When I turned 29, I made a decision.
No more hating my body.
I had spent the past 21 years not loving my body. Yes, you did the math right. My first memories of wishing I was thinner are from when I was 8 years old. I really wanted a flat stomach and I have never had one. Well, never that I remember.
At 8 years old I had a little pooch under my belly button and at 8 years old I hated it.
I wanted to have the slim, straight figure of the girls in the Mattel commercials on TV and in the clothes and bathing suits in the Sunday circular ads.
At 8 years old I thought I’d be happier and better if I was thinner.
That is so sad.
I spent the next 21 years dieting on and off. Always worried about sucking my stomach in and not letting my thighs fully squish down when I was sitting next to someone else. Especially someone whose thighs were smaller than mine.
(Andy actually had thinner thighs than me in our senior year of high school. Mind you he was a wrestler who was always worried about making weight. And he was a buck forty five soaking wet. Not a good comparison, but it drove me crazy.)
I’d kill for my “senior year thighs”. They were awesome.
I decided when I turned 29 that enough was enough. I was done with self-loathing. I was done with obsessing about my weight. I refused to waste any more energy hating my body. No more diets to make me thinner so I would be happier, prettier, more successful…fill in the blank with any other crazy thing.
I wanted to get a handle on that nonsense before turning 30 and I did. I decided to eat better to be healthier, more energetic, and stronger. I decided to work out because I loved how it made me feel and how it boosted my mood.
Sure, I lost a few pounds as a by-product, but my motive was pure. I realized that being thinner would not make me better.
I realized that being thinner would not make me better.
I also realized that complaining about being overweight wouldn’t do anything to change it. So I might as well be happy with myself rather than complain without being willing to make a change.
I was not at my high school weight
or my wedding weight
I lived. I loved the body that I had because it was strong and healthy and beautiful. Not perfect.
Fast forward 2 years and I’ve definitely struggled. I’ve been pregnant, I’ve breastfed, I’ve stress eaten to medicate my working mom woes. I’ve quit the gym to save time and money.
I’m not where I want to be.
But, I’m not giving myself permission to go back to the hatred.
I want to be an example of beauty and confidence to my little Grace. I want her to know it’s important to be healthy and active, but that value and beauty are not determined by the number on the scale or the size on the tags.
I’m going to love these droopy boobs, thick thighs, and muffin top. I’m going to make decisions to eat healthy to show her how it’s done. I’m going to keep riding my bike and going for walks and doing workout DVDs with Andy because it’s good for me and I enjoy it.
I’m not going to fall back into the trap. She deserves better than that from me.
Heck, I deserve better than that from me.
Great post, Rebecca!!! Truly convicting with my own body-hating and an encouragement to exercise for the reason of feeling good, not necesarily looking perfect!
You knocked it outta the park!
And, I'm not even sleep talking this time. I loved the pics! Well written also!
I love this post too. I hate that you and I and so many others have dealt with this issue for so much of our lives though. What a waste of our emotions and brain power. I so much don't want to pass any of this image garbage on to Abbey either. Praying that you (and I) will be able to take all of our thoughts captive and remember that we were created in the image of God.
Mom K says
Girl you never cease to amaze me!!! You are so beautiful inside and out… You need to teach this to young and old girls all over the world, I feel this issue has impaired too many females!!! I know for me exercising should be taking walks and bike rides they are not only good for you but fun too… I also think simple and fun exercise is super for our minds!!! I absolutely adore you!!!!
You are awesome! :) I can totally relate! I probably self-loathed from the time I was about 8 until maybe 25, when I lost weight for my wedding and found yoga. I still fall into the trap sometimes, but I do my best not too.
I remember, in a post you wrote not long ago, you talked about your pregnancy weight and said something about “if I can even call it that anymore”. You can. I think it takes most women at least a year to fully lose the baby weight. That was my experience and a few of my friends anyway.
I also think you looked great in your vlog, but I understand what you mean about not feeling like it's where you want to be. In any case, I like your attitude! I think I learned my self-loathing from my mom in some respects and she from hers. I think it's great that you want to be a positive example for Grace!
You go girl! ;)
Awww I love this and I love you!!!! I think you're absolutely beautiful and I love that you're not “perfect” like girls on tv, but you're “perfect” as my friend!!! I think that's a great thing to teach Grace, break the self-loathing that is passed from girl to girl to girl (and guys too). You're are an awesome mom and that is the only thing that really matters!!!!
(And I still do the thigh thing. Did it yesterday. I thought I was the only one!)