This funny thing happens when you are in an environment that isn’t focused on body…you don’t focus on your body.
I was out of the gym and on vacation for the past 10 days. It was the longest vacation I’ve ever had in my adult life. It was relaxing and the perfect solution to my desire for a much needed break from life. We spent time eating, exploring, walking, lying on the beach, and lounging…it was so nice!
The whole time we were on vacation I never once thought about my body or my looks. I was just enjoying the time I had with Matt. It was so refreshing and a little weird to not ever think of my body. Since we all struggle from time to time with body image issues (see my recent blog We All Have Issues...), it was nice how this vacation even gave me a break from my regular body image issues.
Yes we were on the beach in bathing suits and I never once cared how my body looked. All I cared about was absorbing the sights, sounds and feel of the ocean experience. I know you would think being in a bathing suit would flare up one’s body image issues, but in this instance for me it didn’t. And the other weird thing, I didn’t notice other people’s bodies either; I was too consumed with my own little world at the moment.
As we were driving home last night this all occurred to me. I was sitting in the car in spandex workout shorts and looked down at my thighs and thought, “Oh hey my legs look a little big”. Probably because my damn shorts kept creeping up my legs as I sat for 12 hours in the car LOLl. I then thought to myself why all of a sudden do I give a shit if my legs look big and what the hell does that mean anyway. It started to make me think, did this thought all of a sudden surface because I was heading back to my real life where body is my work? Probably.
Even though my club and my mission are all about promoting positive body image and empowering women to focus more on how exercise and living a healthy life makes them feel vs. look, I am still in the body business. I am surrounded my mirrors, wear fitted spandex workout pants daily, focus on the mechanics of my and other’s bodies and help women fight their own negative body image. So even though my body business is positive and healthy, it’s still has a strong focus on body!
It’s kinda that out of sight out of mind idea. When the idea of my body or bodies in general were not part of my daily focus it was out of my mind and as I slowly approached the reality of my life again those thoughts seemed to effortlessly come back. So knowing that what can I do about it?
I think all I can do is keep doing what I am doing and focusing on health and function vs. appearance. I think I can take myself mentally back to vacation and remember what it felt like to not give a shit what my body looked like and just enjoy the moment. I can remind myself that when my mind is relaxed and present (like it was on vacation) I am more likely to not care about appearance. I can continue to focus on what is important, mental and physical health NOT appearance, weight, or size.
I would rather run around the beach and see women of all shapes and sizes enjoying the water, sun and play then have all of us ladies hiding our bodies for fear of judgment. There is so much more to us than our bodies! Sometimes it takes a little vacation from life to get perspective and focus on what matters!
Jessica Storch, MA is a boxing coach, personal trainer, health coach and owner of Knockout Women's Boxing Club in Westmont, IL. Her mission is to empower women to be their best through the sport of boxing. She promotes a health focused mentality and encourages women to let go of the diet mentality. Jessica believes weight loss doesn't equal health and works with women to support them in building healthy lifestyles and happy lives.