I’m currently in the middle of an amazing holiday in Queensland, Australia. We’ve been having a fantastic time in a truly beautiful part of the world. One of the things I really enjoy about getting away from it all is the time that it gives you to relax, unwind and think. Since we’ve been away I’ve been reflecting on how things have changed for me in the last few years and I thought I’d share some of those thoughts with you.
The first post in this mini-series is all about body confidence. Inspired in part by the recent #weloveourbodies challenge by Sophie from Fitology on Instagram and this post by my online PT Julia.
I realised the other day while wandering along a beach that this holiday is the first time that I’ve felt confident wearing shorts shorts in public. What’s interesting to me is that my legs don’t look that much different to a year or so ago – I’ve lost a couple of inches off them perhaps. Yet how I feel about getting them out in public has clearly changed more dramatically.
My legs aren’t perfect by any means but they are part of my body that I’m pretty happy with from an aesthetic perspective. Yes there’s still some fat that I’d like to lose from them and I wish they didn’t wobble about quite so much, but these days when I look at my legs I can see beyond that. I see legs that are strong, legs that have carried me through two marathons and can squat the equivalent of my body weight. Legs that deserve to feel the sun on them, not be covered up all the time!
It’s not just how I feel about my body that’s changed, how I talk about my body has also changed. We went jet skiing a few days ago and were kitted out in wetsuits and life jackets. The woman gave me a medium life jacket to begin with but it was pretty tight and so suggested that I try a large.
In years gone by I would have felt embarrassed about having to have something ‘big’ and mentally called myself ‘fat’, but my reaction this time was to shrug and say “yeah, I’m pretty broad across the shoulders, large sounds about right”.
The fact is my shoulders ARE broad, it’s the way I’m built – what’s to be embarrassed about? Those shoulders are strong and can lift our fully packed cases overhead, if that were to be necessary. For me, that’s not something to be ashamed of – far from it!
So what has enabled this change? It is of course partly because I have made some physical and aesthetic changes to my body in the last couple of years – there’s no denying that. But along the way I’ve come to appreciate just what my body is capable of and I’ve loved watching and feeling how my body has adapted and changed with the different training pressures I’ve put on it. I’ve also been fascinated to see how it has responded to various dietary changes that I’ve made.
My body may not look exactly how I’d ideally like it to yet, perhaps it never will, but it’s the only body I’ve got. Rather than feeling down about the fact that I’ve got excess fat on my belly or that my broad shoulders mean that I might never fit into a size 10 dress, I think I’ve realised that life is a whole lot more fun and pleasant if you appreciate what you’ve got while you’re working towards what you want. And that realisation is really rather liberating.
I think my legs are quite pleased too. They like the sun.