It’s no secret that women are hard on themselves. It’s becoming more and more prevalent daily with the ability young kids have to access information and see popular culture images.
But I’m not here to write a dissertation on body image issues. I’m just here to give my two cents.
I’ve had them. Everyone has them. There are still parts of my body I’d like to improve. But as I’ve grown through the years, I’ve had a significant perspective shift in how I view my body.
First of all… I work out. Often. I change it up. I push myself. Sometimes I’m running. Sometimes I’m lifting. Sometimes I’m hiking. Sometimes I’m swimming. Sometimes I’m just frolicking. Frolicking is my favorite.
But in working out my body regularly, I have naturally developed an understanding and appreciation for it. It’s responsive and healthy. And I’m grateful for that. By pushing myself a little bit every day, I’m slowly improving. I’m not going to have an amazing p-90x style change in a short period of time, but I am going to slowly but surely slim down and strengthen myself.
As I work out regularly, I want to give my body the things it likes. I don’t like eating bad foods mostly because it makes my body feel badly.
I don’t drink excessively because I don’t like how it makes my body feel. I do comedy. Of course I drink. Often. But very rarely is it excessive in any way.
I don’t eat tons of sugar because my body doesn’t respond well to it. I have a sweet tooth- that’s no secret. But I’m reasonable about and aware of my intake amount. Not because I’m a crazy health nut, but because I’m a reasonable healthy person who pays attention.
And instead of obsessing over the the things I don’t like, I recognize something that could use improvement and I work on it. For example, I’m not a huge fan of my stomach. I’ve talked about that before. It’s the most obvious place I gain and lose from. But instead of obsessing and trying to hide it, I’ve been trying to turn it into my strength. I do ab work every day. And I push myself a little farther every time. I engage my abs during every exercise. I am always aware of them. And you guess what? They’re improving. They’re not yet at Pink’s level but they’re a lot better than they were a year ago. And a year from now, they’re going to get even better.
I’m an athletic woman. I have bigger arms than your average petite lady. I will never have tiny arms. So what do I do? I work on them. I get them strong and cut. Why? Because they look awesome. I even got a compliment on them from a friend the other day! She asked me if I work out because my arms looks so strong! Can you believe it? It was so exciting!
There are times when I’m in better shape than others. But overall, I’ve found that simple exercise and body awareness have made me love it and stop obsessing over every little supposed “imperfection.”
There’s not a lot I can do to protect other young women from having body issues. I can’t hide images from the media. I can’t ask our culture to totally change our values overnight. All I can do is work on myself and my internal confidence and happiness with my healthy body. Then I can hope to make a small difference to my circle of friends, who can in turn make a difference to their circle of friends, who make a difference to their circle of friends, who can… you get where this is going.
As long as I’m always incrementally improving, that’s ok by me. Because if we’re not actively working on improving ourselves and learning from our past… we’re stuck. And who wants to live their life being stuck?
Except maybe a honey-obsessed person in a field of beehives. I bet they wouldn’t mind that. As long as there were no bees.
Alright. Be proactive about having positive thoughts and images about your body. That’s all. I’m done.