In one of my previous blogs I mentioned that in my opinion food determines your personal health and how you feel on a daily basis. And the same applies to exercise or sports. So why did it take me years, or to be more accurate, decades to actually start exercising?
Swan with elephant legs
The female body can be described in many ways and there are even some pre-described body shapes; like straight, apple, pear. These descriptions try to refrain of judgement whatsoever. But my mind is not judge-free at all. I have many judgements and thoughts about my body, my appearance, my looks throughout the day. And one specific frame about myself was of ‘the Swan with elephant legs’. I don’t think that needs any additional words. At that time I was very happy with my face and upper-body and despised everything below the belt.
I let myself being calmed down
Most of the time, when I mention my own judgement, people around me try to calm and/or comfort me. ‘Honey, you look great, I don’t see the problem!’ And for a long time I let myself being calmed down, because that is much easier, than taking full responsibility. But if you know the female body-shapes, you know as well that each of them come with a specific ‘dress advice’. That’s merely too hide your weak spots and still pretend to look and feel good. And in the end I still felt miserable about my body and it’s shape, although the feeling was pushed away to the background. And that always kept on nagging.
So for example: I still hated shopping, especially pants/jeans or skirts, because 95% didn’t look good on me. And in the rare occasion I found one that did fit my body, I immediately bought 3-5 pieces. So I could avoid this horrific shopping-exercise for a long time. Another thing: I made sure I was the one taking pictures on occasions or avoided any other photographer. I never wore skirts or dresses above the knee, it just didn’t feel comfortable at all. And in summer only at the beach I would wear shorts, despite the heat.
I started gaining weight as a teenager, due to eating too much chips, pastechi’s (I lived at Curacao at that time and just couldn’t resist these delicious snacks) and drinking way too much Coca Cola. At first I was happy with my new roundings, the childish shape disappeared. Later on I preferred believing my own calming thoughts or the calming phrases of others:
- I think you have a heavy bone structure (keep in mind: as a child I was told just the opposite)
- This is your body shape; nothing you can do about it
- I don’t mind, my upper-body stills looks good
- I’m not the dress-type of girl
- I hate exercise, especially leg or but related stuff
- I gave birth to 2 children
- and many more….
What changed my mind?
Two years back I was invited for an evening-event and I had to wear a dress. A good friend lent me one of her dresses. It was a little black dress worn above the knees and I just couldn’t stand seeing myself in it. Again, I was told that I looked great, but I didn’t feel it and this time I didn’t allow myself to be calmed down. I allowed the opposite, I allowed myself to actually feel all the grief, discomfort, shame and disgust I had for my legs and bottom. 25-years of unfelt grief came to the surface. And the only thing I did was feel and accept my feelings.
For that specific night-event I again bought a dress, which would cover my legs. Luckily, I realized I wouldn’t suddenly feel comfortable about my lower-body, after a long cry. And I didn’t see any reason in torturing myself and feel uncomfortable an entire evening, just to make a point. But that week I took the first step in taking action, it was the first step towards exercising. There was awareness and there was pain. And pain is the gate to (personal) growth.
Time to exercise
From that moment on next to walking long distances, I started running and later on even strength training to have new incentives for the muscles in my legs, thighs and but. I had neglected and ingnored these body parts for such a long time, I didn’t even consider these as part of my body anymore. So accepting my entire body and taking full responsibility for it again was something I could and wanted to change. Being 40 and a bit I realized a huge part of me still wants to be a ‘hot chick’ (in Dutch: ‘lekker wijf’), and I don’t want to hide myself anymore in cloth designed for a specific body shape. It was time to exercise and that’s exactly what I did!
PS To motivate myself I bought multiple sport outfits to wear in due time, with the aim to look good and feel great wearing it. What are your incentives?