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Some Body To Love

June 20, 2017

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In the world of online fitness inspiration, there are endless memes and quotes designed to light your fitness fire and encourage you to crush your goals.  Do a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll be flooded with images of fitness models and words of encouragement like, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”  (BULLSHIT. Cake pops do.)

I tend to find most of these forgettable or even downright offensive, but one does stand out to me: “It’s hard to feel bad about a body you’re taking care of.”  This, to me, is the message we should all hear when we find ourselves comparing our abs to the ones on magazine covers.  It’s the message we should be modeling for (not just saying to) our daughters.

If we are truly caring for our bodies, treating them in ways that they deserve to be treated, how can we possibly feel bad about them?  If we are loving them enough to be good to them, we should love them enough to appreciate them.

I intentionally remind myself of this every time I take my daughter to the swimming pool.  Sure, I could look around at some of the (seemingly) flawless moms with their flat stomachs and cellulite-free skin and want to hide under my towel.  I could compare my body to what it was before kids, before forty, before I’d really lived.  

Or I can consciously choose to feel good about the fact that I’m doing the best I can to keep my body strong and healthy.  I can think about how hard I work at the gym, how I fuel my body with healthy foods, how I try to get good sleep and plenty of fresh air, how I always wear sunscreen and seatbelts, and how I continue to move my body in new and different ways to see what it’s capable of.

I can recognize that while I may not be 100% happy with the way my body looks, I can still be comfortable in my own skin and know that I’m on the right track to being the best me I can be.  I can focus on what it can do, not just on how it fits into a swimsuit.  This body of mine has done some pretty amazing things in its time.  It has grown two healthy children, given birth without pain meds, climbed mountains, danced with wild abandon, jumped in ocean waves, trekked through forests, bounced back from injuries, provided comfort to grieving loved ones in its arms…this body is a badass.

I want my daughter to remember me playing in the pool with her, not hiding in a cover-up on a chair.  I want my son to see that women can be confident in themselves, that the human body is nothing to be ashamed of.  I want my husband to feel that I’m doing my part to make sure we get to live a long, healthy life together.  Hell, I want those moms at the pool with the flat tummies to look at me and feel even better about themselves.  And I want the teenage girls at the pool, the ones who may feel self conscious next to their friends, to see this mama splashing around in a bikini that shows all her flaws and think, “If she can do it, so can I.”

So yeah, I could look back at photos of myself in my twenties, I could compare myself to the other moms at the pool, I could believe my eyes when I see the airbrushed beauties on magazine covers.  But I’d rather celebrate WITH those other moms, be triumphant in our shared accomplishments.  Sure, I could squint really hard in the mirror and pretend my stomach is harder, my skin is smoother, my thighs are thinner.  But instead I think I’ll just smile and fist bump that reflection (not too hard, though, because OUCH).

See the thing is, that body in the mirror?  The one with wrinkles and dimples and gravity working against her?  It’s mine.  It’s the only one I get.

Hate on it?  Hell no, I’m gonna worship it.

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