One of my friends posted a bikini picture on Facebook today. It isn’t your ordinary picture, either. You see, she posted this picture because she’s struggled with her weight after having her son almost five years ago. A lot of men don’t understand what the problem is and why women can’t return to their pre-pregnancy weight, but women know the struggle. Your body truly changes when you carry another human being for nine months. It’s worth it and more though, but the struggle is real.
Along with her picture, my friend posted a very liberating status. She’s been working out, but she realized that she will never be skinny. She posted the picture anyway because she’s proud of the results she’s seen thus far and plans to stick with her workout routine to be the strongest, healthiest version of herself.
I can completely relate to her!
The below is what I commented back after seeing her post:
I’m actually glad you posted this – picture and your words. Why? Because we are all so critical and hard on ourselves. This past weekend when we were in Florida, I wore a two piece bathing suit – something I have not done in many years. I have never felt comfortable in one, even being “petite” as some people have called me. I worried over my stomach, although I do not have stretch marks from having my babies. It just wasn’t a six pack no matter how much I tried working out. I worried over my inner thighs. Believe me, I have done squats, jumping jacks, etc etc etc to try to trim them down. Finally I said you know what, I’ll be 45 this year, why NOT wear that two piece? Why be so critical of myself and shy away from form fitting clothing or two piece suits … so I wore it. I posted pictures, too, although I’m pretty sure others judged me because you’re not supposed to reveal so much skin and are to be modest. I was with my husband and my daughters, and I wanted to send a message to them, too. Love your bodies and stop shaming yourselves! Do the best that you can, work hard, and hold your head up high! I’m glad you’ve done the same.
She was so kind when she responded back and complimented me on my appearance in the bikini and showed so much support.
What if we all stopped playing the shame game?
What happens when we start shaming ourselves? We feel just awful about ourselves. Do you think God wants this for you? No, He doesn’t! Instead, what if we started all appreciating the bodies that God gave us? Our bodies are His temples, and it is our job to take good care of them.
If you’re working hard, giving it your all trying to get in shape, then I applaud you! Keep up the good work!
If you’re just getting started working on the healthier version of yourself, I have faith that you CAN do this!
Where ever you are, even if you are just thinking you need a change and might be examining your eating habits and considering implementing a workout routine – do it!
It’s not too late. You’re not too old. You’re not too out of shape for it to help. You aren’t any negative thing that could possibly come into your mind.
You can do anything you set your mind to!
This is me from this past weekend – the one in the middle with the hair tossed around, thrown up in a bun in the back, with the pink bikini top and black bikini bottoms. Me. The one that will be 45 years old in September. Me. The one that struggled to feel comfortable in her own skin for years even though people complimented me in the past on my figure. Me. The one that had a muffin top over her favorite jeans last year when getting together with one out-of-state friend and another out-of-country friend. Me. The one that decided to make a change in 2016! Me. The one that is embracing herself!
Today I can say that I love the skin I’m in!
Is my body perfect? Heck no! It’s far from it, actually. I know I’ll never be a stick figure super model, and that’s okay! I can be the best version of myself, though, and I can continue to work hard to encourage my children so they will stop doing the self shaming that we’ve ALL become too good at!
God formed you and I … and He does not make mistakes. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. That’s in a bible verse. I like to also say that we’re beautifully and wonderfully made. I truly believe that!
What have I done differently so I could proudly wear my bathing suits in Florida this past weekend?
First off, I started working out. I joined this free program, and I did really well working out six days a week … up until the third week. I started falling off the wagon. BUT, I was seeing results, so although I wasn’t necessarily doing “their” workouts, I started finding opportunities to incorporate some exercise into my day. Squats became my friend, and you could find me doing squats while cooking dinner, waiting on the final spin cycle on my washing machine, etc. Also, I love weights! While I am not one that lifts hundreds of pounds, I do enjoy hand weights while exercising. I started with three pound weights, then went up to five pound weights, and now I am proud to say that I am using eight pound weights without struggling! I can do lots of reps with these eight pound weights, and it feels GOOD! As I progress, I’ll increase the weights a little more. For now, though, I’m loving right where I am! I am stronger than when I first started, and I love the definition I’m beginning to see in my arms. I’m also swimming and using the pool for more workout opportunities – like doing jumping jacks, knee lifts, and running in place in the water so it’s low impact on my knees and other joints. I also go to the pool steps, turn around, and work my triceps by going up and down in the water lifting my body with my arms, hands planted firmly on the steps. Any opportunity I find, I use it!
Secondly, I changed the way I was eating. I used to think that as long as I was working out and getting some form of exercise that I could eat whatever I wanted. This is soooo not the case! I tried Weight Watchers, as I had great success with them many years ago even when I only wanted to lose 10 pounds. I was able to do so at that time. When you get a little older, your metabolism starts to change making it harder to lose weight! I thought for sure that I’d lose weight on Weight Watchers this time, too. However, they have changed their program, and it did not work that great for me this time around. I have since switched up and went back to the Adkins way with protein and vegetables. I have seen more results this way. I’m not advocating for either Weight Watchers nor Adkins, though. You do what is best for you and what works for your body! Once you start experimenting, it won’t take long for you to know what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learned recently that it’s actually 80 percent what you eat and 20 percent about exercise. Now isn’t that interesting! And we all know that our bodies need water – we’re supposed to drink half our body weight in ounces each day. It sounds like a lot, but it is something you can incorporate into your day. I have a jug that I fill up in the mornings and sip on throughout the day. I’ve been picked on about my jug, but it insures that I get my water in!
I had people approach me on diet supplements – pills and even drops. I decided not to go that route, though. There’s just something about it that I did not like.
But today, I can slip into a two piece bathing suit without cringing and feeling as if everyone around me – including myself – will judge me!
The third thing that I’ve changed is my attitude!! I’m no longer shaming myself. Even if I have a weak moment and give in to pimento cheese dip and corn chips, I will redeem myself by making better food choices the next time I reach for something! I will no longer play the shame game, and I will not allow anyone else to force their opinions upon me either. I love the body that God has given me and my petite frame! I will appreciate that God still has me on this earth and has blessed me with another day with my family. My girls are my entire life, and I thank God for every moment that He allows me to have with them. And, I will strive to lead by example – so they will no longer shame themselves either. All it takes is one person in a sea of thousands to say one negative thing about us, and it’s embedded in our minds and stings our hearts forever. We need to take back the power that these negative people have had over us all this time and realize that those lies these people have told us have come straight from the devil.
Kick the habit of downing yourself and allowing others to take you down with their hateful or snide remarks also.
Show yourself some love!
This is me – loving the skin I’m in and being proud of the body God gave me!
The shame game ends right here, right now!