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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

My perfect body.

I started writing a few months ago about this same topic but with a very different mindset. I had titled it “Ugh!!! The sag!”

Here’s how it started….

I caught myself in a trap this week. The trap of criticism and regret. And I know, I’m supposed to be this annoying healthy person and have it all together. But y’all, I’m human too. Over the last few months, I’ve been working to get back to a healthy weight. And I’ve been killing it. We hear often, 5 lbs. you feel better. 10 lbs. you start to look better. 20 lbs. other people start to notice. Well, I’m over the 20 lb. mark and yes other people have commented. All of them incredibly positive! But the one person that I’m doing this for is me, and me is a little disappointed. And I’m annoyed at myself for feeling this way.

It's the sag. I hate the sag. The goal is to get to a healthy weight for health reasons. And for performance reasons in the gym and in my running. But when I take account of my appearance the self-consciousness kicks in. I’m about to get raw here for a minute, so if you’re not into the over-share…. This may not be the post for you to read. But here I go.

3 years ago, when I got to my healthiest weight, where I felt my best, I had one major criticism. Saggy skin and fat pockets that I just couldn’t get rid of. My belly is just one big mass of skin, my boobs looked like tube socks with tennis balls inside, my back sagged, and my thighs had all the looseness and cellulite. And let’s not even talk about the sag on the back of my arms. All of it bothered me. Daily. I hated being naked. And I did a helluva lot of mind work to flip that script around. I posted about real bodies all the time on social media. I focused on the things I loved about my body. All the things. But knowing I had plans to head to the plastic surgeon once I’d kept my weight off for a year and could afford the vacation time to get it done.

Then we had a blip, and when I gained some weight back, I wasn’t all that unhappy because my boobs looked better, and my skin wasn’t as saggy. This is real life in my head y’all.

I may have liked how I looked a little better, but I didn’t like how I felt. So, I then I kicked my rear in high gear to lose the weight again.

And I’m being reminded of how much I hate the sag.

I remember as I wrote it, I was treating this as a journal to get my frustrations out and somehow get over myself. I recognized my humanity and that while I was working on my mindset my self-talk needed a bit of a boost. Isn’t it weird how we can be all, “I’m awesome and I’m working on me and I’m so grateful” one second and then look in the mirror and go “Ugh”. That’s where I’ve been. It’s a roller coaster of affirmations and self-criticism. We would never speak to our friends or even strangers in the same way that we speak to ourselves. Why would we ever hold ourselves to such high standards and celebrate other people and admire them for doing hard work all the while not looking like a 20-something fitness model. It’s just unrealistic to think that at 44 I can look like that without medical intervention. Can I improve, yes, but y’all … let’s get real… I can do a lot to transform my body, but I still can’t turn back the clock.

Something happened this last week. I found myself focusing less on how it looked and more on how it felt. It all started when I went on vacation to Mexico a few weeks ago. The toughest part of packing was probably picking what type of swimsuit I planned to wear. I threw in bikinis with high waisted bottoms, low waisted bottoms, and super cheeky bottoms. I also threw in some one pieces. All because who knew what kind of mood I’d be in or how confident I’d feel. As I observed my own thought process, I realized that I wasn’t even worried about confidence. I was more worried about comfort (and tan lines). And as I looked out and observed all the others on the beach, I saw other people having a great time. Old me would have had some sort of thought like “Wow, she’s brave to wear that.” or “I could never wear something like that”. And I don’t know if it’s age or life experience, but I have become way less worried about what other people think of how I dress. I found myself that week just happy to be on vacation with people I love. Enjoying a less stressful pace. And not stressing about people looking at my saggy skin or stretch marks.

Fast-forward to this last week. I have a friend who posted something on her social media that just got me wound up. She has been posting all the fun things going on with her kids since the summer started and a good bit has been in the pool or something including water and Miss Priss was in her cute bikini every time. And someone commented that maybe she might be a little too old to be wearing a two-piece. You can only imagine how twisted up my face got when I read that. “What the heck does age have to do with anything?” I thought. And I did what any normal person would do… I retaliated back on social media and posted all the recent bikini pictures I could find. But it’s not about me in a bikini, because what the heck does age have to do with it? For real. And what if I feel most comfortable in a full length mumu at the beach? What if I feel most comfortable wearing a thong? What if….. well really who cares?

So back to the sag.

The sag is a real thing. It’s humanity. We carry babies and stretch out our skin and things may never go back to the state they were in. Not a bad thing. Just is. Tremendous weight gain also stretches our skin and then when we lose the weight there are still things that hang there. Not a bad thing. Just is. There are so many other things that can stretch skin our, or even create things on our bodies that we don’t particularly prefer. But guess what? Our bodies are perfect anyway. Our bodies are priceless. Because they are capable of so much! If we treat it well it does wonderful things. So no matter what it looks like, it’s mine. And I love it. I may prefer to show it in pictures where the angles are ideal, but it doesn’t mean I love it less when that view isn’t 100% reality all the time. I find myself at times (because I’m human and still working on me) looking at myself in the mirror and fretting at my stomach, or thighs, or upper arms. But then if I focus out and look at the whole picture, I see the other parts of me that I miss because I focus so much on the things that bother me. And when I look at the whole thing, I realize how perfect I am. Not because I’ve got a perfectly toned any symmetrical physique. Because I’m me. A woman. A mom. A wife. A boss. A person.

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