Why a “Six Pack” Does Not Equate Health; For Me

abs and apple

Over the years, especially the past two and a half years, I have learned a few things about my personal health and body image.  I, like most women, have struggled (albeit [mostly] mildly) with my body image, especially after having kids.  I have been known to compare myself to other women, have little to no appreciation for what my body does for me, become overly consumed with what I eat and/or how much I exercise, allow a number on the scale to control my mood, be upset with myself because I didn’t/couldn’t achieve the “ideal” figure, and many more self defeating thoughts.  It’s sad, really sad, and it’s something I want to shield my little girl from, even though I have been victim of it.  Thankfully, I have learned a lot, and I have had to teach myself how to look at things from a different angle, an angle that wasn’t tainted by a picture of someone with the “perfect” figure.  I thought I should share some of the things that I have learned, and I hope that it might help others out there as well.

  • I had to find my “sweet spot” of physical health and ideal healthy body image…I did find it, and guess what…it is not the “thinnest” I have ever been, or is it the “best” I have looked strictly from a worldly stand point.  It IS however, the best that I’ve felt and the healthiest I have ever been.  When I was at my “thinnest” I also had a diet that wasn’t properly nourishing my body.  I was overly consumed with calories and macronutrients, and scrutinized everything I ate.  Now, not only am I healthier, but I am happy with my body image.  I know that I am not the leanest girl out there, and far from being a fitness model, but I am also happy with the way I look – which is huge for me…and I am not consumed with food.  I enjoy food, and can be an example to my family on how to make healthy eating a way of life.
  • A six pack and defined arms do not equate health for me.  I am not taking anything away from the women that work hard for those features, I admire their hard work….but I have also learned that doesn’t mean that they are healthier than I am.  Yes, obesity is unhealthy, and it is important to maintain a healthy weight, but a healthy weight does NOT equate to having a six pack  – especially for women.  Women naturally carry more body fat than men, and it is suppose to be that way.  I have learned first hand at how much time and effort it takes to be lean enough to have that type of muscle definition, and have decided that it is not the healthiest option for me.  Emotionally I become completely consumed/obsessed with reaching my goal, I am way too hard on myself when I’m not perfect, all the while I unintentionally hurt the people I care the most about.  I am not saying that is the case for everyone, it is just the case for me.  I have found that a healthy (not regimented) diet and regular exercise work best for me.
  • Not everyone’s ideal healthy weight is the same.  I am short, and I am not naturally super lean and thin, and you want to know what…it’s ok.  I can appreciate the differences, where before I would try to obtain an image/look that was nearly impossible for my body type.
  • Women that appreciate and appropriately take care of their bodies are beautiful
  • I have been extremely blessed with good health, and my body allows me to do all the things that I love.  It seems very selfish of me to obsess that my stomach isn’t perfectly flat or that my thighs aren’t as thin as I would like.  
  • It is a daily struggle, and I have come a long way, and I am grateful for the perspective I have gained.

 

Have any of you been through a similar journey?

What lessons did you learn?