My curves have returned.
I’ve gone from a size 4/6, to a 6/8. My body fat percentage is no longer 18%, but more like a healthy 22 or 23%. My muscle definition has softened.
These changes have mostly been brought on because I’ve eschewed formal exercise (for the time being) & embraced the activity that is a natural part of my day to day. Things like walking the kids to school, housework, & chasing after 2 year old who doesn’t stop moving unless I’m reading her a book or she’s asleep.
More than that, though, since I believe your weight is more a reflection of your diet rather than your exercise (as you can easily eat your way out of any calorie deficits incurred from physical activity), is that I’ve relaxed my approach to food.
Lest you worry, I’m still sticking with my plant-based, vegan inclinations (of course!).
The change however, is that I’ve tried really hard (& it has been difficult), to resist the diet-mentality that I’ve been living for the past 7 years or so (minus the time when I was pregnant). Since last summer I’ve tried to eat foods that sound good, to eat what I want, when I feel like my body needs food. To allow myself to gain weight, & be okay with that.
In short, I’m trying to honor my hunger & respect when I’m full. To eat rich foods & not feel guilty. To enjoy waffles & muffins, cookies & my favorite peanut coconut sauce on rice & vegetables. To eat peanut butter bananas & not feel bad that I’m eating “fat.”
I have to say, I’m disgusted at our culture’s cockeyed notions of what a woman “should” look like. Do you have any idea how models are able to get that rail-thin look–no hips, gaunt face, all sharp angles & bones? They don’t eat, they overexercise. It’s not normal, it’s not healthy. Recently The NY Times featured an article about it: “Getting Models Into Fighting Shape.”
If you wonder how those Victoria Secret models look the way they do, even after having babies, realize, that many of them, like Adriana Lima, make dieting & exercise their life. According to the article, her trainer had her working out 6 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5 weeks in order to prepare herself for the Victoria Secret fashion show.
Other models are open about the fact that they have to go to extreme measures to melt away any sign of hips or a butt (ie. any sign of being a woman). One model is quoted as saying: “It’s not exactly a woman’s shape, but it is high fashion.”
Crazy that any woman would compare herself to these women who stop at nothing to achieve the type of body that is so counter to our body’s natural shape. Crazy, yet, we do it. We hate our curves, we wish we were thinner. Why, why?
I don’t know. Except I do. Because I’m a woman & I’ve been guilty as anyone of this. In the past 6 months or so, I’ve been quietly working on changing my mindset. Striving to realize that my value as a woman, as a person, does not have anything to do with the shape of my body, or the size of my jeans. It’s hard to fight against this though, in our culture, where we’re sold this idea that a woman’s power or strength at least in part, is derived from the shape & size of her body.
One thing that has surprised me in all of this, is how positively Joseph has responded to me filling in my curves. At times I have been self-conscious. Parts of my body that were once firm & defined are softer, more curvy. But Joseph has reassured me that this is a *good* thing. Men like curves. So why are we so intent on shaming our hips & thighs?
For the most part, I feel better in my skin that I ever have before.
It is liberating to eat intuitively, to shed the shackles of the dieting/restrictive eating mentality.
But, if I’m being honest, I must admit that I have to work on this every day. Every day is a battle–do I listen to the mixed messages of media & culture who have such distorted views on body image? Or do I listen to my body & eat good, nourishing food & enjoy the miracle & beauty of having a healthy, beautiful body?
Have you, like me, struggled with not only being okay with, but loving your body? I’m not talking narcissistic self-love, but rather, an appreciation for your God-given curves & shape. I’d love to hear anything you have to say.