Last night I went shopping for jeans and it did not end in a complete emotional breakdown. You should know that this is a pretty big accomplishment because the reason I was shopping for jeans is because my jeans from last year barely fit. Going up a size in jeans is enough to spin any girl into an emotional breakdown, and you ladies know I’m right.But for some reason, this shopping trip was different.
I’d like to think that it’s because I’m slowly starting to recognize my own self-worth and beauty….that’s my hope at least. Perhaps I’m slowly moving towards silencing that inner critic. At any rate, as I was thinking about all of it, I remembered this post that I wrote earlier this year. It was pretty popular on my old blog and I have a ton of new readers who may have missed it. So today I’m re-posting it for those of you who may have missed it, and for those of us who just need a good reminder. Because you know what? No one stands like this, and if you do you should find a chiropractor, stat.
Okay ladies, let’s talk weight…..
I know, I know, but don’t leave yet, just stick around for a bit, m’kay? (And guys, this post is not aimed at you, but it might be helpful for you to read and get inside the minds of the ladies in your life.)
I get it. I totally get it. We are surrounded by images of models and a trillion different ways that we do not measure up. I would LOVE for my tummy to be flatter, to achieve the *ahem* “thigh gap” that alluded me as soon as I graduated high school, for my skin to be clearer…and about ten shades tanner, and for my hair to do those big beautiful curls sported by the runway chicks. I have spent years, YEARS, watching other women around me and being envious of not having cool clothes like her, or not having a tighter backside like her, or not having super white teeth like her.
But frankly, I’m getting pretty tired of it. And I’m pretty sure, most of you are too. I’m pretty sure that I can say women today are tired of seeing all the ways they don’t measure up, making new year’s resolutions every year to try and fix all the ways they don’t measure up, and then giving up after a few weeks because the difference between us and them is just too much.
Yesterday, I was surfing Pinterest during my lunch break. Particularly, the health & fitness board of Pinterest. I’ve been going to the gym and getting back into running, so I like browsing through some of the motivational fitness stuff online to keep me excited about fitness. The more time I spend on that board, though, the more troubled I become. Why? Because so much of the pictures that are getting pinned by my friends are pictures of women that, quite frankly, are not truly healthy.
They are bone thin. A whisp of a woman. With impeccable make-up and designer clothing. With teeth that probably cost thousands to get that white, and not a single wrinkle in sight. Can I tell you a secret? We won’t ever make it to that.
This is not meant to discourage you, this is meant to set you free. Photoshop doesn’t work in real life. So why are we using Photo-shopped pictures of women who eat cotton balls soaked in orange juice as motivation for our weight loss journey. (That’s not sarcasm, look it up. These models go to extremes to be that thin.) I’m seeing pins of workouts supposedly used by Victoria Secret Models, and pictures of girls that are so tiny I can see their hip bones jutting out over their bikini bottoms. And this is what we are using for inspiration?
The insanity has got to stop.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t strive for healthiness. I’m not saying that wanting to be a little slimmer around the waistline is sinful. I’m all for some cutbacks in sugar consumption and more exercise for our country, where obesity and diabetes and heart disease runs rampant. But before we ever start any kind of weight loss journey or look for any kind of inspiration, we have got to realize one thing:
We are most beautiful when we are us.
No one has that same beautiful smile as you. No one has that same freckle pattern across her nose. You are uniquely you, and as much as the world screams at us to look a certain way, we should not listen. Being unique is special. It’s what makes us human. I can line up a herd of elephants and they will pretty much look exactly the same…..same color, same size, same facial structure. Sure, there might be a few small differences because of genetics, but they are basically the same. But humans? Line up all of the humans in your office and you will see a group of people who are all uniquely individual. There will be different eye color, skin color, body shape, facial structure, hair color….you get the point. God put a whole lot more creativity into the creation of humans than He did any other creature that walks this earth. Why? Because we are His most prized creation! He didn’t want a group of robots that had the exact same bone-thin body structure, bleach-white teeth, and wavy blonde hair! He wanted you. Beautiful, wonderful, unique, you.
Does He want us to be healthy? Of course! He wants us to enjoy the fullness of life, and He wants us to be good stewards over what He gave us. But the definition of “healthy” is not often found on Pinterest, and I don’t think it’s ever found on a Hollywood runway.
This year, I didn’t do a New Year’s Resolution, per se. Instead, I just decided that 2014 was going to be a year that I took on a healthier lifestyle. I decided that for once, I was just going to try to be a happier, healthier me. If I wind up a few pounds lighter at the end of the year, great. But if not, as long as I am feeling happier and healthier, I will consider this goal met.
What has this meant for me? Well, so far, it has meant that I’ve carved some time out to go running and go to the gym. Exercise helps tremendously with stress relief for me, so I’m feeling so much better. It is also essential that I keep my right leg strong now that I’ve had my knee surgery, and so far it is holding up really well! It’s also meant that I’ve stopped taking all fertility medications, because they were making me feel depressed and emotional. I’ve cut way back on Diet Cokes and have tried drinking more water. But I totally ate that chocolate covered donut on Saturday because I wanted to. I’m going back to the chiropractor because that doctor has some sort of crazy talent for making my back cooperate with the rest of my body. I’ve started reading books again and painting some crafty stuff. I slept in until 1:30 Saturday afternoon because I could. I read my Bible more, crank up my music in the car louder, and started “date night” again with Roman.
But I am unique, and my picture of healthy may look entirely different from yours. It may mean that you play with your kids a little longer in the backyard. It may mean that you go buy some new clothes to help you feel more confident in your own skin. It may mean that you stop eating sugar for a little white to get better control over your eating habits. I have no idea what being healthy will look like for you, and guess what? Neither does Pinterest. Or Hollywood. Or those magazines in the line at the grocery store? Why? Because they are not you. They are not living your life. They have no idea what your schedule looks like and what you have the time/strength/energy/schedule to do.
So sure, browse Pinterest for some motivational quotes. Follow some blogs that have some good exercise routines that fit your life. But don’t take it any farther than that. Don’t let these images of “perfection” cloud your mind and choke out who you are as a daughter of Christ.
Be you. Be unique. Because you are, in fact, beautiful.
PS: To any of the guys who stuck with me on this one….tell the wife/mother/sisters in your life that they are beautiful. It will mean the world to them.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” ~1 Peter 3: 3-4