Thursday, March 29, 2012

When Does It Change?

As a stay-at-home-mom, I spend a LOT of time playing outside with the Weasel. And as the owner of a water table and as a family who has absolutely enjoyed every minute of this unseasonably warm winter/early spring, the Weasel gets soaked 4 days out of any given week. As soon as she finishes playing, she immediately requests to be stripped of her wet rags and continues to play in her diaper.

Now she's a little chunker. The Weasel weighed in at 10 pounds 1 ounce upon birth, and though her growth has slowed, at just over 20 months, she's nearing the 30 pound mark (28.2). She LOVES her tummy. When she found her belly button, I strongly considered getting rid of most of her toys, as that took over as her favorite:). Well, it got me thinking...

At what point in our lives (I'm mainly referring to females here), do we start becoming so critical of our bodies? I posted awhile ago about when that started for me. I have a love-hate relationship with my body. I'm 5'9" (5'10" on a good day), and I weigh 149. I hate that I know that. I hate that I weigh myself everyday, but I cannot seem to get rid of my scale. I want to embrace my "love handles" and look at myself as a strong mother runner, but I struggle with that. I drink beer and eat crap sometimes and then feel horrible about it. If I have a bad run, I blame my body. When I get my Athleta or Title Nine catalog, I obsess over ways to achieve a better body; to look like those models. (Side note: I love the models in those catalogs. They are real women, real athletes with beautiful muscles. They are NOT stick skinny Victoria Secret, make-you-want-to-starve-yourself girls.

I'm sure it happens as soon as girls get to middle school, perhaps even earlier with the advent of the Internet and these ridiculous teeny-bopper TV shows. Girls suddenly become their own worst critics. They stop running around in diapers and start sucking their stomachs in. This makes me sad. I don't want my daughter to face this same fate, but I know I can't prevent it. 

What I can do, is remind her that she is strong and beautiful no matter what her shape is. I will continue to show her that running and exercise makes for a happier, healthier life. I will not let her forget about these wonderful days when she reveled in the sight of her own fabulous round tummy:

And while I won't lie to you and say, this post means I've accepted my spare tire, I will say that I'm trying to learn to love my body for all its flaws. I will focus on my strengths as an athlete. I will learn from the Weasel. 

...but I will always love beer, and therefore, I will most likely always sport a little extra around the middle.


Lynsey said...

This might be my favorite post to date. With a daughter on the way, Brian and I have had lengthy discussions on way we will promote healthy lifestyles as well as healthy body images in our house. No more use of the words "fat", "chunky", "thick", etc when talking about ourselves. I think it's vital to start embracing our bodies as our actions carry over to our little ones. And of course, we love to eat in this household. :)

Lynsey said...

I forgot to add that I think finding a healthy balance is the key to long term success and it seems you have found that! So proud of you.

Heather (Where's the Beach) said...

Great post - so much to think about really. It made me start to question when I questioned my body. I was always soooo terribly skinny and self-conscious because of it. So it can go both ways for girls. So where is the "happy" medium? Why do boys not seem to go through this the way girls do and continue to do into adulthood?

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i truly learned some of my worst body image lessons from my mom, not from anyone else. she stood in front of a mirror and called herself fat all the of course that's what i did when i became taller and bigger than her

it is a sad thing that women go through this, but i'm positive that sports and in particular when i found running have helped me tremendously to love my body for what it can do

Suz and Allan said...

I'm tall too (5'8") and weigh almost the same as you do and carry my extra weight mostly all in my tummy so I can relate to this post so much. It is hard not to compare myself to others. Skinnier doesn't mean healthier and it definitely doesn't guarantee happiness.

Post a Comment

Love the feedback and the motivation. Thanks!