I appreciate all the discussion from the Enough post. I have to say, it was very cathartic for me to write it. I haven't always had the best body image. I've written about my pregnancy weight gain and stretch marks and how painful it was to reconcile with my new body. I've talked about how I became a little obsessed with eating raw and lost too much weight. These issues aren't new for me, either -- they started way back in junior high. That means I've been dealing with them off and on for well over a decade. It's exhausting, let me tell you.
I want to clarify something. In my previous post, I in no way meant to demonize working out. I commend those of you who can run long distances, swim for miles and benchpress your body weight. Really, you should be proud of yourself and your physical abilities!
I also enjoy a little exercise each day, but due to some chronic pain issues, I can really only do yoga at this point. But let me tell ya, yoga makes me feel amazing. It centers me. It forces me to relax and breathe. It aligns my body with my spirit and alleviates my pain. Yes, I sound like a hippy. But it's all true.
I haven't always been limited by medical issues, though. In high school, I lifted my dad's weights in the garage all the time. I ran with him at the track. I danced at school. I swam laps in my parent's pool. It was great. But even at the peak of fitness, I did not look like those infamous Pinterest models. Yes, I was more toned and thought I looked better than ever, but those abs? From the picture? Forget it! I'm a tiny girl without a lot of muscle mass. I'm not naturally capable of looking that way, and I'm OK with that. Well, I guess if I ate a TON of protein, worked out for hours every day, gave up all my free time (what free time?!) and underwent surgical enhancements, I could. But I don't consider that natural at all.
For me, the extremism a rock-hard, picture-perfect body would require does not equate with a healthy lifestyle. It might work out well (pun intended) for other people. If you're one of them, then congratulations! But a person's health is not necessarily defined by how he or she looks. We know better than that and we need to live like we believe it.
Some people told me the fitness model pictures actually do inspire them to be healthier. I don't wish to discount their opinion -- to each her own. But many readers said the pictures hurt their self-image and my message was for them. So to further my cause, I created a new board on Pinterest called "Health-Spiration." The pictures on my new board inspire me to live in a way that will allow me to fulfill my potential as a human being. They encourage me to make choices which will extend the length and quality of my life. They remind me "beauty is a state of mind, not a state of body."
See these pins and more like 'em here.