Beauty, Fitness, and Aging, Oh My!

4 years ago

"Hello Rebecca. Welcome to the beginning of your 8 week accountability challenge. The doors are closing. Please hang on for the ride."

A friend of mine started an 8 week health and fitness accountability group to focus on staying active and eating right during the holidays. I have no trouble being accountable to my workouts and little to no trouble being accountable for healthy eating,  so I had decided that the group probably wasn't for me. That is, until I was encouraged to join because I would be an inspiration and a motivator for the rest of the women in the group.

Did I mention that I am turning 50 in a few weeks? OUCH! Did I just say that out loud???

Coming up with my goals wasn't all that difficult once I sat down to think about it. They are as follows:

1) Maintain weight throughout the holidays
2) Decrease body fat % by two points
3) Increase protein intake
4) Decrease fat intake
5) Don't go below 800 calories under target calories on long run days 
6) Increase bicep measurement.  

I currently run an average of 25 miles and do two gym workouts with a personal trainer per week. I would like to keep the running mileage the same but add another weight training or yoga workout to my routine. 

Okay, so that was the easy part. The hard part?  Taking my measurements and uploading the "before" photo to the group. Challenge me to run a half-marathon...13.1 miles. I am in so in.  Challenge me to train for a full marathon...26.2 miles...I will give it my all. Challenge me to upload a photo of my bare tummy.  Are you freaking kidding me???

Let me just say that logically I know I am in great shape. Not just for my age. I am in great shape. Period.  But the thought of posing in a sports bra and baring my tummy for a photo is terrifying to me. I hear the voices in my head that have been there since my adolescence, "Too skinny", "No curves".  And lately, I hear a new voice in my head, "Getting old". "Not as attractive as she used to be". 

I wasn't the only one who was struggling with this part of the challenge based on the discussion we had on FaceBook this afternoon which went something like this, "I will if you will." "You go first". etc, etc.

Why do we do this to ourselves? All of the women in this group are drop dead gorgeous. Every single one of them.  Yet, we all have these voices that tell us we aren't "enough" of whatever it is that we are supposed to be.

So I took a deep breath and uploaded my photo along with all my measurements.  I did this because my body may be thin, but it is strong. I may not have traditional curves, but my muscles are toned and they curve the way they are supposed to. Society does our gender a grave injustice when it sends the message that we are not valuable, attractive, or sexy as we age. 

We are all REAL women. Whether we are thin or curvy, whatever decade we find ourselves in. We do not lose our value based on our weight or age. 

If at the end of this challenge we look different in some way, so be it. It doesn't make us more or less...If we feel good about what we set out to accomplish, that is the only goal we should have. 

Shine on Sisters. Be your glorious self and don't be afraid to show how marvelous you are! 

If you're gonna get in the saddle, you'd better be ready for the ride.

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