't worry anymore if I look too fat, to inhibit me from participating in everything life has to offer. I lived my 30's with that bad self image attitude, and it's a blessing to be over that. I still want to loose the weight, but the number one reason now is for my health and to stay healthy. I was one of those 20's girls who used to complain I was too fat, and picked apart every little thing I didn't like about myself, when I was actually slim and in shape. Some things never change......
Thanks, Heidi
Good Article. I like the feel.
Thank you for the great words of wisdom. It hit a note with me!! Report
God, how true! About 10 years ago I lost 60 lbs (yes, I gained it all back. sigh...) and I thought everything would be good in my life. It turned out that when I turned males' heads I got angry at them, angry that they should pay attention now but not when I was heavier yet still the same person. Hmmm... Doesn't make much sense. I had to learn to like myself, that was the answer. Report
This post couldn't have come at a better time for me. Thank you. It's true - I'm fine where I am right now - I don't need to go back on being an unhappy size 4 (where I deprived myself of beer, sweets and worked out obsessively). But now at a size 6, I'm happy and still healthy - and balance the beer, sweets and exercise. It's good to be in a place where one is comfortable in his/her own skin. Report
most of what your body needs is all natural you can turn back the years and the weight Report
Thanks for those words,they have inspired me to take another look at myself,maybe there is something I might like about ME. Thanks so much Report
I have always been a "heavy" person. I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I want to lose about 90 pounds, but I am learning to love who I am at whatever size and weight I am. Report
I think it is very important to embrace who you are, and I think everyone should learn to appreciate the body we have. I don't think I am my body anymore than I am my job, etc. Accepting who we are is crucial,but at the same time growing and changing is what life is all about, striving to be our best selves. Report
I love this blog. I have gained some weight back in the last 3 months, and have found this is OK. I like me so much more today than I did a year ago. I will take the weight back off, but I haven't been beating myself up. It is a huge change for me! Wisdom is a wonderful thing and I have learned so much in the last year, this journey is priceless!
Ginger Report
Luckily, when I was about to turn the big 3-0 I met my now husband who truly loves me for who I am, so, so can I! I want to be healthier. I want to weigh less, but I want to take off the weight slowly so that it will stay off! I love to look at myself and see a wonderful person who is slowly making her way into smaller sized jeans!

Jenny* Report
Nancy, I'm old enough to have been your babysitter when you were growing up. Let me tell you something. The "Big 5-0" is no bigger than "40" or "10". My mother once told me that there are only two birthdays that are important to a woman - 21 and 65. I'm not so sure about that, but the decade birthdays are really hyped over the top.
You're as old or as young as you want to be. Sometimes I'm more carefree now that I was at 25.
I don't dye my hair (tried it once and didn't like it), I don't use anti-aging creams (just some moisturizing lotion after my shower). I'm proud of who I am (even though I'm obese) because I don't buy into all the hype and advertising that Madison Ave. wants me to believe. I am successful, I am happy, I am positive.
This is SO true and so real. Ladies (and guys), the best thing we can do for ourselves is to let go of the negativity. I'm working on it (easier said than done!), but I definitely find that as I'm getting older I'm caring less about what others think and more about what's important to me. I don't want to be obese, but I don't care about "having a sexy bikini body by summer!" as the magazines encourage. I want to FEEL good, and the side benefit to that will be that I will look better, too. We all need to spend more time looking inwards at what is truly important to US, not to a faceless mass of strangers (whether they be in the media, on the beach, or in our places of work or neighborhoods). Report
Wow! Thanks for your blog it really does hit the right note. Report
Thank you, Nancy! I am learning to accept myself where I am, too. I still have a little ways to my goal, but it's a realistic one I can achieve and not some crazy "out there" goal that dooms me for failure. I appreciate the honesty and openness. Thanks again! Report
Although the pressure on women in our culture is really a tragedy, men, too, can get pretty negative when it comes to body image. I do think that the media is a big part of the problem. I hate all those magazines near the grocery check out. They seem to focus on sex and weight.

The worst is when they are featuring dessert recipes and weight loss tips in the same issue - and those headlines are emblazoned over the top of some air-brushed heroin-chic supermodel. It's kind of like on TV when they have a McDonalds commercial followed by a 24 Hour Fitness commercial. It's crazy making. It's like telling your dog to sit up and roll over at the same time. Report
Thank you for this blog, it about near brought tears to my eyes. I have always suffered from really poor body image since my 20's. Never been perfect and have always felt horrible for not looking so.
I long for the day that I can truly be comfortable in my skin. Reading stories like yours are inspiring and encouraging to me that there is hope and that as I am on this journey to get healthy physically the mental image of myself will follow. Report
having just taken the eating personality profile and finding i'm an emotional eater - what you say resonates big time with me; i'm closing in on 49 and i still have "torpedo legs" stuck in my brain from years and years ago - so along with losing weigh i have a lot of positive talk to give myself. Thanks for all that each of you have added. Report
Very insightful blog! I want to be the healthiest I can be as well. I know that I am more comfortable in my skin at age 31 than I've ever been. When I look at photos of me when I was a teenager and I'm shocked that I was thin because I could swear I thought I was fat at that age and there wasn't much of me that I actually liked at that time either. As you age you should gain more understanding of yourself and you know yourself more which I think is one of the reasons you end up accepting yourself more. Self-worth is by far a hard challenge and it's not a physical challenge at that. When you are working out there are so many endorphins working that you feel good and if you feel good you're going to like yourself better. Overall everything should be in moderation. Here's to health and happiness and so what if you don't look like the magazine models in a can still swim and enjoy the kindness of the water. Report
your story is great and so true

I think we all Know people that have issues with there body than are quite small in size , and i have to say these people make me laugh, If only they realised what is making them the way there are is on the inside.

Myself I am very content with who i am on the inside and I know i am a great person, Report
I certainly do not feel or think I look my age. I truly embrace my age, because I've never felt older than I did at 19 due to life circumstances. My weight or age do not define me. Report
Hey Nancy...that was a great article..unfortunately I wish I could say that I am happy with my body..I am not...I do not know how to eat healthy the right way but I try to make the right choices....I to am 47 and have been big my whole life except whent I was a child, that was the only time I was small...I am hoping that one day I will be able to say that love my body and that I am eating the right foods and become healty. Your article has inspired me to work on the loving me for who I am.
Thank you,
sherrie Report
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