I love to rock the gym. But it’s been hard at times to feel good about my ever-changing Mom body.
My fitness journey started with the goal to lose extra baby weight. The gym and sports have always been a safe place for me to channel my aggressive and competitive mindset. But the more I get into health and fitness, the more I see potentially unhealthy habits and thinking: under-eating, over-exercising, obsession over perfection and the perfect body.
Rocking the gym can be a way for me to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength train, manage stress, and make gym friends. It can also lead to self-destructive behavior from obsessing over food, diet and body composition. Too many a times do I hear myself and gymmates talk negatively about our bodies. Wanting better health and generally being a beast in the gym is one thing. Fixating on harder abs, leaner hips, a cleaner diet is another kind of beast.
Body Image. My body image determines how I feel about my body at any given time. It can determine whether I go out with a friend, what I choose to wear to work, what I look in the mirror, what to have for dinner. My body image plays a integral part in my daily relationships and in my relationship with myself.
And it says a lot. By simply fixating on fixing myself on the outside, I am neglecting the person I am on the inside. In my obsessive pursuit for perfection, I am no longer a whole, living body, but a shell of a body sculpted by someone else’s ideals of beauty and strength. I’m left feeling just as uncomfortable in this body as I was when I was heavier. I had to abandon this idea that my life would be better if I obtained this perfect body. I needed to accept that the perfect body was the one I’m in.
Here’s the truth: my body rocks broad shoulders because I swim. Rocks wide hips because I’m Latina. Rocks a soft belly because I’m a Mama. My body rocks my loves. It rocks me.
If a bird has wings to fly, a fish gills to breathe, my body too serves a deeper purpose. I don’t owe anyone to be thin and pretty, blonde and tall. I don’t have to accept or embrace my body as if it were second best, is as good as it will get, not bad for my age. Pregnancy, childbirth, being a Mom, Wife, Sister and Friend are massively humbling experiences. I have people that consistently look to me for support, motivation and love because they appreciate me and see more ability in me than I see in myself sometimes. So I’m ok that I might never have a flat or smooth stomach ever again — no matter how hard I work out. I’d rather be real.
It’s easy sometimes to give in to critics, criticism, and generally let others think for me. The fear of failure and being less than sucks. But existing rather living life, making a difference in someone else’s life, being less than a bad-ass self sucks more. My body rocks when I chose to. And I owe it to rock me.
So, the next time I catch myself or friend ripping apart our bodies…remember, we are more than a size, weight, or shape. Self-confidence and worth is like a muscle, we have to strengthen it, flex it, and flaunt it too.
Broad shoulders and all.