So I've been alive, let's say, "around 40 years". Pretty much my entire life I have grappled with the numbers I see on the scale. Too big, too soft, too curvy. Despite the ramblings of Fergie, Sir Mix-A-lot or any of the other Top 10 Booty Songs out there today, its hard to feel good about your body.
Couldn't we go back to the Roman times, caveman? Curvy women were revered back then. In fact they survived the longest when food was scarce. We stored for days to make sure our species survived.
But in the modern world, the "survival of the species" card is not going to work.
So back to present day. I have starved myself. I have tried to sweat the fat out (don't ask). I have restricted myself to only vegetables. I, at one point, was told fruit was bad for me so I stopped eating that (when you are a vegan that just seems WRONG). I did a juice cleanse. I did a DoTerra cleanse.
Maybe the scale would move 1-2 pounds, but I'm not going to lie, these efforts usually made me feel like a disaster at which point I would find myself buried nose deep in the delectable goodness of Ben & Jerry's 7-Layer Coconut Ice Cream. When the going gets tough, Ben & Jerry's gets tougher.
Or I just started working out more. So began more teaching, training religiously 7 days a week. Signing up for Tough Mudders, Triathalons, Marathons (all the "thons") and even a Half Iron Man.
Really. I did.
At one point I lost about 10 pounds - yippee. But guess what, I was working out about 20 hours a week, that.
People, that is like a PART TIME job.
When I was working out all the time, losing weight, getting "skinny" I felt like crap. While my body LOOKED good, inside it felt quite different.
Now the flip side.
I live a plant-based lifestyle - no meat, eggs, dairy, yes, that means cheese - for this chica. I practice yoga, meditation, mindfulness. I teach yoga, I teach cycling, I hike often. I am not running 10 miles a day, swimming a mile a day, or biking 25 miles a day.
I feel better than ever. I have put on those 10 pounds but is it worth it to FEEL good. Sure I'm a little more squishy and soft, and I've certainly got some "junk in my trunk", but why oh why can't I just accept my body the way it is.
nd really, that is where this story began.
Being the responsible adult that I am I went to upgrade my life insurance policy - that is what you do people, especially when you have children and want to be responsible and make sure said children are taken care of should adult parent "kick the bucket" before my intended time of 100 years. [Run on sentence, I know!]
And so it was in the sterile white office of my life insurance rep I was told I was rejected for my desired life insurance plan because I was overweight (by 3 pounds). With the best blood pressure, plant-based diet and never a health issue in my first 40 years of life. But none of that matters.
I immediately got up out of my chair and began doing calisthenics, thinking of a personal trainer friend who could set me up with a 30 day get back on track diet and workout plan, and didn't eat dinner. Old habits are hard to break.
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.
Slow down, sister.
Should I alter the way I feel, my happiness with my body, the joy I have FINALLY in my skin because someone looked at a number compared to another number on a chart made up on some computer, to save $24 a month. I'd spend that for a gym membership!
There are dozens, hundreds, thousands of women struggling right now with judgment of themselves because of some number they saw on a scale, on a piece of paper.
Yes, there are people who are grossly overweight, people who could benefit from losing weight for their own health and longevity. But the sad truth is this is not always their fault. Poor diet as a child is going to lead to poor diet as an adult. We live in an addictive society with food that is genetically engineered to make you crave it (Ben & Jerry's please tell me that's not you!). Processed and unhealthy foods are less expensive than healthy good for you foods. Did you check out my blog post the other about our current Zombie Apocalypse, I introduced you to an amazing artist, Steve Cutts, here is another work of his. Its raw by so true.
Insert those brand name logos with foods from places like McDonalds, Coca Cola, Kraft, while we get sicker, they get richer. And side note, they are probably the ones selling you your crappy health insurance too.
Hey, wait a minute, are they in charge of my life insurance. Of course, they want me to be fat so they can charge me more money.
The real question here after all this rambling is what determines if you are skinny or fat.
When my sons were in high school I would walk down the aisles on the way to a teacher conference looking around at the ways that generation was trying to combat the fake image of an ideal body type. Bravo.
If you FEEL GOOD, if you are truly HAPPY, if you LOOK GOOD in YOUR body, are you going to let some life insurance policy tell you your fat.
No Shae, you are not.
I think society has given us enough reasons to hate ourselves - from the weight we carry, the food we eat, the jobs we have or don't have, how we raise our children. Let us try to be happy with the one thing we can control - our bodies.
So if you feel good, great.
If you feel like you need to lose weight, do it because you WANT TO. You want to live longer, do more things.
Learning to love yourself is the single best way to live a happy life and truly learn to take care of your yourself.
Look in the mirror, look in your heart, not at the scale. You will know what you need to do.
Namaste, and thanks for listeting!