It's has been the challenge of my life to be fit.
To be in good shape and to include fitness and healthy food choices into my lifestyle, or to fit in? Isn't that the million dollar question of the century. I was thinking as I drove home from a local pizzeria last night with dinner in the back seat, how difficult my run was going to be this morning if I went home and ate pizza with my family. I like pizza and I have never been one to deprive myself of things that I like. But this is a place where I constantly struggle, like zillions of other woman that I know. I am about to be very real about just how frustrating this is for me, but in sharing I want to let people know that everyone struggles. maybe not to the same extreme, but everyone struggles.
I used to do some modelling before I got married and started a family. It was during that time when the pressure to have a certain body type became very real to me. When I went to my first photo shoot in Toronto, I was told to lose twenty pounds, and I seriously did not know how I was going to do that. Mainly because I didn't have twenty pounds to lose. It is all that they say. The pressure to be pencil thin in order to get work exists in that field, and it is unfortunately a message that has been sent to all of the girls fighting body image issues in this generation in all fields. It is just what is expected of us. It is not normal to be average. you must be fit, and thin and only order a salad or you will be judged for not taking good care of yourself.
I have learned that maintaining a healthy weight provides health benefits. Loosing as little as ten pounds may help to lower your blood pressure, or prevent hypertension. Being at a healthy weight can also relieve the stress that comes along with the constant pressures we put on ourselves to fit between certain numbers on the scale. We are all very aware of the negative affects of stress on our bodies and minds. The pressure to loose weight can be overwhelming for some of us. But I also know that it is probably one of the most difficult things for a woman to maintain. And who decides what this "healthy" body weight is? I am a firm believer that everyone has a different body structure and it is completely ridiculous to think that we can all fit into a generic "perfect weight" for your height and age and gender.
So why is it such a struggle. I work really, REAALLY hard to try and stay at a healthy body weight. I have issues, not healthy issues when it comes to my weight. I am extreme sometimes when it comes to being fit. I am one of those people who look in the mirror and see fat everywhere. I drive my husband nuts, because I constantly ask him to tell me if he thinks I'm fat. If he says no, then of course he's lying to me. And God help him if he says yes. I have a hate, hate, HATE relationship with the scales. I had Barry take them away from me for a while, and was told not to get on the scale in order to try and heal some of these issues that I have, and I went out and bought a new scale and hid it from him. I'm telling you, this is not an easy path that I walk down. But I don't want sympathy, I don't need that. I need to continue to work on the why? Why is it so important to me.? Why do I need to see a certain number on the scale? Why am I so fixated on my body?
The more I look for answers to those questions, the more self absorbed and self focused I appear to be. Oh my goodness, I do not have time to be so self centred, and really, I am not. My family and friends, my job, and my home always come before me. I am a very giving person, and I love to motivate and encourage others to reach their fitness goals. So why this incredible amount of time spent on worrying about my weight? Why does it matter so much? You know what, I blame no one but myself. I could blame things from the past that might have given me body image issues, I can blame things from the present, like having seven children, and not having the same body I did before childbirth. I could blame the stresses of my busy lifestyle and all of the responsibilities that I have now, but that is useless. Being fit and healthy is not just a state of mind, but the state of your mind holds the biggest part of the equation. So take full responsibility for telling myself the lies. I have put the pressure on myself. There is no one harder on me than me. No one is asking me to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount. In fact no one is asking me for any of the things that I expect of myself. I am seriously my own worst critic.
I do need to take care of myself. I think it is very important to live a healthy lifestyle because I have seven children that I want to be here for. I want to be the best mother, wife and friend that I can be. I know that it is my charge in life to treat my body as a vessel that can be used to do good, and if I put garbage in then garbage will come out. I just need to do it in a healthy and safe manner. Fixating on the scales, and on what societies expectations of a six foot tall, forty three year old woman should be, is not healthy. It is counterproductive to all that I believe in and goes against all that I encourage in so many people I influence.
It would be wrong of me to suggest that you are fit if you are 100 pounds over weight, but happy and content with that. We all know that eating is necessary to survive, and making healthy eating choices is necessary to live a healthy lifestyle. We also know that it is important to be within a certain weight to live the best, most productive life you can live. The worst part about all of this, is that we all know it. We've known it for a long time, and it doesn't make any of it easier. We set goals, we buy better food, we eat clean, we run and and bike and swim our way around the world and back, but it is still a struggle much of the time. I just wanted to share that, yes, it is a struggle for me too!!
So what is it going to take to make this better? This is really about me making the changes that I need to in order to make all aspects of my life healthy. Extremes when it comes to food and fitness and weight, are not healthy. It's back to that whole "balance" thing. I have to find it even when it comes to the things like food, and fitness and living a healthier life. I have a way of taking even things that are good for me and making them a little more challenging. I love a challenge :)
I am hoping that everyone is up for the challenge of living a healthier life. It is so hard. I will be the first to admit , and I have shared, that I struggle with it every single day. But isn't it always easier to know that you are not struggling alone. That even someone who you might think has the whole"fitness" thing under their belt struggles too. We all can relate to each other and we all can help one another work out the kinks on our not-so-smooth personal journey. Challenge yourself today, to work through the lies that society has fed you about your weight and your appearance. Be smart about how you eat, and what you weigh, and how often you exercise. It is important, but it cannot be all consuming...and neither can we.
I still struggle with the scale, but I had pizza for supper last night, and I went for a run this morning. There are so many more wonderful things about women that we need to celebrate, and my chubby bum can be one of them. I'm working on it every day....the balance thing. I'm a work in progress...yay!!