Well, here we are..a new year. Actually, a new decade!
I wanted to start this year by sharing my personal struggle with body image in the hopes that you would understand that I "get you". My body image issues started when I was about 13 years old, and my body was changing. I had boobs by then, which were still weird to me at that age, but up until then I was slender and didn't really think too much about what else was going on with my body. I started my monthlies around 14, a bit late by most, but I was also very athletic so that put monthly periods on a later track than most of my friends. Up to 13 years old, I was slender and very athletic. In fact, I remained athletic most of my life, only slowing down recently in my 50's. But what I wasn't ready for were those lumpy, orange peel looking thighs! I noticed those around then, and didn't know what they were, other than ugly. I quickly found out about cellulite..the dreaded "C" word. And thus my struggle began!
So, I started that horrible cycle of fad diets, severely restricted eating, too much exercise, only to fail and not only not lose weight, but the cellulite wouldn't go away, and my butt just kept getting bigger. ( I had the J-Lo butt long before it was popular so I like to think I was ahead of my time ) I hated how I looked in jeans, and the trendy looks back in the 80's just wasn't working for my body. So, what did I do? I exercised more, dieted more, and continued to not like my body. My friends were awesome at the time. I was surrounded by a tribe of girls who came in all shapes and sizes, and we supported each other through each diet fad, and tried to give advice, and just hugged each other as we cried, literally, about our bodies and downed a tub of ice cream. Not such a healthy way of dealing with body issues, but hey, we were young. Even my parents weren't that helpful, simply saying I had to eat less ??? I didn't understand how much less I could manage and not feel like I was starving, or want to run to the corner store and eat chocolate and chips as I walked back home. It was frustrating, and depressing at times. But we really didn't have a lot of information about nutrition, or nearly as much information as we have today, and we were still a good decade away from the internet and Dr. Google, and social media. So I continued to struggle, and hate my body.
I want to interject here..throughout the years I have been very athletic. I started with sports when I was about 10 years old, playing baseball, competing in track and field, took martial arts, moved up to volley ball and soccer, started training for cross country running, and then in my late teens early twenties I started working out with weights. I was always physically active, right up until about a year ago, when age and achy joints stopped me from the one activity I enjoy the most-jogging. At 40 years old, I weighed 162lbs, but was wearing a size 7. I'm only 5"5', so 162lbs would be overweight, according to the BMI charts, but my waist size was 27 inches, and I was all muscle. At 50, I ran into the next health hurdle - hypothyroidism. More about that later in the blog.
So, all throughout my adult life I've struggled with body image, never happy with how I looked. My partners would always say I looked great, and my husband now still thinks I look great..but I look in the mirror and just say "ugh". This past "Eating Season" has been a tough one for me with all the good food everywhere..and too many carbs and too much wine and not enough exercise and so forth and so on..but this year I'm going to make a commitment to myself - to spend more time taking care of me. I plan on getting more rest, making sure my "me time" isn't at the end of the day when I'm exhausted but rather earlier in the day. I don't want to cheat myself like that anymore. And, I plan on continuing my daily walks..I usually walk twice a day, sometimes three times. I have an energetic dog so there's no getting out of daily walks. I'm also going to get back on track with eating how I ate when I finally lost 25lbs that was gained due to hypothyroidism.
I wish I felt confident about my body image, but I don't. I do love myself though..and I love the changes that I've made in the past few years. I'm a work in progress, as we all are. Do I give myself treatments? Yes, when I have the time to do that, but I spend most of my time taking care of my clients and their body image goals. Many say if they had the platforms at home they would be using them every day, but that's not true. And, it's not healthy. If I have time on certain days I usually say to myself "I can give myself a treatment another time" only because there's always so much to do. Like blogging for example lol. But having the platforms and making a commitment to myself to give myself treatments, even if it's just a facial (because they feel soooooo good) is something that I'm going to be working on this year, along with everything else I do every day. My commitment is to my clients. It's my passion actually. I've seen so many clients come in so down on themselves and I've had a hand in the positive changes they've made, from eating habits and activity levels, to texting them to remind them to drink their water, and having them text me and let me know that they reached 10,000 steps that day, or have stuck to their eating and exercise habits and lost some weight, and letting me know their clothes fit better and they just feel better about themselves. That's the win for me! They feel better about themselves. Nothing makes my day like hearing from a client who had to go and buy new clothes because the ones they have are too big!
I gained about 30lbs two years ago due to hypothyroidism and really struggled with that. I was out jogging, walking, lifting weights, had a treadmill, was doing yoga and on a very restrictive diet, all to no avail. I saw an ad for Coolsculpting and looked into it. At the time, the cost was prohibitive, and I continued to gain weight, and slip into that frustration/depression cycle. Nothing I was doing was working. Then, I started eating low carb/ high fat and the weight literally fell off me. Coupled with the correct thyroid medication dose, and gentle forms of exercise like yoga and walking, I managed to keep the weight off all this time. This kind of eating works for me, but it isn't right for everyone, and before you begin changes like eating habits, make sure to discuss it with your doctor. Keto isn't for everyone, neither is low carb. Everyone has different needs so make sure your eating habits are serving you well. I still walk a lot, do yoga when I'm not too busy, and mostly stick to the low carb lifestyle..but I still don't like my body. I like ME, just not the body I'm in. So when people contact me and tell me about their body image struggles, I get it. I SO get it. I will continue to be their biggest cheer leader, and I will continue to call them all lovely or beautiful, because they are..even the men! ( Yes, men struggle with body image issues too). We are all in this together, and we are all here to see each other through, not through each other.
So, I'll keep everyone posted with my commitments, successes and failures as I try to make improvements to myself, physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. And, I will continue to cheer all of you on as is my nature.
Stay beYOUtiful everyone. Love yourself. Be kind to each other and most importantly, be kind to yourself.