Have you ever walked down a sidewalk, and really noticed your shadow? Sometimes at the right time of day my shadow is long legged, small waisted. You know, that slightly stretched out shadow. The slightly stretched version of yourself. Most times when I notice that shadow I think “if only I really looked like that”.
Most times I feel like that shorter wider shadow. Frumpy, self conscious of my weight. The problem is when I reflect back, I have been conscious of my weight since I was about nine. I went from competing with my cousins, I’m taller, stronger, weigh more than you. In a hurry to grow into an adult size. But at about nine it was a pair of volleyball shorts that introduced me to the question of “bigger is not better?” Suddenly realizing something might be wrong with the way I look. Sadly, I’m not alone. Most girls I knew growing up, and many women I know now struggle with their body image. How completely unhealthy is this? For little girls to have these thoughts, living with them the rest of their life?
I am not sure what the answer is. I preach to others to live a healthy and active lifestyle, and not to obsess about their weight, shape, and appearance. To love themself as they are. But how do we tell ourselves that? I myself have been struggling to lose an extra 10 to 15 pounds. I have all the tools I need to lose them. The problem is, as much as I would like to lose that weight, I am happy with my current lifestyle. I am active nearly daily. I eat healthy most days of the week. I really don’t want to give up the weekend cookouts, home made nachos, Sunday desserts, stopping at our local brewery for dinner and craft beer on a Friday night. I’m very happy with that part of my life. My family is social, we love our local restaurants, craft beer, and a nice bottle of wine. The real question is, do I really care about that fifteen pounds when I weigh it against giving up living a lifestyle that makes me and my family happy?
I think instead of obsessing about those 15 pounds, I need to learn how to be happy as I am. For now I will be working on embracing the shadow I haven’t mentioned. The one that is sometimes reflected out to the side, when the sun is high. The one that reflects my true self, the one I don’t often recognize, or pay attention to. It’s time to embrace healthier thoughts, and pass those good habits on to our little ones. Lets stop another generation from being body conscious at the age of nine.
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