Let’s talk about body image and balance…

Every morning I wake up at 6:00 to enjoy a quiet half hour before anyone else has to be awake. Just me and my coffee getting ready for the day. I check if I missed any texts while my phone was on ‘do not disturb’, then I check facebook, check my calendar and daily planner, check the weather, check my email, check insta…check check check… then once I finish checking everything, I check it all again. The highlight of this early morning routine is visiting my facebook memories. It’s like reading old entries in a journal. It is so bittersweet to see the pictures and videos of the kids when they were little. There are many moments I would have forgotten about had I not posted them.

Today I came across a post from 5 years ago that stopped me in my tracks. I was bathing suit shopping with my 5 year old daughter in tow and I must have been feeling rather confident that day because I tried on a suit I would never actually wear in public. I was just about to take it off and toss it in the “OH-hells-to-the-NO” pile when my little girl said “WOW! Mommy! You look beautiful! I LOVE that one!” I took a second look and tried so hard to see what she was seeing but all I could see were the stretch marks mapped out on my thighs and the blindingly pale “twin skin” covering my stomach. Didn’t she know my mom-bod was 15 pounds away from my unrealistic goal weight? What exactly was this child actually looking at?   

She was happy as could be to see me in that bathing suit. She couldn’t care less about any of my imperfections. In fact, I don’t think she even saw them. When she looked at me, she saw her mommy in a fun, colorful bathing suit ready to take her to the pool for summertime play dates with  friends and day trips to the beach. She saw family picnics and summer vacation. I was filled with so much love and appreciation because she thought I looked beautiful, so I bought that damn bathing suit and I swore to myself I was going to wear it…but of course I never did. I just never felt confident enough.

It’s an endless quest for balance over here.  On one hand, I work so hard to be healthy and strong, I really do. I’m more active now in my 40’s than I have ever been. I’m committed to my workouts.  I run 15-25 miles every week, and as long as I am blessed with the use of my legs, I will continue to do so because I love to run. I attend my barre classes every week because they make me feel strong and fit.  I try to drink half my body weight in ounces of water each day and I try to incorporate lots of green salads and lean proteins into my diet. But, on the other hand, I really love food and wine. ALL THE FOOD. ALL THE WINE.  I realize I’m not exactly on track to get that 6 pack by spending my evenings binging on cheese doodles and wine, but I really really love binging on cheese doodles and wine. *Sigh*. Life is hard.

It comes down to this: I either have to sacrifice things that I love, things that bring me joy, things I really don’t want to give up… or it’s time to learn to love myself as I am. This is not a proclamation of lazy intentions by any means and I’m not suggesting I should give up on my goals or just concede to always having a muffin top and never fitting into those skinny jeans I bought 3 years ago in hopes of rocking them one day.  I think we all NEED to have goals, something to push us forward. I’m just saying I need to stop comparing myself to everyone else. It’s time to stop shaming the woman in the mirror for not looking the same as she did 20 years ago and begin embracing the beauty and wisdom she carries with her now.

I’m not a 22 year old airbrushed supermodel on a 600 calorie a day diet with a personal assistant, trainer, life coach, live-in therapist, housekeeper and chef. I’m a wife to a great guy who tells me all the time how beautiful I am. I’m a mother to 4 girls who are always watching me and learning from me. AND, like most of you,  I am always busy AF, so you will have to excuse the workout clothes and baseball cap I wore to tonight’s 4th grade band concert. Don’t think I didn’t see you sizing me up, Becky. You  in your new “4th grade band mom” outfit and 5” stilettos you just bought at TJMaxx this afternoon. I have been on the go since 6am and a shower just didn’t fit into my day today. But, I was there. I showed up. Even on my worst days, I always show up.

I want to find the key to unlock my own self confidence, because honestly, I would rather wear confidence than those skinny jeans or that bathing suit. Nothing is more beautiful than confidence. I’m going to start small though because it’s unlikely I’ll wake up tomorrow morning feeling confident and balanced just because I’m publishing a blog about wanting to. But, from now on when someone pays me a compliment I am going to simply say “thank you” instead of self consciously turning it into a joke.  I am also going to stop body shaming myself and focus more on how hard I work to keep my body healthy.

Hopefully, these practices will eventually build enough confidence to allow me to write a blog about how incredible it feels to be amazing and sexy and have your shit together, but in the meantime,  the best advice I have is “fake it til you make it” and keep showing up. We are all in this together. Let’s continue to build each other up because EVERYONE is fighting their own battle but no one should have to fight it alone.

-Dee

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