Let’s face it… vanity happens.

There’s no getting around it and especially as we age, there will be two things that remain constant: vanity will ALWAYS be a part of us and that we cannot turn back time.

Awesome More Moms we are… but Father Time, we are not.

And for someone who spent the first half of their life dancing… followed by a 10-year career in the fitness industry… the physical changes to my body over time were sometimes hard to grasp.

From Loathing to Loving Our Bodies Through Time

I still enjoy exercise and I do make a point to be active, but it isn’t in the same ways as when I was “younger.” And so, in typical Natalie fashion, I would make sarcastic jabs at myself amongst friends. Of course, they would answer with “why do you say things like that about yourself?” or “Stop, you’re beautiful.”

Finally, I sat back and said, “Why DO I say these things about myself?”

Truth be told, it’s annoying for me when others say it, yet there I was “zinging” myself, perhaps without ever really realizing it.

Then about a year or so ago, I started on a journey of truly knowing, loving and becoming a better Natalie. I worked on so many different aspects of myself, with help from things like career testing, training and counseling.

And, like any true journey, I found out a lot of things… on the way to finding me.

I finally realized that at the end of the day… and certainly at my now rockin’ age of 40… I AM, SIMPLY WHO I AM!

Not just physically and mentally… but also in my skill sets and attitude, as well.

And it was through this deep dive into myself, that three truths truly revealed themselves to me:

  • Accept who I am.
  • Appreciate the gift of being here, in this moment.
  • And, release my expectations.

Of course, I still cared about my physical presentation, but I had to accept my age, the changes that go with it, and release the expectations of being the size that I was back in the days of dancing.

There were moments where I had to accept that the 3 digit numbers that represent my weight… did not represent WHO I WAS as a person.

From Loathing to Loving Our Bodies Through Time

And truthfully, the person I am today is leading a more fulfilling life, than the person I was 20 years ago… age, wrinkles and all.

Ultimately, I found undeniable and true reasons for loving myself just the way I was. If my end goal was to be confident and happy, then why would I devalue my self-worth?

And if feeling better physically was important, then surely the number of my pant size was not.

Finally, and probably most importantly, it was for my kids… especially my daughter.

The questions she would ask me, like: “Will this make me fat?” made me want to wrap her in bubble wrap and lock her in her room forever. I wanted to protect her from the vicious cycle of body image issues she would inevitably face in the real world.

But what about the body image issues she faced inside our own world? Surely, she must have heard, from time to time, my off the cuff zingers about my own body? Would that not affect her?

Thankfully, those days of sarcastic body shaming are well in the past.

Now, in our household, we speak about “health” and have banned the word “fat.” It is so fundamentally important to me to raise children who wish to emulate us in their lives; and for a little girl, the words her mother says about her own body speak volumes.

From Loathing to Loving our Bodies Through Time

In the end, I am obviously still a living, breathing work in progress. My journey is never truly done, as is yours, and my goal is to motivate and encourage all of you to be the happiest you can be, with WHO YOU ARE.

The most important thing of all though, is to remember: We are all perfectly, wonderfully and fearfully made.

You are unique in who you are… and that is a blessing all in its own!

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