Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Am I letting myself go?
Today is one of my favourite days of the month. It’s the day I run my ongoing group. I’ve been running this smallish group for a few years now and I enjoy every minute of it. What I love about it is that we talk about the things that really matter. We spend a whole morning (from 11am to 2pm) unpicking the challenges (and joys!) of every detail of our relationship with food and our bodies. There’s nothing we can’t or won’t talk about. Today one (among many) of the things we talked about was getting older - a subject dear to my heart as I am experimenting with and learning how to grow old gracefully, how to welcome the changes I see in my body, my energy, my mood, my tastes and so much more. We were talking about what it would take to maintain a toned body. To defy the seemingly inevitable pull of gravity, to avoid the wobble and the soft, sagging. We talked about the option of doing sit ups and press ups and any number of other exercise routines which, done daily or with enough regularity, would help maintain that more or less youthful firmness… And as I listened a thought occurred to me. If I wanted to stay toned and flab-free does that mean I would be willing to do the sit ups and press ups for ever? Three times a week, every week? Because if I were to start doing exercises to tone up now… the minute I stop I’d just go all flabby again… so that means I would have to keep going. But for how long? At what point would it be OK to let myself look ‘old’. When would it be legitimate to stop working so hard to look youthful and fit?
I don’t want to push myself through punishing exercise routines for years to come, week in week out, just to stay toned and trim. The older I get the happier I am with the way I look. I am growing rather fond of the soft, wobbly parts of my thighs, my somewhat lumpy bottom, my jelly-like belly… it’s sad that in our society accepting the way we look and allowing nature to take it’s course is considered ‘letting yourself go’. The message is that looking beautiful means staying young and that you can’t be beautiful if you don’t work hard at it. That wrinkles and softness and curves are synonymous with being un-sexy and unattractive.
I do want to be fit and healthy. I want to be strong an supple. That's why I swim and walk and stretch. I even run when I feel like it.
I don't want to spend the next 20 years trying to look like I did five or ten years ago. I don't want to spend the rest of my forties and my fifties and sixties working hard to maintain the body I had in my mid to late thirties.
I believe that I can be attractive and sexy, even when I’m not toned and firm. I believe that I can be beautiful without trying to hold onto my youth. I don't have to fight getting older. If that’s called letting myself go… well so be it!
If you’d like to join this wonderful group of women who meet once a month on a Wednesday from 11am to 2pm in London NW3, click HERE to find out more. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me anytime on 07904 125997