Body Image & Getting Older

Getting Older

 

This past Christmas Eve, I turned 35 and boy did I think, “Where did the time go?” When it comes to aging, I had an epiphany. It happened slowly, but here it is:

I’m not going to be the same size or shape as I was when I was 25

It’s crazy to set weight goals or size goals on how we looked 10 years ago. If you find yourself wanting to reach a goal weight that might not seem realistic anymore, I want you to try this: 

 

 

  1. Think of your goal weight now
  2. Think of the last time you were that weight
  3. Think of a time when you were at that weight and you were healthy. NOT undereating, or doing excessive cardio, or restricting certain food groups. 
  4. *Or acknowledge that the goal weight you have in mind is something you have never weighed before

 

Depending on your answer, you may need to change your goal. You might need to choose a number that is more reflective of your age and schedule. Or you could choose my favorite method and  just say “Screw the scale!” all together. 

At 24 I started working out excessively and began a restrictive diet in prep for my wedding. I was 133 lbs. The last time I weighed 133 lbs and was healthy, I’d say I was maybe 14 or 15 years old. After some time, I restarted my fitness journey at 28 I wanted to get back to 130 or 135lbs. That’s 13 years older than when I was healthily that weight. After my last stint, I knew this was not a feasible goal. But I wanted soooooo badly to be skinnier. And that’s where body image comes into play…

 

Body Image

 

Body image is something a lot of women struggle with. We are taught from a young age to nit pick the parts of us that aren’t perfect and strive for the most gorgeous chiseled abs. Growing up in this environment wears away our ability to practice self love and appreciate our bodies on even a very basic level.

Saying that you love your body regardless of size can be challenging. But it’s something we must come to terms with. For me, it looked like realizing that my 130 lb goal was unhealthy and something I should not work towards. Pushing and punishing my body into that extreme would be the opposite of self love. 

Coming to terms with that also means coming to terms with what my body will look like when I stop striving for that. That often means weight gain. In order to accept what is healthy, we have to learn to love what our bodies look like as they change. Maybe the weight on the scale goes up. Maybe I need to buy bigger pants. Maybe I enjoy eating for the first time. There will probably be tears, struggles, and negative thoughts, but coming to terms with what your body has to go through is important.

I began to love myself more when I stopped focusing on shrinking myself to the smallest I could be and instead focused on how strong I could be. And this is why I think weight training saved me. I had an earth shattering realization, “Woah holy smokes when you put that effort into lifting heavy, eating well, taking care of yourself, and resting, you feel better! It wasn’t because I was able to immediately love myself. Gaining physical strength is what helped me appreciate and love my body.

Maybe your journey to self love looks different. However you want to proceed, hate is not the answer. You cannot hate yourself into a beautiful body or feeling good. Because even if you reach your goal weight, “hate” is what got you there. You might think that once you reach your goal weight, all of your body image issues will be solved. I can tell you as someone who reached her goal weight, that’s not how this works. Because that goal weight is unsustainable and you’ll gain it all back. That’s why it is so important to practice self love and reevaluate your goals so they’re what’s right for you right now and adjust them accordingly. Let the number on the scale be higher. Odds are, it’s meant to be.

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