human, being

Oh my aching body image
May 3, 2009, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Fitness | Tags: , , , , ,

Today as I did my hair and makeup at the gym, I watched a stunning blonde do the same about four feet away from me. This was a woman who knew she is beautiful, and not in a good way. She knew that I was watching her, that everyone is watching her. Her methodical hair brushing, the leaning forward so her naked, natural, heavy breasts could sway slightly with no hint of a droop, her taught six-pack under tanned skin–all of it was a show. I felt like I should slip a $10 in her towel.

She had a body she worked for. Her deltoids alone spoke to her dedication. I doubt she has ever comforted herself with food. She’s probably a vegetarian, or at least one of those no-preservatives/no-chemicals kind of girls. I guessed her age at about 32, just old enough to have true self confidence, not old enough for gravity to have any affect on her.

I rubbed my emu oil into the baby crows feet at the corner of my eyes. I perused my own skin, pink and splotchy after my workout and steam. I looked down at my belly–not flat, not toned, certainly not preservative/chemical free. I am 39, and I’ve put my body through hell. Childbirth, cancer, chronic illnesses, off-again on-again exercise, healthy and unhealthy eating, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, the fucking Mirena–all of it has taken its toll.Even 25 pounds lighter, I’d need a tummy tuck to have my belly lay flat without the stretched out skin.

My body is not even in her class. It belongs to the class of the 40+ women who have accepted that cellulite and belly rolls are a fact of life. These are the women who buy the Kimara body shaper to wear under their clothes. They also walk around the locker room naked, fully in acceptance of who they are … or faking it well. I don’t want to be part of their group. I want to be part of hers.

I both coveted her body and accepted the fact that I will never be willing to sacrifice to have a body even close to hers.

It seems that every year around this time, I start beating myself up. I start bemoaning my inability to wear my sexy red bikini, to fit into the shorts I wore two years ago, or two years before that. I start up with the spreadsheets, planning meals (6 meals a day!) down to macronutrients and workouts down to the rep. I psych myself up. I make bold (and public) declarations about my goals! And I stick to my new regimen for about 12 weeks. During those 12 weeks, I usually lose 2-3 pounds. I try to be patient, knowing that it might take my body five times as long as someone else to lose anything.

Last time I lost 20 pounds, during my divorce, I had great motivation to do so: I needed to look hot again! Still, it took me 8 months to go from 178 to 158. And I was too upset to eat for about 2 months out of those 8.

I feel myself getting on the I Will Lose 20 Lbs! bandwagon again. I would really, really like to be back in my size 10s instead of barely squeezing into my 12s. I would love to sit down and not have this roll of belly flab pooch uncomfortably over my pants. I would really love not to even consider buying one of those body-slimmers (as I did the other night. Those infomercials make it look amazing!). I would really like to stop thinking that an old 401k would make the perfect funding mechanism for a tummy tuck and lipo.

At the gym, I scrutinzed my reflection and wondered if I will ever accept myself as I am. I am a beautiful, sexy, curvy woman. 40 is just around the corner, and 50 is closer now than ever. I really, really don’t want to be having this same conversation with myself 10 years from now.


2 Comments so far
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randomly ran across your blog in a blogfeed. love your honest reflection and introspection. i am writing a book on how our every talk affects our ideas of health, body image, and self-acceptance. i would be interested in hearing more of your story. check out my book project embrace the moment! 🙂

Comment by abodyrevolution

Oh my goodness! I feel like I have just read a letter I could have written to myself. I am also 39 and teetering in exactly the same way. Thanks so much for your post. You have made me feel so much less alone. 😀 X

Comment by Squilla

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