I’ve been dieting/watching my weight/lifestyle changing/ since I was about 13. That’s 26 years of thinking about food, my waistline, feeling bad about eating, eating to feel better, using food to cope, using food as a reward…I think I’ve done it all. I’ve tried no carbs, low carbs, low fat, low calories…I’ve tried eating clean, paleo…I even throw in regular exercise now and then. And you know what? It. Is. Exhausting.
Most days I like what I look like. I don’t mind that my stomach isn’t taut – it’s carried four babies. I don’t mind that my arms and legs aren’t more toned or that my boobs are no longer where they started in life. Most days I’m pretty confident. However, occasionally, I’ll see something and it triggers the insecure 13 year old me – that I will never look like the girls on tv or in magazines. Yesterday I was watching a marathon of Salem on Netflix and there are some pretty racy scenes showing almost-nudity. The main character, Mary Sibley, a witch, is played by british actress Janet Montgomery. And she is beautiful. Bee-U-TEE-Full. Instead of just appreciating her beauty, I felt bad about myself. I felt bad that I didn’t take care of myself better, that I didn’t look like this woman, who is paid to look good. Who knows? If my job depended on keeping myself in tiptop shape, maybe I would work harder at it.
I’m at a point in my life – almost 40 – where I have gloriously let go of the idea of the perfect body. I am not even fooled by the “Strong is the New Skinny” mantra that companies like Beachbody put out – so that now women can feel bad that they aren’t ripped as well as thin. I eat better and exercise because it makes me feel better. I feel like crap when I eat crap. So I try not to eat crap. I don’t know if it is my age or my metabolism slowing down, but if I tried to eat an entire pepperoni pizza in one sitting, I would die. My body is just pickier than used to be. Thankfully.
I guess I am a work in progress- and will probably always be. And I will always be searching for that sweet spot between self-approval and self-improvement.
What about you? Do you like what you see in the mirror?