Why I'm Learning to Love My 34-Year-Old Body

Until Saturday, I really hadn’t shopped for clothes since before Ella was born. She’ll be 3 in February so it’s obviously been a while. Sure, I’ve picked up a few things here and there, especially from Refresh (TTLM’s social enterprise - we are all in the same building so it’s a no brainer), but no jeans, no slacks, no new pants to speak of, and very few tops for around 3 years. Highly unusual for someone who really loves to shop, and I do mean LOVES to shop.

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Mom and I put Saturday’s shopping trip on the calendar several weeks ago because I have a very special event to attend (and I recently wore holes in the thighs of 3 pairs of jeans), but I felt myself growing more and more anxious as the day approached. I’ve been in a self-reflective mood lately, so I took some time to dig deep, to pray, and to listen to see if I could figure out why I was dreading this so much.

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 34 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.

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. Last summer, 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 14 months trying to get my life back.

And I’m so much better. In fact, I hardly recognize the person from 14 months ago. I’m not 100%, but let me tell you, we’ve sure covered a lot of ground. I confessed to one of my closest friends on Friday 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.

Enough is enough. Moving forward...

  • 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.

Saturday’s shopping trip was so ridiculously fun! As in really, really fun! I absolutely cannot remember the last time I enjoyed shopping so much. Mom and I belly laughed and spent hours trying on fun clothes. I found stores with clothes that actually fit my 34-year-old, two-babies-later, Hashimoto’s-body and just went all out! (Goodbye low-rise jeans and stores of my youth! It was real!)

I'm sure you're aware this topic isn’t in my usual scope of blogging, but for whatever reason, I just felt compelled to share. 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 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?