It was Labor Day and I had just posted a workout in my bikini by the pool. Feeling good. Kinda... sorta... and then those familiar thoughts raced into my head. "Do I look good enough to post myself in a bikini? Is anyone going to judge me? Is anything too wrinkly? Anything hanging out of my bathing suit? Am I too old?" Please... make... it... stop!
The truth is, if all is going well, we are living longer and staying fitter into our 40s, 50s and beyond. But if we are not careful, the same insecurities that plagued us when we were in our 20s and 30s just grow stronger.
With all my insecurities, why do I make myself vulnerable and post workouts in a bikini? Good question.
If you are a fitness enthusiast or are a trainer, you know that this industry is filled with those in their 20s and 30s. And that makes sense because we like to look at those who are really fit to help motivate us and to give us hope. I know that I gain a ton of inspiration from them.
However, I have to recognize that they have something that I don't have, which is the perks of having a younger body:
- Quicker recover time from workouts
- Tighter skin
- Ability to digest food better
These are some of the things that come to mind, but they are huge!
I'm going to speak from personal experience here because in the last three years, I've noticed some changes in my body that have humbled me.
- Recovery time is much, much slower
- I've had to remove some exercises from my repertoire because my joints don't like them
- I have loose skin from two pregnancies and natural aging
- Not only that, my skin texture is changing (I recently noticed my neck... I'm not ready to talk about that just yet)
- I cannot eat some of the foods I used to enjoy because of indigestion and heart burn
With this in mind, I realized that even though I can still mostly keep up physically with the younger folks, I need to adjust not only my workouts but my expectations of how my body will respond and look. Yes, working out, eating well and being on the leaner side will help you look and feel younger. I am totally on board with that. What I'm talking about is the natural aging process that happens to every person regardless of their perfect training program and clean diet.
And this is why I post. I want to represent those of us in our 40s and beyond who are trying their best every day to move and to eat well but to give you a glimpse into how a body changes as the years pass. Instead of comparing ourselves to those who are younger, or to your younger self (anyone else have a picture you keep referring back to?), how about if we kept moving forward to be the best version we can possibly be at this moment?
I've wasted so many hours looking back and wishing for my younger body. And as my sweet husband reminds me, I miss out on what's going on right now, with those standing right in front of me whenever I am not in the present. How right he is.
Recently, I made a decision on what kind of a lifestyle I want to live for the second half of my life. I choose FREEDOM. Freedom from a strict training schedule that does not flow with my life, freedom from an eating plan that makes me miserable, freedom from not being grateful for the healthy body I have right now. If you feel anxious about missing a workout or two (two days in a row - like that was death for me in the past), eating a piece of cake that wasn't in your eating plan, grumbling about the muffin top you have right now... before you get deeper into this never ending cycle of wanting, needing more, please stop and look around. Don't miss out on the little and big things in life to weight a little less. Show up for someone who needs you... even if it means you may have to skip a workout. It's worth it. I promise. If your kid bakes (like mine does... all the time), have a piece of cake and celebrate her creation without feeling guilty. This is life. Life is messy. Life is awesome. Life is RIGHT NOW.
Just know that I struggle with this even today, but I am happy to report that when I catch my negative thoughts arising and I don't give it an audience, the voice gets easier to let go and for me to move forward. I know that everyone has that power. It takes work like anything else in life but it's satisfying work because the outcome is peace and joy. So yeah, I live with a higher body fat percentage today. I'm okay with that. I haven't thrown in the towel on staying strong, fit and lean and eating as well as I can. I will always do all I can to look and feel my best. And as my body ages and it naturally becomes... different, I will step up and accept it.
If you want to hear a podcast on this, my dear friend, Jennifer Martinez and I just started a weekly podcast and we call it #SwoulSisters (catchy name, eh?). We talk about all things we face in life... raising kids, body image, helping others, faith, fitness, etc. Currently, our episodes are on her podcast called "Life with JMar." We are building a community of women who want to live their best lives by lifting each other up! We would love for you to join us so that we can move in the right direction together. Click HERE to go to the podcast.
Thank you so much for reading. Please feel free to comment, email, or DM me on Instagram... I can be reached pretty easily. :)
Have an awesome day.