Positive body image – more than just a buzzword

 In blog, Fitness

I have a confession.  As a 45-year-old mother of three small kids, I’ve struggled with positive body image. A lot. I’ve been trying to look like I did in my twenties (okay, maybe a little better. My twenties were rough). Here’s my problem:

For the last 20 (okay, 20-ish) years, I’ve done Atkins, Paleo, Whatever Chrissy from Three’s Company said to do, Keto, Some Beach thing and everything else you can think of for a diet. I’ve done cardio (without legwarmers, thank you very much), Nautilus machines, jogging, biking, aerobics, strength training, functional training, full body; basically everything under the sun. I’ve invested in all the magic solutions, shakes, hot new things, and have also lost my shirt (but that’s about all I lost) on those 30-day trials for wonder herbs collected from a secret rain forest. You know the ones I mean.

My quest for the ‘perfect body’ took me down some dark roads. In my twenties I suffered from a life-threatening eating disorder, and preoccupation with my weight has ruined my peace of mind and robbed me of my joy for more years than I’d like to admit to.

I was fortunate because with help I was able to overcome the mental obsession with perfection, and find a lifestyle of eating and exercising that was challenging, but not life-consuming. I saw media manipulation for what it was and started paying more attention to my insides than my outsides. After all the striving, I was actually at a place where I felt confident, looked as good as I get, could see my muscles and had a lot of stamina. For someone with my background, this was heaven! I was 38 years old, but felt years younger I was so filled with a feeling of freedom.

So I had a baby. And then twins. And for some strange reason, I just didn’t ‘bounce back’. And the only thing more irritating than that is having someone with a fresh new metabolism untouched by years of yo-yo-ing and gimmicks telling me that “all” I have to do is do this exercise for 15 minutes a day (yeah, right), or drink this magic potion or completely change my lifestyle for only 30 DAYS and I’ll be skinny, perfect, and happy. You know what? SHUT UP! You don’t even KNOW…(ugly cries in the corner).

See, the truth is, I work as hard as I ever did, and eat as healthfully as I ever did, and yet somehow those old feelings of inadequacy and failure creep in. I KNOW that it’s silly, and I KNOW I can’t expect the same body at 45 that I had at 35 – especially after the hormonal hurricane that my body’s faced, but somehow, those extra jiggles took a toll on my self-esteem. I found myself envying other women with different shapes, and contemplating extreme measures again to get back to where I’d been. And just like that, my serenity was gone.

In my case, it was even worse because what I haven’t mentioned yet is that my husband, Tony, and I are co-owners of the best gym in the world – Limitless Fitness. My husband is 54 and looks about 35 (except for the lines around his eyes where the children have stolen his soul…I have them too). He has defied the aging process and discovered a way of eating that gets amazing results for our clients. People from all walks of life and levels of fitness have put themselves in Tony’s care, put in the work, and found themselves achieving what they thought were impossible results. So, I know exactly what to eat, and how to eat it. I have the best trainer in the world giving me workouts that I do faithfully, and yet I just wasn’t seeing the results I wanted.

This is not one of those ads that ends with a miracle. I didn’t go on a journey to the Himalayas and find out that Gingofadicusstealyourmoneya made me into a lean and lithe model. I also didn’t find a system/supplement/program that changed my genetics. But I did get my serenity back, and it was thanks to Limitless Fitness.

Because our motto is Real People, Real Bodies. One day when I was complaining about my flappy arms (as one of my kids was flapping them, saying ‘flap flap flap’, I might add), I told Tony “It’s not FAIR!! I used to be so much more toned. WHY ISN’T THIS WORKING FOR ME!”

And he told me what he has to tell some of our other clients. “A lot of women never see themselves the way they are. You are never happy with yourselves. Look how strong you are! Look at what the doctors tell you every visit. Look what your body did, look at these kids.” He reminded me that I shouldn’t expect to have the same pre-baby body I had at thirty. He also told me he thinks I look awesome.

I realized at that moment, that I have a choice, just like we all do. I can focus on my strength, my health, my energy and the amazing things my body has accomplished, or I can wish myself younger or thinner or whatever-er and waste my forties much as I wasted my twenties and thirties. I can enjoy life in the moment, or I can put off enjoyment until I ‘earn’ it by looking good enough (and we all know there’s never ‘enough’ if you don’t have it now!)

I think that’s ultimately why our clients not only get such great results, but report feeling healthier, more confident and happier in their own skin. It’s not just about changing your outsides. Now, don’t get me wrong…people DO change their outsides because they learn how to eat normal, everyday food in combinations and quantities that grows lean muscle and sheds body fat without being hungry (At all. Seriously, it’s crazy), and they get ever-changing workouts that pushes them past their plateaus. You also get to work out with a group of people who want the same thing and will laugh, sweat, and celebrate with you. Everyone who works out here is SO over competing with each other, being snarky, judge-y or mean. And if a mean one slips in, guess what? We don’t let them stay. It’s that simple. Our community is that important to us, because that’s what keeps people coming back.

But at Limitless Fitness, it’s so much more than that because we get it. And at the end of the day, we’ll be there to remind you about what’s really important…and it’s not what size your jeans are.

Real people, real bodies, real stories. That’s what Limitless Fitness is all about and that’s why I love it.

Want to dive deeper? Click here to read my ebook – Guide to unleashing your best you! This will give you some tips and strategies for overcoming mental and physical  limits to be the best you you can be.

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