Since I can remember I always wanted the “perfect body”! When I was a teenager I wanted to look like the super models. I always was on a diet and for about two years I exercised pretty much every night for an hour in my room. If I couldn’t exercise for some reason I would feel really guilty. It was an unhealthy obsession. I can also remember being on a ‘just bread diet’ or ‘just apples diet’ and so were other girls in my year, I wasn’t alone! With my knowledge now, I think it’s just crazy and I can’t even believe that I tried something like that. I cut out so many necessary nutrients from my diet!
Then, when I started working in the fitness industry it was all about the abs and the fitness models. So again I went to the other extreme, working out a lot and doing hundreds crunches every day.
But who defines what the “perfect body” means? When you think about that “perfect body” is it what you want to look like or is it what the media presents as the “perfect body”? And when you get lean and have that six-pack and look great; is this really going to make you happy? Will the lifestyle you have to live to get there make you happy? Not necessarily.
After completing my Cert 3 and 4 in Fitness I got quite lean. I worked at a gym where they preached a low carb diet and for about a month I lived mainly on broccoli and canned salmon (I couldn’t eat broccoli for years after that LOL). I trained almost every day and even though I was lean, I still didn’t feel like my body was perfect. My husband didn’t like me being that lean either. I remember being on holiday and when at the end of our stay I mentioned I had put on weight, he actually said “good, as you were too skinny”! For him the “perfect body” doesn’t mean lean or skinny! And this is my point, “perfect” will mean something different to every one of us so you have to define what the “perfect body” means to you and how far you would go to achieve it. Are you able to give up your wine, chocolates and more or not?
I think motherhood and my “injury” (prolapse) taught me to appreciate my body and what I have. I don’t diet anymore. I eat more than I ever have. I know what works for my body now BUT it took me years to get here. I have to say that in terms of nutrition I did quite well post birth. I used that time as a reset button and started from scratch with no fad diets. I ate real food to fuel my body and made sure I ate enough calories. Yes, I didn’t cut calories post birth, I ate enough to keep my metabolism working properly (this is especially important if you are breastfeeding). I recorded my food in the “My Fitness Pal” app for a while to ensure I ate enough. With my activity level I needed to eat close to 2000 calories a day (or even more) which was more than I was used to. I’m not alone, there are too many women out there who don’t eat enough and often this is the reason they cannot lose weight. Especially if you want to build muscles and “get that toned body” – you need to eat! If you are starving your body you won’t be able to build muscle.
My journey with prolapse has made me appreciate my body and what it can do. I still like to work out hard however it’s not always a “no pain no gain” mentality anymore. I workout because I enjoy it and I want to keep my body healthy, strong and functional. I want to be able to lift my toddler, run after him or carry my own shopping. Looking fit is just a great by product ;). I don’t care about the six-pack anymore as having great abs does not mean your body is functional. I had fantastic abs 4 months post birth but my body didn’t function properly.
Saying all that, I am still a women and I have my moments when I feel “fat” or guilty because I didn’t work out or my arms don’t look as toned as I would like them to. On these days I really have to focus to take myself out of that state. I don’t want to spend my life worrying about how I look or how others think I should look. I work out and I eat healthy but I also enjoy wine, chocolate and cheese (not on daily basis though). I like to go out for a nice meal with my husband. Not that we do this very often since having a child but when we do I don’t want to be worrying about having that amazing dessert or extra glass of wine.
Try to find a balance in your life, exercising and eating healthy are important but if you are obsessing about it, to have that ‘perfect body’; that is NOT healthy!