I actually started thinking about this post one afternoon during my weekly walks. I was coming up on mile 4 and my hip was starting to ache a bit. That’s mainly due to the fact that I sit a lot during the week at work. I recently started back up walking at least 3-5 miles every Sunday (weather permitting). It’s a great path that has a lot of hills so not only am I physically getting a workout, as well as my joints getting their much needed flex, my heart and lungs are getting their much needed moving and grooving. All important since I’m getting older and want to do my part in working to stay relatively healthy. At the very least balance out my habits. I also included doing push ups every evening to help strengthen my upper body and core. That’s as crazy as I’m getting. I don’t have time to join a class or purchase another waste of time gym membership. That’s partly because I hate gyms. I think they’re all around disgusting, unclean, and not a great place to be if you have no clue how to use any machines. I’ve tried personal trainers before but 9/10 they’re condescending. If you’re lucky enough to find one that is personable and is willing to help you wherever you’re starting from, consider yourself lucky. In my experience, it’s very rare.
So, I’m walking, thinking (I get a lot of my ideas out in nature too), grooving, and start thinking about how our lives are flooded with images, suggestions, and obsession about fitness and perceived health. I’ve never been skinny. I don’t physically posses the bone structure to be thin, no matter how much I diet and exercise. My main goal is to lose some body weight and gain some muscle tone again. That’s it. I know I’ll never be thin enough to be able to walk into a doctor visit and them not suggest ways to diet or some other passive aggressive nonsense they have to click into their notes. I think about my perceptions and think of others that are struggling because they can’t lose weight no matter how much they diet, eat right, and exercise.
We know them. They try ever fad diet. Every fad drink, smoothie, potion, poison – anything to finally be thin. Thin enough to conquer the world or thin enough to meet someone. Hell, we are them! We’re that person crying our eyes out again over failure, heartbreak, eating something that we haven’t allowed ourselves to eat. Too many times have I worried and starved just to be something I’m not.
I’ve never been athletic. I played sports off and on and before I had my son would workout often to maintain my figure. After I had him, it’s been damn near impossible to workout enough to be what I once was. I had to accept that I’ll never be that woman again. My body changed as did my hormones which caused me to be heavier than I want to be at the age I am now. Nothing I’m doing is moving the scale any faster but at least it’s something. It’s why I champion for body positivity so hard for all of us. I think it’s important that we accept ourselves where we are in this very moment. Not a memory or fantasy we’re holding on to, or the old clothes we are hoping fit once again. We accept every line, wrinkle, dimple, roll, pudge, and chub.
Let me just say how much I hate the current diet culture. I can not stand any one that makes pages devoted to laxative supplements in lue of a healthy diet and exercise. I think it should be illegal to peddle that stuff online. I think it should be illegal to sell ads and target groups of people all in the vain of fitness. Believe me, if you’re into being athletic and fit, you know how to do that shit. Have you ever met those kinds of people that know how to actually use the gym equipment? They know what they’re doing and how to reshape their body how they see fit. I think if you are determined to get a 6 pack abs, I wish you the best of luck on your journey. For the rest of us? I think we need to start with what we see in the mirror and love that person first and foremost. Love yourself from head to toe. If you are struggling to love yourself, start with one thing a day or week. Start with one attribute you absolutely love about yourself. Do you always feel bold to tell the old lady to stop stealing the napkins at Taco Bell? Or maybe you prefer the fact that you actually hold the door for other people? Maybe you love your smile because you rarely feel like smiling lately but god damnit, when you do smile it lights up the whole universe!
I think we all need that shot of self confidence. I also think we should help each other in finding that beauty on a daily basis. Start this practice with your group of friends or local friendly strangers. You will be surprised at the outcome. When I’m on my walk I try and say a positive salutation with those that make eye contact. A simple Good morning! can really help shape someone else’s day.
Give yourself a positivity goal for the rest of the month. Make a list for yourself and find ways to achieve those goals. Once your list is finished? Start another one. Kindness is in short supply these days. Also, if you see me out on the trail of life, say hi. Let’s grab a drink.