Honesty alert: Over the last year or so I’ve gained about 10 pounds.
10 pounds is enough that last year’s shorts…don’t quite fit – at least not comfortably. I have a few pairs of pants that have been put away. And things are looking a little different than it did last summer…
And I’m ok with it (ok, I’m WORKING on being ok with it). #human
Pre-self-compassion, pre-ditch-the-diet me would have FREAKED out about this 10 pounds. She would have gone into a meaning-making shame spiral and jumped on whatever the latest diet bandwagon there was, gotten really black and white about her nutrition and made the whole thing into a really BIG deal. Once again…#human
I’m not going to lie…when I first noticed it I did make a decision to “tighten up the reigns” and see if I could affect a little change. Mostly because I liked some of those clothes, and also because I wondered if that extra 10 pounds was good for my joints with all the high impact fitness I do every week.
Without diving into the diet deep end I simply noticed where I could cut back on unnecessary snacking, brought awareness to my portions and became more mindful about my choices. I simply tuned in more to my body and it’s needs. I did this for a month….
…and nothing changed.
I got curious about why this might be the case, and gave some thought to my potential next steps. It could be my thyroid (I’ve had issues in the past), it could be hormonal shifts (#reallife), it could also be a reflection of the volume of training I do – and my body’s need for more rest and recovery (ironic, but also true for me historically). I started down the road of exploring all of these ideas…
Then I took a BIG step back.
It’s 10 pounds. I’m otherwise very healthy. I don’t have any other symptoms I’m concerned about. I have energy to do the things I want to do. I sleep like a champ. I’m currently training for a 1/2 marathon and feeling really strong.
To recap: I’m fit. healthy. strong and vibrant….and 10 pounds heavier than a year or so ago.
Which led me to this #truthbomb …
What if this is my “new normal” … could that be ok?
We live in a culture (especially in the health and fitness world) that assumes that our body weight and composition should be relatively static – within 5 pounds at most for the duration of our adult life. We place a inordinate value on weight and body composition as a solitary metric, without stepping back and taking a look at the big (and more important) picture of health. The predominant paradigm encourages us to maintain this “healthy weight” range or jump on the diet train or exercise bandwagon to “fix it” should we stray from this norm.
But here’s the problem with that paradigm and that attitude…
Our bodies aren’t static – or something that needs “fixing.” They’re constantly evolving. They are physiologically changing – all. the. time. Responding to the demands we place on them – on a daily, hourly and minute to minute basis. Working silently to coordinate an internal symphony of actions and reactions to keep us vibrant and alive! So this notion that there is one solitary metric we should measure our health against is preposterous. The assumption that we can transform ourselves into a different, better aesthetic that is more “summer ready” is at best not helpful, at worst, actually harmful to our mental and physical health.
I see it again and again this time of year – extreme programs, diets and cleanses to get “beach ready.” And the misery, dread, frustration, exhaustion and often times injury that ensues when people push their bodies in this way. We are sacrificing our actual mental and physical health in the “name of health.” Um…is it just me that thinks this is INSANE?!
Here’s the challenge…it’s so EASY to fall down into that body perfection trap. Into the well worn path that praises working hard to fit into the narrow view of what healthy “looks like.”
I get it, I’m guilty of it too. Because … it’s everywhere you look. Because … #human
In the past few weeks I’ve been reconciling all of this. Recognizing that at least for now – this is my healthy weight.
Will I be here forever? Who knows. Likely not. But for now, it is. And I can either fight against my body – or I can love and accept it while I continue to live a healthy lifestyle that reflects a deep respect, appreciation and even admiration for my body (gasp, I know!).
So those shorts that don’t fit? Well, they can just get tucked away in a bin or be donated – because those shorts aren’t worth me fighting against my current physiology and stealing all the joy from my life. They’re not worth me spending my precious mental real estate caught up in a paradigm that leaves me feeling like I’m not enough – just as I am.
Because what healthy looks like on me…is what my body looks like when I’m living a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy relationship with food and fitness. For me this includes moving my body daily in ways that bring me joy, eating a diet that is colourful, rich and varied, sleeping for 7-8 hours per night, and making time each day to meditate.
I want to have a relationship with my body that is healthy. That enables me to focus on what my body can DO (not how it looks). I want get out there and have fun, challenge my body (and mind) and be the adventurous woman I am. I want to live a fully expressed, beautiful life that brings me joy.
I can’t have that if I view my body as the enemy or a problem that needs to be fixed.
So yeah, I gained weight. And it’s ok. I’m ok. In fact, I’m great.
Why tell you all of this?
Because I know I’m not alone. Because #human.
If you take nothing else away from this, please hear this:
Your body is amazing. It’s constantly evolving and changing to help you. To ensure you can do the things you want to do.
Get out there and do them.
Feel strong. Feel powerful. Feel vibrant and alive.
Nourish your body and soul with foods that inspire you.
Enjoy your life. Make memories that count.
Take good care to nurture your mind and spirit.
Make space in your life for rest and reflection.
Give your body and yourself permission to be. Period.
Live a healthy lifestyle you love. Find the balance that works for you. #besuperyou