Recently as I strolled through a popular part of town, I felt good about myself, specifically, about the way I looked. I work vigorously to be healthy, not only in exercise, but also in a well balanced diet. As I strolled along I appreciated myself for working hard.
….And then I saw hard.
Hard bodies. Hard here and hard there. Hard playing soccer in the grass. Hard floating on inner tubes in the river. Hard bodies running past me, hard bodies lying under the trees. Living here, in this recreational Mecca, there are hard bodies every where. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling so good about myself.
Whereas just moments before my hips felt firm, I was now noticing their little jiggle. I could have sworn that my waist was narrow at the beginning of my stroll, but now I couldn’t help but observe its gushiness. The time of self-appreciation sadly slipped away and self-consciousness took over. I realized, in that moment, that I didn’t look as good as I thought and that sucked, because it feels good to feel good about oneself.
“Maybe I should take up running…” My self dialog started. “There are so many people who run, it can’t be that hard.” Despising that idea, I moved onto the next. “Perhaps I should just eat less. Calories in, calories out, right?” Turning over ideas in my head, I continued in my quest to get from flabby to firm. “I wonder if my husband would rather me look like her…I wonder if my friends notice the cellulite on my thighs…It would sure be nice to wear a sundress like that and not have to worry about anything falling out of place.”
It was a sad experience, there in that stroll. I watched myself shift from gleaming to gloom-ing. I fell into the trap of “not-good-enough”. I hate that place; that “not-good-enough” place. I don’t want to live there but it seems like so often I end up there. So I made a purposeful decision to walk away from “not-good-enough”. And this is where this post comes from.
I strive for healthy. But I also strive for dessert. I aim for balance. But I also aim to be an amazing cook. I shoot for good-looking. But I also shoot for fun with family and friends around a table full of good food. I want both. I really do. And that is really difficult. It feels like I must choose between a hard body and ice cream. My apologies to the hard body person inside of myself, but I just won’t forgo the ice cream. Food is fun. Preparing an impressive meal is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. Impressive meals can be healthy, and most of mine are, but they can also be chicken and dumplings, and I’m sorry, but that is just going to have to be okay.
Furthermore, I have two young children who I want to demonstrate health to. I want them to see that I take good care of myself, I work out, I eat well, but I also eat what they eat. I don’t sit down to a green smoothie while they eat hamburgers. I want them to see that a healthy body and the regular consumption of real food can, and should, mix. I don’t want my daughter to think that her mommy’s appearance is more important than eating a family meal. Sure, I watch portion sizes and do some of the other frequently-professed weight maintenance suggestions, but in the end, I eat.
No, I don’t have a hard body. But I have a healthy one. It is a gift and I look after it as such. It has grown and birthed two children. It has carried me through a handful of countries and quite a few states. It sleeps at night, it wakes in the morning. It beats, it breathes, it sees and it hears. It sits and it stands and I love how much it laughs. And it eats.
It is just perfect for me.
So my question to you, as you consider what I’ve written here is… “Who wants to come over for Boston Cream Pie?!” (We can walk it off later.)