Crop tops, love handles, cellulite and bikinis
At 10 years old I noticed these lines on my already “large” butt. What in the world was happening?
As the years passed, they became lighter, longer, more tiger stripe like — and then I learnt they were stretch marks. WHAT?!
Fast forward to life as a teenager: I wore bikinis with football shorts because I was far too young and uncomfortable with my tiger stripes.
Sure, I ran track, was fit, even had abs to prove it, but this one “flaw”, this one “imperfection” haunted me every summer and I continued to hide behind swim trunks — that, and bikini bottoms just never fit.
At age 20 I noticed on top of all my tiger stripes, my hamstring/glute connection was not as smooth as it used to be.
What in the world was happening?
Cellulite? What? Where? How come? I’m such a fitness addict. I enjoy pizza — is this my punishment? No way! So of course, summer rolls by and the trunks make an appearance.
This was the life of hiding behind imperfections.
The life of being in the spotlight and thoughts of having to be this perfectly shaped, flawless fitness instructor; a personal trainer with no imperfections, who works out all the time, eats healthy and indulges in pizza on Fridays. This of course was not healthy and once I matured in my own journey I was free.
Free from judgment (or caring about it), free from care, free from the confines of my mind that I had to be perfect. Once I acknowledged that being fit and healthy did not mean 5 per cent body fat, visible abs 365, nor smooth legs but rather having a healthy balance, being active, and importantly being mentally healthy, I was free.
Oddly enough, it was after this acknowledgement that I began to see improvements on my “problem” areas. Everyone has their flaws; there is no such thing as the perfect body, the perfect life.
I am a unique vessel. YOU are a unique vessel — we are all unique, we are all special, we are all perfectly imperfect.
The world of health and fitness and women’s empowerment is growing, it’s spreading like wild fire, and it’s AMAZING! So this article is for you — the woman that has yet to realise how perfectly imperfect she is; the woman on a wellness journey to better her health, her physique but is not enjoying the process, who is not still loving herself during the process.
It amazes me how harsh we as women are on ourselves. Picking at the many flaws, never being happy with our unique bodies, never looking at the many “perfect” qualities we possess, never praising our improvements.
It is one thing to want to improve on certain aspects of our bodies, but it’s another to continuously hate our bodies or certain body parts, yet profess we love ourselves. Working on improving is not equal to hating any body part.
Even as a fitness addict, a personal trainer, I am still flawed. Once you get it into your head that everyone has their own flaws, their own battles, you will realise that you too are allowed to be flawed and still love yourself.
During this journey you are allowed to have flaws — we are human after all. So this summer, wear the crop top, even if your abs haven’t peaked through yet; wear the bikini even if your legs aren’t where you wish them to be yet. Own it! Love it! Be confident and proud of all of your achievements. Sure, continuously work hard — and I mean hard — towards your goals, but be proud, love yourself during the journey. Lift the heavy weights — wear the lipstick while doing it — but never, ever allow the world with its expectations and shallow thinking to make you feel any less than a woman.
Accept your flaws, work towards improving but never lose sight that you truly are perfectly imperfect — and love yourself the more for it.
The crazy part is though, I’ve used the word flaw during this article and I don’t like it at all. Who is to say that these legs, or this excess belly fat are flaws? This is a fine example of how the world has us warped. Any deemed flaw is just one more thing that makes us unique. Don’t get me wrong, I love the world of health and fitness. I love to see women, men, children working towards bettering their health. I love to see improvements in my clients. I especially love to see us all uplifting and encouraging one another to be healthier, to be better. It’s the perpetual body shaming, self-hate that needs to stop. We need to embrace our bodies whilst working on improvements.
Once I acknowledged that being fit and healthy did not mean 5 per cent body fat, visible abs 365, nor smooth legs but rather having a healthy balance, being active, and importantly being mentally healthy, I was free.
Once you realise this you too will be free and then, as life has it, the improvements will come and you will notice that you’re loving the journey that much more.
I’m not too sure if you were able to grasp the concept of this article, I really hope you were. I really hope you realise how beautiful you are and, while you may be on a journey to improve on yourself, never stop loving yourself — all of you. Continue to enjoy the journey, continue to seek improvements and continue to empower one another. Acknowledge that you, too, are PERFECTLY IMPERFECT.
•Dre is a retired track and field athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than five years’ experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating primarily out of National Stadium. Contact her on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 5990412. Find her on both Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre.
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