I have an ongoing food debate with myself. At forty-six, and no longer having that kick-ass metabolism I had a twenty -six, or even the reasonably robust one I had at thirty-six, I seem to be constantly caught in the love myself as I am vs. get back into shape dilemma.
In the blue corner, and weighing the accumulated heft of being pretty much a constant companion, is my “not good enough” voice, reminding me I need to be thinner, look younger, look prettier. Facing off against that, in the red corner, is my newly emerged 40-something sense of self that really doesn’t give a crap about being anybody else’s version of me.
I have two wardrobes, one for each point of the pendulum I am on at any given moment. Compounding my confusion is my love of food. I’ve never been one of those “food is fuel” types. Perish the thought! I love to eat. Eating good food is a sensual treat for me, and I really think life is too short to forego great food for the rest of it.
Then you add the good health debate into the mix and things really start to mess with my head.
The nearest I can come to an answer, is to constantly strive for balance. Somewhere in between “I want to eat my face off every day” and “I need to be a Barbie” there is a happy middle ground. But my middle ground might not be yours. For me, and at this point in my life, I am prepared to forego certain foods for the sake of my shape. My size, rightly or wrongly, impacts how I feel about myself and I need to keep my self-esteem in the positive spectrum. I don’t need to be perfect, but there is a certain size where maintenance is a bit of work, but not all consuming, and I am happy with what I see in the mirror. And it’s not anybody else’s idea of what is right for me, but mine.
Conversely, I am not prepared to make the sort of sacrifices it would take to have the body I did at eighteen. I simply don’t want to spend that much time in a gym, or crying into my kale.
I’d love to say I look in the mirror and love what I see all the time. And I wouldn’t even be writing this if I did. I can blame society, I can blame mass consciousness, I can even blame my mother, but at the end of the day I have to take responsibility for how I view myself. I have allowed all these factors to take up rent-free space in my brain and until I can oust my unwelcome tenants, I need to find a balance that works for me. And as importantly, find a balance that releases my teenage girls from this tangle.