When I entered the women’s locker room after finishing my workout at the gym, I heard a conversation between two women who have been regulars since January; it’s now Feb 24th. The one woman was just furious and frustrated at her lack of weight loss, and her friend was making suggestions.
Try weighing yourself first thing in the morning. “I do.”
Are you on your period? “No!”
Then the woman stormed out. My heart broke for her. I’ve been there.
In fact, I bet most women reading this article have had a similar experience. Statistics vary, but one thing is certain: women, regardless of shape, size or age, have negative thoughts about themselves daily.
It might surprise you to know that learning to love myself, (ALL OF ME) has been a life long journey. I may give the appearance of ‘having it all together’ but I haven’t always felt it inside.
The road to self confidence has not been smooth.
As a young girl, I always felt I was a bit different. I had a knack of seeing and doing things differently than my peers; I danced to the beat of my own drum, so to speak. While friends played soccer, I was a baton-twirling majorette; while they played baseball, I performed dance and gymnastics routines – with neither grace nor training – for my parents on our front lawn, with the endgame of appearing on the Tiny Talent Time TV show.
Gosh, I laugh thinking back at how dreadful it must have been for them to endure. I’m sure they were grateful for a rye and coke and no, I never made it on the show.
Physically, I was the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed person in my family and my build was more ‘solid’ than my lean, thin parents and brother, and especially compared to the popular girls! I seriously was the oddball at school. I had a round booty before it was cool, thick thighs, small breasts, and gained 10 lbs within a month of going on birth control. (Oh, lucky me! I got to feel chubbier while exploring sex!)
Privately, I struggled with body image issues while simultaneously pushing the limits of what was the “norm” for fashion and hair trends in my small town. I am nothing if not a complex woman – LOL!
I was a yo-yo dieter for much of my teens and twenties. I deprived myself of much-needed calories while testing the latest fad diets, and I began drinking diet pop as soon as Diet Coke was an option. (And I still do – no lectures please!!! Yes, I know aspartame is bad for me.)
It wasn’t until my thirties that I really began to focus on eating to fuel my body and exercising as a means to a healthier, stronger body, mind and spirit, instead of a punishment for a binge meal or indulgent weekend.
Finally, I found a balance; I made peace with myself and my body.
I owe a great deal of gratitude to my parents for allowing me to own my quirks as a young girl, teaching me to stand my ground and accept who I am. Instead of coddling, I would be challenged to rise and show my strength, resiliency and individuality.
Personally, and in my work, unless YOU feel confident, beautiful, smart or whatever inside your own being, no one else can convince you otherwise. It’s an inside job, and for some it happens early on while for others it takes years to realize your greatness. And sometimes it gets lost in our journey after a tragic event or transition.
Here’s what I know for sure, women feel great about themselves when:
1. They are supported by a great group of friends.
I have said it before and I will say it again: my friends rock!
I am blessed to have friends who are supportive, fun-loving and non-judgmental. There is such diversity in my friendships and I love them all to pieces.
I once had a friend I actually dreaded spending time with. I remember saying things like “designers shouldn’t make white pants or bikinis for sizes larger than a 10!” I allowed her judgmental tendencies to influence my own self-image – and not in a positive way – so needless to say, I was happy when a move distanced us.
“If you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you.” – Jim Rohn
2. They exercise and eat well.
I am 47 and my body is maturing.
“Maturing” is a nice way of saying my waist is thickening, I’ve got back fat in places I never knew were possible, and my ass is no longer a full, round booty – despite the hundreds of squats I subject myself to!
Seriously though, exercising keeps me feeling happy, strong and sexy.
3. They are playing.
I’m often enrolling into programs and signing up for new adventures where I may or may not know anyone else!
But it’s often at these places where I form strong bonds with like-minded people who understand my desire for trying something new. The challenge of learning anything new totally creates more confidence and expands our sense of what’s possible!