Tag Archive for #bodyappreciation

Body Glide and the Big Epiphany

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This Stuff.

 

 

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I’m pretty sure there’s special place in heaven for the creator of this stuff.  What is this glorious invention?  It’s Body Glide–a little bit of heaven in deodorant-stick-like form.

 

 

 

 

It’s given many a runner a great deal of comfort, and it’s given me the ability to look at my body in a whole new light.

 

 

 

 

I think I first discovered Body Glide in 2007, when we were stationed at Fort Rucker, AL, and I’d started running regularly (in 90-degree heat and 100% humidity) after recovering from my low back/pelvic injury for the prior 14 months.

 

 

 

 

If you live in the south of the US, or have visited in the south during the summer, you’ll understand how as soon as you walk out the door, your body bursts into a total-body sweat instantly.

 

 

Now compound that with actual movement and exertion–in a climate where your sweat never evaporates, just collects on every millimeter of your skin until it pours off of you.  What you have is a formula for some serious chafing of any place where your skin rubs your clothes–at all.

 

 

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2008 Gate to Gate Run Finish

 

Well, for a girl whose thighs have always been very friendly, and whose triceps are a little on the bigger side, this does not bode well.

 

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I’m definitely ‘well-endowed’ in the tricep department!

 

There were more than a few occasions where I rubbed my inner thighs and below my armpits raw after just a couple of miles.  Yeouch.

 

 

 

Well, I wasn’t quitting running, and we weren’t being relocated anytime soon, so finding a solution was critical.

 

Enter:  Runner’s World Magazine and THE solution.

 

 

Body Glide.

 

 

Lucky for me, the local sports store in Enterprise, AL, had some small sticks available right up at the cash register.  For about $5, I snatched one up and prayed for relief.

 

 

 

Body Glide did not disappoint.

 

 

For the first time in pretty much ever, nothing chafed, nothing rubbed uncomfortably, despite high temps, horrific humidity (I’m a Seattle girl.  We don’t do humidity.), and a massive amount of sweat.

 

 

 

Victory was mine!

 

 

 

 

Fast forward a couple of years to a very warm stretch of summer in Germany, and the rare event where it was both warm enough for me to don a sundress and I actually had the desire to!

 

 

 

Although I only went out to dinner with a couple of friends that night and there was MINIMAL walking involved, by the time I got home my friendly thighs had ‘road rash’ once again!  OUCH.

 

 

 

I was pretty disappointed and annoyed that my thighs touching made it hard to comfortably wear a dress in the summer.  Damn friendly thighs….

 

 

 

Then it dawned on me, as I stared into my medicine cabinet later:  Body Glide isn’t just for athletic use.  It’s for ANYTIME use!  Duh!!  Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner?!?

 

 

 

Friendly thighs were no longer going to stop me from wearing skirts or dresses in warm weather.  With the assistance of some Body Glide, I could wear what I wanted (skirts, dresses, shorts, bikinis) with comfort and confidence.

 

 

 

Around this same time, I started having trouble with blouses and dresses with sleeves fitting.

 

 

 

Specifically, all was well until I tried to get my shoulders in them, or the blouse or dress to close.  About 6 months before this, I started doing pull ups regularly and having alot of fun with push ups and upper body training.

 

Spring 2014

 

Seeing as I’m ‘gifted’ in the delt department (they gain size really easily), my shoulders had shaped up and grown a bit.

 

 

 

At first, I had the urge to blame my shoulders for being too big or muscular–but only for a second.

 

 

Then I took a look at myself.  

 

 

 

I liked what I saw.  

 

 

 

 

I didn’t like the way the dress fit (or didn’t).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve got some delts…and I like them.

Epiphany:  The problem wasn’t the size of my shoulders or the way my shoulders and arms were shaped, the problem was in the design of the clothes.

 

 

Well, you know how feelings can snowball….Pretty soon I was looking at the rest of my body in the same way, starting with my friendly thighs.

 

 

 

I started to take the view on things that if clothes didn’t fit, it was because the clothes were the wrong design, not that my body was flawed.

 

 

 

My thighs have touched for as long as I can remember–seriously way back into childhood.

 

 

 

There have only been a few (three, maybe) phases when I remember my thighs NOT touching, and these were all related to drastic weight losses, one stemming from abdominal surgery and losing a ton of muscle, and two really stressful life events when I ate very little and ran a lot.

 

 

 

My thighs are the way they are and they’re not changing anytime soon.  And you know what?  I’m totally cool with that.  

 

 

 

Because they are strong and shapely and capable of some amazing feats.

 

 

 

 

It hasn’t been an overnight mental transformation, though.

 

 

 

 

Building better body acceptance has been a bit-by-bit, over time project.  It’s required me to catch myself when I slip into negative thought patterns, when I pinch my belly, or grab at my outer thighs, or mentally berate my cellulite, or fall into any kind of #comparisontrap, and to replace those negative thoughts with body-positive statements.

 

 

 

 

 

These days, when I’m shopping for jeans, or dresses, or even bikinis (still not a fun project for me!), I don’t harsh on my body when something doesn’t fit well or look good on me.

 

 

 

 

I blame it entirely on the cut/design of the clothing.  Fashion trends and social media be damned, if it doesn’t fit my body, it’s not because my body is flawed!!

 

 

 

 

My body is healthy strong, capable and amazing–stretch marks, mommy tummy, cellulite and all 🙂

 

 

Thank you, Body Glide, for starting me on the path to greater body acceptance and for helping me realize that products and clothing need to adapt to ME and my body, not the other way around.  

 

 

And in the immortal words of the Dread Pirate Scott, from one of the best movies of all time: The Princess Bride, “…anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.”

 

 

Some of my favorite body-positive mantras are:

 

  • Just Do You (to pull out of the comparison trap)
  • You’re amazing; the clothes suck
  • I love my strong ____________ (fill in the blank with body part)
  • I’m more than the sum of my parts

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So if you’re out there carrying out that sometimes traumatic task of shopping for a bathing suit, or any other piece of clothing that has stressed you out in the past, keep this in mind:

 

 

 

 

It’s not your body that’s flawed. It’s the clothes.

 

 

 

 

 

Ditch what doesn’t make you feel good, and move on!!

 

 

 

 

{PS—2016 update} Body Glide now has an even better partner product: Body Slide.

 

 

This stuff is super easy to apply to our rounded bits and gets into any ‘nooks and crannies’ more easily. Plus, it wears amazingly well through sweat and water exposure.

 

 

 

Body Slide saved me so much pain last summer, and made wearing a bikini in saltwater a pleasant experience!

 

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Summer 2015: rockin’ the bikini with the help of more body positivity and a bunch of Body Slide :)

Can’t recommend it enough.

 

 

 

What are your body-positive mantras??

 

 

 

 

Add yours to the comments below–I’d love to hear what works for you!

Skinny is a four-letter word.

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Recently, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my approach to fitness and to the nutrition, mindset and exercise recommendations I make because the moderate/sustainable approach, well, it just isn’t SEXY.

It’s not an eye-catcher or attention-grabber or a quick sell.

 

I’ve wondered a little lately if I’M the one off-base, if I’M missing the boat by not offering ‘get skinny quick’ workouts and meal plans, or by selling weight loss supplements/fixes as well….

 

I made a conscious decision last year to stop trying to ‘sell the six-pack’ in social media. I made the choice to keep my shirt on (literally) because I realized it wasn’t my goal or true calling to sell women on getting skinny or having six-pack abs or an apple butt as what their fitness should look like.

 

Fitness, for me, is so much more than just looking a certain way, or meeting a subjective standard of beauty in order to feel good, happy with one’s body, ‘fit enough’ or accomplished.

Fitness is a source of strength, of learning to trust one’s own body, of finding the depth of one’s courage and human spirit, of feeling comfortable and confident in the body we travel our life’s journey in, whatever it’s size or shape.

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Holding up that slick, six-pack ‘lean, tight and toned’ ideal as the end goal, selling that as the ideal and gold standard by which women measure themselves—it wasn’t encouraging, and it didn’t make me feel good about what I was doing.

 

It was heartbreaking.

 

Heartbreaking because many of the women I worked with, or had social contact with, many of the women I knew and loved in all the areas of my life were saving self-acceptance and happiness and comfort in their own skins for when they achieved “X” number on the scale, or “X” number in their dress size, or “X” number in body fat %, or when a certain ‘least favorite’ body part yielded to their wishes and finally looked smaller/toned/tight/smooth.

 

And these amazing women deserved MORE than that.

 

As I’ve lived through more phases of my life, met more challenges, endured more hardships, and accomplished greater satisfaction of my own through performance-based achievements (rather than just scale-based or appearance-based ‘accomplishments’), I realized that feeling good about myself and my body wasn’t an ‘outside-in’ project.

It was an ‘INSIDE-out’ one—complete with cellulite, wiggly bits and a host of other aesthetic ‘imperfections’ combined with relentless self-acceptance and even gratitude.

Once you have these experiences and epiphanies, you can’t go back to thinking and living the way you were before.

It’s like opening Pandora’s Box of positivities—and these positivities have to be shared and spread; once that box is opened, they can’t be contained or stuffed back in.

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So I made it my mission to spread the messages of relentless self-acceptance, fitness as a tool for growing into MORE of one’s self, not less, of loving yourself forward into change, not loathing yourself into submission. These were messages and ideals that had meaning, these were messages and ideals I could feel really good about promoting and encouraging women to strive towards.

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And yet…there are moments, I have to admit, when I feel a little nagging doubt, a ‘naysayer’s’ voice in my head, wondering if maybe I’m off-track or in the wrong business—because the sexy and the quick-fix have a lot of traction and seem to really sell.

Then there are the moments like the one I had first thing this morning, when I received a message from a reader who was distressed by an experience she’d had with her 6 year-old daughter a that night.

She wrote, “Tonight my 6 year old daughter, two days into first grade, told me she wants to be “skinny” – and asked me if I right she was getting skinnier. I was so sad to hear her say those things. I make a point not to say things like “skinny” or “fat”, and instead focus on being healthy and strong. She said she wants to be famous and skinny. I was not expecting this kind of comment from such a young girl.”

Holy crap. She’s 6. And I know her mother is a great role model for her, so the fact that she’s saying this is really kind of scary. I could make a thousand guesses where she’s getting these ideas and messages, but it wouldn’t really matter. What matters is being part of the solution, not adding to the problem.

Being a part of the solution is what galvanizes my dedication to the choice I made last year, the decision to promote physical and emotional strength through improved fitness, to promote positive self-image and body acceptance while helping women learn to adopt healthier eating and movement habits in their daily lives.

Because I can’t stand for one second the idea that I might be someone who contributes to the concept a little girl has that she needs to be skinnier to be accomplished, to be accepted, to be someone.

 

This one message gave me back the conviction that I AM on the right track.

I’m certain that I am because I’ve lived many years of my life consumed with angst about not being good enough, feeling like I had to have a super low body fat percentage, look like “X” body ideal (round here, smooth there, ripped here….), and get enough external validation through the praise and compliments of others to feel good about myself.

And even when I DID look like “X” and got ‘lean enough’, and got lots of external validation, it wasn’t enough. I still didn’t feel good enough. Having reached one aesthetic goal and failed to get the ‘good enough’ feeling, I would chase another aesthetic ideal, or try to become more like someone else whose body other people praised as worthy and admirable.

It ate me up inside.

I was never good enough. I didn’t appreciate the body I had, the gifts and abilities I possessed. I was negative and fearful and desperate. And I don’t wish those feelings on anyone—let alone a 6 year-old girl who just started first grade, who is just in the beginning stages of developing her character and identity as a person, not just a body.

 

So, despite the noise around me, the bells and whistles and shiny objects flying around in the fitness industry and social media, I know I have chosen the right path.

  • I know that emphasizing looking at our bodies and ourselves in a positive way is critically important.
  • I know that promoting gratitude for the health and gifts we have is essential on the path to true and lasting body and lifestyle change.
  • I know that teaching women the value in working out isn’t in getting skinny, it’s in getting stronger, inside and out.
  • I know that giving women the tools to change their own lives, one step at a time, instead of offering some ‘miracle solution’ is the right thing to do—truly, it’s the only thing that REALLY works.

I know, because I have lived both sides of the coin.

 

And I’m going to continue being a part of the solution.

I work out to be MORE of myself, not less.