I took this photo of myself ten minutes ago as part of the “We Heart Life – I Heart My Body 2012″ campaign. It’s raw, unedited and I’ve just been to the dentist and had two hours in the chair having a crown prepared and my jaw is a little bit swollen. However, it is a true reflection of me, right here and right now!
The premise of the campaign is to encourage women to appreciate their bodies and discuss the topic of body image. As someone that’s gone through many bodily changes due to pregnancy, weight fluctuations and figure comps, I’ll be straight out honest and say that improving my body image has been (and still is) a work in progress. At the ripe old age of 43, I have moments where I’m not really too thrilled about how my body looks and functions – as I age, I am seeing the beginnings of wrinkles, loose skin, faded stretch marks from pregnancy, pockets of fat here and there and dodgy looking toe nails.
What brings me back to Earth, however, is the amazing stuff my body can actually do and what I’ve achieved in the athletic sense as someone with very average genetic ‘talent’. I’ve run several half marathons, cycled distances over 100km, competed in bodybuilding, swum competitively, done triathlons, participated in outrigger canoeing and even nailed a fitness challenge against the Australian Army.
I have faced numerous injuries over the years and had shoulder surgery a couple of years ago. Currently I’m dealing with a rotator cuff injury and my hyper mobile sacroiliac joints. These challenges have provided me with a renewed sense of gratitude about just how valuable my body is – it’s more than just the pockets of fat on my legs or a hairy bikini line.
When I look at my gorgeous little Lucys, who are growing up into amazing young women, I know the effects of pregnancy on my body were worth it, even if I’m still dealing with the aftermath at the physio nearly 14 years later.
If I had to choose a favourite body part, I would have to say my legs – after years spent teaching RPM and being on my bike, they’ve developed a lot of good looking muscle as well as power and strength. This is followed closely by my face – in random shots like this, I can see a natural curiosity and openness. I feel like mentioning facial expression is a good one, as I see so much beauty in others’ faces irrespective of body shape or size.
Age has helped me appreciate my body more as well – if there is any tip I can share with the young ones around me is to express gratitude for what your body can do. Honour it by feeding it well and participating in conscious movement – then let the cards fall where they may. Allow your body adequate time to recover from exercise and illness and nurture it with massage, gentle stretching, plenty of sleep and even an early morning dip in the sea – mandatory on holidays!
What do you like about your body - are you appreciating it more as you get older or does aging scare the crap out of you? (as it does me sometimes – makes me think I’ve really gotta live in the moment more!)
Feel free to link up with “We Heart Life” to share your story.