Every Friday, I will be posting Random Rambles. Random Rambles will include just that, random ramblings that will be about anything that I’ve been mulling over. This Friday, I am rambling about: Body Image.
Body image…is a bitch. There is so much to those two little words! Both men and women deal with it. Both men and women can struggle with it. The struggle can even go in stages. And sadly, for some, that struggle is lifelong.
For as long as I can remember as an adult, I’ve struggled with body image. But looking back at these last couple years since I finally began seeing changes in my body through flexible dieting, I’ve realized that not only did my knowledge of optimal nutrition evolve, but so did my vision of an “ideal body type”. It’s gone from finding the thin Victoria’s Secret bikini models as the ideal to a strong woman that out lifts me such as Rita Benavidez – beautiful, strong. I’m not yet where I’d like to be – due to many health obstacles – but generally, my body has transformed…for the better.
But as you have it, us ladies (and men, too, sometimes) always find something to pick on, eh? We are our own worst critics. I still have insecurities today, but I was specially insecure and uncomfortable with what my body looked like during the last few years. I felt far too fluffy. But, even though I was fluffy during my Paleo years, I knew I had developed some muscle mass over time. And I knew that there was simply a fluffy layer over them. As funny and odd as that sounds, I could actually feel the muscles if I felt myself up, they just weren’t very visible to the naked eye thanks to the fluff, haha!
But as I began slowly leaning out after starting flexible dieting, I started to see those muscles become more defined, prominent and visible. People commented. People approached me about it. Fellow gym members would tell me I looked “ripped”. And it freaked me out a little…
I know…I KNOW. Strong is the new skinny. Strong is beautiful. I know all that. But, this was new to me, and I was not quite comfortable with it yet. Still not completely there, to be honest. And yes, I realize that society and mainstream media are mainly to blame for that.
When I’m naked, which is often when I’m home, and look at myself in the mirror, I see that my traps are far more defined. Quads pop out more when my legs are engaged. My arms and shoulders have more definition. In the back of my mind, I do still have that STUPID thought that this makes me less feminine. Less of a woman. Thanks for that, society.
I’ve been working on getting over all that. I enjoy the process of getting stronger and have for these past years. I love olympic weightlifting. I love CrossFit. I love challenging myself. Meeting and beating my own goals. I love that there is always a new goal to progress to. I love that I find a fitness regimen that I’m never bored with and look forward to doing. I love that I finally found a nutrition regimen that not only fits into my lifestyle but is actually working for me. So, if all of these things result in a leaner body with more visible muscles and I’m overall a stronger human that is capable of saving a loved one from a burning building if need be, then I know I will learn to ultimately appreciate and love it completely.
On this journey, it has helped to find a guy that appreciates my body and what it can do. He not only appreciates my body but respects the time I dedicate to it, because he, too, is dedicated. We may have different reasons for what we do what we do in the gym, but can’t deny that we’re both dedicated. So, if getting used to looking more like this…
…is what I need to do, I’m okay with working on that. I very much want to be ecstatic when someone says, “Wow! Your arms!” or “You look so strong!” or “Beast!” or “You’re so jacked!” I still get uncomfortable and in my mind it still translates to, “You look bulky”. Specially when it comes out of the mouth of someone who doesn’t also lift. And I hate that that is where my mind goes. But slowly, I am learning to appreciate the body I am building.
I know I’m not alone here. But thought I’d ramble about it anyhow. Ultimately, this should root back to adults being an example for our future. Children listen far more than people think. When you’re out loud saying you hate your body, that you’re fat, or that you need to starve yourself to lose weight, kids are listening and they think adults are right. Be mindful of this.