Hey there Fit Mommies! Let’s talk about body image shall we?
The topic of body image tends to make most of us squirm in our seats – as 99.9% of women have, or will face, body image challenges. And, it comes up in many ways throughout our lives. It’s a sad tale to note that this whole damned poor self-image crap begins in early youth. I can clearly recall my 8-year old self opening my grandmother’s pantry and grabbing the strawberry canister of Slim Fast.
It baffles me that I saw myself as anything less than perfect…but I did. I didn’t look like the girls at my school (I attended a predominately white school, so my school mates were mostly Caucasian). My legs were bigger, I started developing breasts in the second grade, and my butt jiggled. I thought I was overweight. No one sat down to explain genetics to me, and how body shapes and sizes varied from nationalities, lifestyles and even geographic locations.
The pink canister proclaimed it would make me lose weight, and I believed it.
That was the beginning of a life of comparing myself with every young girl I saw. It was always an immediate scan to see how I measured up. Everyone else was the standard of beauty for me. The awful thing about all of this, is how terrible I would feel after I determined that I was somehow less than, because my stomach wasn’t as flat.
I can be honest and tell you that I’m not 100% cured of this. I still compare myself to most of the women I come across. I have learned to embrace who I am – and at times, to even celebrate my unique self. And, still there’s this underlying current that pulls me into self-judgement.
I noticed this while lifting weights this week. There I was pumping my dumbbells for a set of dumbbell presses. I have been lifting for 3 weeks now, and I am beginning to see some changes in my body. I’m feeling pumped and focused as I stare at my bulging muscles in the mirror. And, then it hits me….”Oh no, I better stop. I don’t want to be BUFF!!!!”
In a moments time I went from complete focus to panic that I was ruining my body shape by adding muscle and definition. The images of female bodybuilders (the ones who LOOK like men with semi-girly faces attached to their bodies) flashed through my mind. I don’t want to have veins sticking out of my neck! I pull my trainer over to the side and explain to him that we will need to re-evaluate my routine, because I’m opting out of looking like a dude. My trainer can see that I’ve worked myself up in frenzy and gently brought me back to reality. The women who have the extra-large muscular physiques have probably taken supplements to assist in the above normal growth.
Simple lifting will not produce mass sized muscles on my frame.
I breathed a slight sigh of relief and continued my reps.
But, then I challenged myself. Why would I be so afraid to allow my body the beauty of transformation? Why would I back down from pushing forward, for fear of how other’s viewed my shape? Am I that vain to forfeit what feels GOOD to me, because I didn’t want to look a certain way?
Since I’ve been lifting:
- I feel stronger.
- I have more energy.
- I enjoy my muscle development.
- I feel healthier and more balanced.
Believe me, the pros outweigh the cons.
And, to think that I thought – if only for a few moments to stop or scale back, allows me to see some areas within me that still require personal development, growth and maturity. I still have a ways to go as far as truly accepting myself…as is.
Since this realization, I have decided to continue with my training. I am learning how to focus on how I feel and how my body responds to certain types of exercises. After all, it’s never about how we look. It’s really about how we feel in our own skin. And, sometimes that can be a lot harder to achieve than bench pressing 100 pounds!
The Fit Mommy Movement is a sharing community. We are here to support and uplift everyone here. If inspired, please share your thoughts and experiences regarding body image.
I’d love to hear from you!