I was outside weeding my yard the other day, and I stopped to chat with a neighbour. She told me she was going to a woman friendly gym now. She expressed that she wasn’t comfortable working out in the “muscle head” zone and was happy to find a place to sweat with just women.
And it got me thinking that I was very thankful that I found my comfort in the gym I go to; where both men and women sweat freely. But it also made me think about the fact so many find the gym atmosphere intimidating; and I was one of those once. I tried to remember how that view evolved for me. Because it was a slow evolution into confidence.
Again, it comes down to a shift in my perception away from athstetics to training for my health and vitality. Learning to love my body for what it can do vs. how I “look”. These legs can run, these arms can embrace, this core keeps me stable, this back allows me to bend down and pick things up. Functionality to enjoy life better.
With that in mind, I went to my gym. I saw a regular there, and we paused to chat briefly.
She explained to me her challenges within her training, specifically around the body parts she wasn’t happy with. “bat wings” and if she dieted to lose more weight, it would affect how her ass looked. It made me uncomfortable to reduce her body to outward appearance, but more so I was uncomfortable because that’s the trap I have fallen into personally…the self-deprecating trap.
I’m writing about the woman’s point of view; because I am one. 😉 I’m sure men deal with this in a different manner. There was a moment within our exchange where I could have validated the self-deprecation by adding in my own insecurities about my body. But at that moment, I made a conscious decision not to.
I said in reply “I think you look amazing. You see yourself differently than I do. And I am happy with my body”.
Because I have learned to be. Happy with who I am at whatever weight or level of fitness I happen to be at. Fitness is my outlet to pour whatever I happen to be going through…stress, anxiety, determination, the urge to push myself and see what I’m capable of, internal conflict…and spin it back to good vibes. I don’t care how I look while I’m doing it.
I have learned my worth is not determined by my frame; or the way my butt looks in a pair of jeans. But that sure is the marketing specifically targeting women “10 tips to get a lifted butt” —-> I’d probably get more traffic to this post if I labelled it that.
OK, let’s get real for a moment here, will the quality of my life be any more fulfilled if in fact my butt was lifted? ha!
And as women, wouldn’t it be better to skip the self-deprecating bullshit we impose, and just love ourselves in all the levels body/mind/soul?
How are we supposed to teach our daughters self-respect and worth if we are picking apart our own bodies in the mirror every day?
So I make a conscious effort to give myself a nod in the mirror. To look at my body in a way of love, and respect for the vehicle it is. A vehicle to take me places, love others deeply, and explore this world. Going to the gym allows me to build a strong foundation to move more effectively and efficiently in everyday life tasks.
I hope to be able to explore life further when I actually have money saved to do so, and I recognize that’s in my later years.
If you don’t use it you will lose it.
I want to be Betty White old. Full of vitality!
Lift to build muscle. Eat quality to fuel your daily activity. Run/move to feel alive and because I’m able. Read this for further perceptive: https://reclaiminglifeblog.com/2015/03/25/the-face-of-ms/
But I refuse to stand in a gym and talk about all the things I don’t like about my body. It’s a disrespect to myself and devalues the totality of the woman I am, which has little to do with my bat wings or my not-so-lifted-tush.
That’s all I have to say about that!
From my heart to yours,