Body Strong: How Do You Celebrate?

Melissa McCarthy, image via Pinterest

Melissa McCarthy, image via Pinterest

 

I love the Body Positive idea that’s taking hold on social media these days, but I’d like to take it one step further.

First, I believe every woman should:

  • be able to smile when she looks in the mirror.
  • feel on top of the world when she dresses for an evening out.
  • feel confident enough to pose for a picture.
  • be happy with who she is and know she’s of infinite worth.

Some women have a heritage of large body types, and no matter how hard they try, they will never be a size 10 or 12 or 14.

Other women have the opposite problem: no matter how much they eat, their bones protrude and outsiders accuse them of being anorexic.

And then there’s aging, when your mirror doesn’t show the body your mind thinks you have. That’s a huge subject on its own, so let’s leave it for a later time – except for some awesome ladies in the pictures.

Our body type is our body type – we need to own it, love it, embrace it! We are beautiful in all our shapes, sizes, and colors of the rainbow.

And look at all the things our bodies can do, no matter our size or age: walk in the woods, dance to the oldies, throw a ball with our kids. Write a letter, watch a sunset, make a snack or cook a gourmet meal. Hug, cuddle, kiss.

Lauren Marie Fleming shared hiking tips at the Huffington Post (image via Pinterest)

Lauren Marie Fleming shared hiking tips at the Huffington Post (image via Pinterest)

Here are some women who aren’t letting their body types stop them from being active:

 

Ernestine Shepherd is a runner and body-builder at age 78! (image from everydayhealth.com via Pinterest)

Ernestine Shepherd is a runner and body-builder at age 78! (image from everydayhealth.com via Pinterest)

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Papez celebrates her body's capabilities through yoga and other activities (image from fatyogini.com via Pinterest).

Lisa Papez celebrates her body’s capabilities through yoga and other activities (image from fatyogini.com via Pinterest).

 

At 100 years old, skydiver Georgina Hartwood is braver than I am - and she goes shark-diving, too! (image from everydayhealth.com via Pinterest)

At 100 years old, skydiver Georgina Hartwood is braver than I am – and she goes shark-diving, too! (image from everydayhealth.com via Pinterest)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But with these amazing bodies in such a variety of shapes and sizes, let’s not let a Body Positive attitude be an excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle.  I like to think of it not only as Body Positive, but as Body Strong – celebrating health as well as beauty.

My husband takes after his mother’s side of the family – stocky, not tall, and holds on to extra weight like it’s gold. He will never be (and should not be) a tall, slim cover model, but he works out each morning to stay fit and I admire him for his dedication.

On the other hand, my extra weight didn’t come from family heritage. If I’m honest with myself, it came completely from overindulgent eating and lack of exercise. I love my body for what it can do and I feel good about myself when I look in the mirror, but I should not be where I was.

Ooh, did you notice I said “was?”

Over the past two years, I’ve been eating healthier and with more control, and adding a good bit of exercise, and I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds.
And you know what? My back is much happier. My knees are much happier.  My brain is happier.

I’ll admit that I do grin when I look in the mirror – it reminds me I’ve reached a hard goal. But what makes me truly ecstatic is when I soap off in the shower and can feel the muscles in my back!

If I listened to the media, I’d be trying to lose another 20 pounds.  I’m not going to – I’m happy where I am and losing the muffin top isn’t worth the obsessive dieting required.  I’m comfortable where my body is meant to be.

I can walk several miles. I can work in my garden longer. I can use the push mower on the lawn. And I can even survive an hour long Spin Class!

I’m not saying everyone needs to get down to a “normal” BMI.  I am saying that while we encourage a self-image of beauty and value, and while we embrace our wonderful variety of body types, let’s not forget to treat them well and be the best we can. These are the bodies God gave us – let’s honor them as we celebrate them!

What are your thoughts on the Body Positive movement? The idea of Body Strong?

Beauty of a Woman Blogfest #BOAW16

This blog is part of August McLaughlin’s annual Beauty of a Woman blogfest (#BOAW16).  Click here to see other posts celebrating women – and maybe even win a prize!

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33 Responses to Body Strong: How Do You Celebrate?

  1. susan says:

    Bravo! We should love ourselves, both inside and out. You said it, girlfriend!

  2. Anna Sky says:

    This!!! “I’m happy where I am and losing the muffin top isn’t worth the obsessive dieting required.”

    Thank you for such an awesome post – glad I saw #BOAW16, such an uplifting experience x
    Anna Sky recently posted..Engaging with Sexuality: A Personal Perspective #BOAW16My Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Anna. Me and my muffin top (and my newly-found back and leg muscles) will be off perusing #BOAW16 blogs soon!

  3. August says:

    Thanks so much for participating in the fest, Jennifer!

    I agree that taking care of ourselves is vital, regardless of our shape or size. Interestingly, I’ve found that the more we embrace our bodies, the more likely and feasible self-care is (which is one reason I launched a body positive nutrition site recently). I couldn’t agree more that we all deserve not only to feel beautiful, but to feel vibrant physically. Amen, sister!

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      August, thanks for hosting this amazing blogfest, and for giving me a reason to think seriously about being a woman. And a new website too? You’re awesome!

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  5. What a great post. I too have to accept wo and how I am. I got many problems as it is, through my entire life. I was insulted, hurt, bullied and excluded… Often I was made fun of, people telling me how they think I should and could lose weight and that I do HAVE to get my lazy fat butt off the couch and work out… – not knowing that I am a Martial Arts Experts for decades. I work out between 1 to 4 times a week, I got skydiving and horseback riding, I’m a swimmer and a skiier since my early youth.
    Most of the time I save myself the effort of explaining all this. But once in a while I permit myself to see the stupid faces when I blurt out what I do. And this, I admit, is a small part of how I feel good. LOL
    Lately I lost about 32 pounds and I feel even better. I’m getting where I’d like to be…

  6. Jennifer Jensen says:

    Hey, another horseback rider! I love the idea of people thinking you’re utterly lazy and out of shape and having you trounce them at a physical activity! By my age, I’ve picked up some injuries that hinder some of my physical aspirations, but I’m definitely off the couch and moving more than I used to, and my body appreciates it. Congrats on getting your body happy!

  7. Yes, strength is beautiful, and so are curves–keep up the great work staying healthy and fit!

  8. Lynn Kelley says:

    Awesome post, Jennifer! I feel the same way you do. Congrats on losing 50 pounds and building up muscles! It feels great to feel good! I agree that it’s not worth losing the muffin top just to be thinner, and when we get to our late 50s or so, a little extra body weight is good for us.

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Not to mention that while the Hubs loves my excitement over new muscles, he isn’t so fond of bones! 🙂

  9. I love your bullet points and agree completely. Beauty is as we see it and should love whatever stage we’re in… young and fit, non-so-young and flubby, and any combination thereof. If we’re happy and doing what we can to live a healthy life, so we can live a long life, we’re beautiful.

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      I like how you said that. If we combine “happy” with “doing what we can to live a healthy life,” then all is good. Back problems, knee replacements, hip replacements (not to mention heart problems and diabetes) do NOT make a happy time!

  10. Love this! Having a healthy relationship with your body, caring and loving it, at any size is the way to go! I can tell you have peace with your body; what a great example!

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Thanks, Kendra. I just looked at the name of your website – The True You Project. Love it! And going to check it out now. 🙂

  11. Congratulations on this powerful post and on your own personal triumphs! A thing of beauty for sure!

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Thanks, Patricia. I wish I could have realized some of this when I was twenty-something, instead of fifty-something, but better late than never!

  12. Stay strong and powerful!

  13. KM Huber says:

    I’m all for the Body Positive movement! I really like what is happening.

    Like you, I decided to drop some pounds but I’m a good 10 pounds away from my BMI weight. That does not keep me awake at night. 😉 I wanted to find food that I enjoy eating but food that also feeds my body rather than making it work so hard to eke out the nutritional value of what I was putting inside my mouth. It took a while but it was worth it. I didn’t begin this process until I was 57 but at least I began. 🙂 It is as you say, our bodies are a gift to honor and celebrate– what is more beautiful than that. Really enjoyed your post, Jennifer. Thank you.
    Karen

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Yeah, some of what I put in my mouth doesn’t have much nutritional value to eke out! But only a bit now, where it used to be a lot. It’s taken a lot of living to learn to honor my body and truly enjoy what it can do, and hopefully we’ll all only get better from here. Best wishes as you reach your BMI!

  14. Yay! Good for you for getting your body to a healthy, happy place. And I am totally with you on the muffin top losing not being worth the anguish required to get there.!

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Our muffin tops can hang out together as we enjoy the occasional goodie!

  15. Jenny Hansen says:

    This is so true – embrace the healthiest you. I’m delighted for you that you grin at yourself in the mirror. Some days I do, and some days I don’t, but I always push for health. 🙂

    Fantastic contribution to BOAW16!
    Jenny Hansen recently posted..The Beauty of Connections – #BOAW16My Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Hi, Jenny! Actually, I don’t grin too much when I brush my teeth at night – the tired me doesn’t look so great. Actually, that’s when I see the resemblance to my 81-year-old mother! But when I’m showered and styled and dressed – watch out, world! Have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!

  16. Yup! The Body Positive movement is awesome! I love the new messages of being comfortable in the skin you’re in. What makes life interesting is that we do come in different shapes, sizes, and personalities, and I’m grateful for it!
    Kitt Crescendo recently posted..Virgin, Vanilla, or Virtuoso – It’s All About Sexual Freedom #BOAW16My Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Thank goodness for different shapes, colors and sizes – the thought of a whole world just like me is SCARY!

  17. Kimberly says:

    I agree! The healthiest you will be the happiest you, putting body and mind right where they need to be. Congratulations on feeling healthier and embracing where you feel best, and not pushing towards some societally imposed standard!
    Kimberly recently posted..Got “Flaws”? You Are BeautifulMy Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      “Societally imposed standard.” Love it! Or hate it, actually. Standards in some areas are crucial, but not in how we look! Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Yes, love your post. We all need to love the body we are in and listen to it’s inner wisdom. We are not meant to look alike, we are meant to shine for the beauty that resides within us all.

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