As a mother to a young daughter, I often think about
how I will protect her in the future from the never-ending reminders of what a ‘perfect body’ should look like.
Those thoughts usually bring me back to when I was growing up in the 90s. It was an era of unattainable perfection, when supermodels dominated TV and magazine pages.
The ability to have teeny-tiny waists while retaining curves in all the right places was applauded and touted as what females should strive for.
It was the norm of beauty…and yes, it was damn impressionable as a teenage girl growing up.
As I reached my young adulthood, there was a constant sadness and frustration because it was genetically impossible to ever fulfill that standard of beauty and ‘perfection’. Self-evaluations in front of the mirror became a daily routine, as I pinched the flesh of my arms, stomach, and thighs to gauge the amount of fat there was compared to my skin.
One restrictive diet followed another, where only 800-calorie days of limited broth and salad consumption was allowed for weeks…only to find myself binging and gaining back any weight that was lost.
The irony is that it all happened as I entered a career in science, studying metabolism and nutrition to my heart’s desire. Yet for some reason, there was a disconnect between my book knowledge and how I was actually living for my health, and myself.
It wasn’t until I had my children that I finally began to appreciate my body for what it was. Seeing how a body can physically adapt and endure discomfort for the purpose of creating life was no short of amazing. Any battle scars that remained became reminders to be gentler and kinder to myself on days that I struggle, because they told a story of transformation and strength.
By recognizing that my body was gifted with the capability to incubate and bring life into this world, I became grateful. By appreciating my physical framework as something that is strong, healthy, and worthy of admiration no matter what it looks like, I found acceptance.
And only then, did I begin to understand that health had less to do with the numbers and what you know.
Health is a reflection of the way you accept yourself.