Dressing room meltdowns. Ever had one?
A few months after having my second son, I vividly remember becoming completely unglued in the Old Navy dressing room. Tears. Expletives. Clothes being strewn about in pure “losing my sh@t” fashion. Nothing fit. Nothing felt good or comfortable. Nothing was flattering. Nothing was right. My body was betraying me. I carefully dissected each part, outraged at its appearance. I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. It affected my mood.. Negative self-talk. Poor confidence. Irritable. And wanting to “fix” it immediately, jumping on the all or nothing bandwagon of perfection.
This was a pattern of behavior that started as a young girl. Looking at my thighs, immediately recognizing they were much larger than the majority of girls my age and believing there must be something wrong with me. Jane Fonda cassette tapes (yes, I am 41) and crazy, restrictive diets to the rescue.
Beating myself up through my teens, 20s and into my early thirties. If I could just have enough willpower to master the latest diet trend and punish my body with workouts I didn’t enjoy then my body would be worthy of my love and positive attention, right?
Argh. How much time and energy wasted. By starting down the path to more proactive self-care, nourishing foods and fitness I enjoyed, I began the process of seeing my body for what it had down and continued to do for me. Instead of dissecting it, discovering new ways to serve it. Benefitting my physical and mental outlook. Positive thoughts breed positive action. (This is no where near a perfect process, by the way — still struggle with those voices that criticize and judge from time to time, especially when feeling stressed and depleted. Habits.)
All of these thoughts came rushing back to me today after P90X class.
One of my regular attendees arrived a little late for class. I instantly noticed her workout attire. Her outfit was definitely new — out of her normal 3/4 length sleeves. Flowing, flattering, key hole back. She looked gorgeous.
As her and I talked to a new class member after class, she said to me, “Did you notice my outfit today?” And I confirmed that I had, telling her how much I loved it. She admitted that she had long “hated my chubby arms” and hid them with clothing. Self-conscious, even at home. But by investing in and prioritizing her self-care (this woman is a dynamo mom, volunteer, friend, employee and nurturer), she was letting go of that mindset. Recognizing her strength. Ability to do push-ups with those arms. Hold planks. Affect her bottom line health at a dramatic level. Things she never thought she could do. Powerful as hell. And she ripples this out to so many others in her world as well as complete strangers…inspiring.
Tears. This is what it is all about. Wearing a shirt out of your comfort zone and feeling confident in your own skin. Rocking it.
You are not a number. A size. A single body part. These things do not define you.
Love your body as a whole. Recognize it. Nourish it. Move it. HONOR it.