How I'm Learning to Love My 35-Year-Old Body

I originally wrote on this topic a year ago, but sometimes you have to re-preach the truth to yourself. So, this is my version of doing just that. I can't point to an event or conversation that triggered the internal battle, but something did, and boy has it been intense recently. One day I caught myself thinking, "If somebody else said these things to me out loud, I would be so offended." Oh, and let's not even think about the mamma-fury that would unleash if anyone spoke to my girls that way. So why in the world was my own internal Noisy Roommate given such freedom to say such ridiculous things?

Turns out I’ve made a lot of room for negativity when it comes to body image. In fact, I’ve been trying to “fix” myself for about as long as I can remember. Always just 6 months away from a smaller size. Just one more diet away from a me I’ll like. Friends, I’m 35 years old and I think it’s time I just get comfortable with me. Yes, I want to keep exercising. Yes, I want to eat well.

But I need to be OK if being healthy doesn’t equal skinny.

I haven’t been "thin" a day in my life, and I think I need to learn to be OK with that because a number or a size will never be powerful enough to define me.

Immovable-23.jpg

This photo promptly landed itself in the "never share publicly" category because of that extra roll of flesh hanging over my pants in the front (that you may not have even noticed until I pointed it out). This moment should have been full of JOY (ummm...it was a photo shoot for MY BOOK), but when I looked at this photo, everything was clouded by: insecurity, feeling fat, wanting to hide in my clothes.

Ladies, why do we pick ourselves apart? We are better than this. 

This body of mine has birthed two babies and weathered many storms, but instead of being thankful for it, I think I’ve been mad at my body for quite some time. I know that sounds strange, but hear me out. I’ve felt like my body has been working against me instead of for me for years. I developed severe thyroid disease at age 18, and it’s been an uphill battle ever since. Two summers ago, I had a gigantic flare up that brought anxiety attacks, depression, back pain, memory loss, and indescribable fatigue. My hair started falling out fast, I gained 10 pounds, and I felt like I was going crazy. An additional diagnosis of Hashimoto’s really brought some clarity and some new direction toward regaining my health, so I’ve spent the last 24 months pursuing stability in my health.

I’m so much better. In fact, I hardly recognize the person from 24 months ago. I’m not 100%, but let me tell you, we’ve sure covered a lot of ground. I recently confessed (again) to one of my closest friends that it’s time to rewrite these negative messages in my heart and mind - for my sake, and for my daughters. Honestly, the stakes couldn't be higher. I want them to grow up with a mother who is fully confident in who God made her and how He made her. I want to believe the truth about myself, free from unnecessary baggage and hindrances, and I certainly want them to believe the truth about themselves.

Here's what I'm working on:

  • I want to value myself - not only my heart, mind, and soul, but my body too (all of it - as it is).
  • I want to say I value health more than appearance and actually mean it.
  • I want to stop avoiding mirrors.
  • I want to enjoy shopping.

These little conversations with the Lord happened at the perfect time.

 This is at my friend Michelle's rehearsal dinner - you can't see the whole dress but there are bicycles AND pockets!

This is at my friend Michelle's rehearsal dinner - you can't see the whole dress but there are bicycles AND pockets!

A friend recently gave me two adorable dresses. (You can see the "bicycle dress" on the right.) I haven't been a "dress girl" in a while - for all the silly reasons you can imagine. In the spirit of changing my internal dialogue, I've worn them multiple times over the last few weeks, and I've just had a ball! I've twirled with my girls and practiced my curtsey like I was 7-years old again. 

This post feels about as real and vulnerable as they come. Why share? Well, I think it’s because I wholeheartedly believe you can relate someway, somehow. Maybe you need to enjoy a shopping trip for the first time in a long time. Maybe you’re trudging through a thyroid disease diagnosis and just need to know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you need to punch your internal Noisy Roommate in the mouth. Maybe your struggle is completely different than mine, but whatever the struggle, it’s high time we identify those negative internal messages and rewrite them. Agreed?

Wherever you are, whatever the challenge, the journey is always better when it’s shared.

Here’s to love, to truth, to health, and to freedom!

I'd love to hear your thoughts - please comment below! What message are you ready to re-write in your heart and mind?