Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections and Body Image

And what a year it's been. I can't believe how quickly it has flown by. I'm not usually one for new year resolutions, but I'm going to focus on one for the coming year, as it's something that I have been thinking about lately.
I'm going to work on having a healthier body image.
As some of you may now, I was a very serious ballet dancer for much of my life, until I blew out both knees and redirected my focus to music and college. Because I had been training from the age of six, I never really knew my body in anything less than an extremely fit condition. Combined with the fact that I'm naturally petite, I never had much body fat and was quite toned. Now, about five years after I had to stop training for a professional level of ballet, my body has certainly changed. I went from dancing nearly every day of the week and eating wonderfully healthy meals to focusing on my degree and eating whatever's convenient. And when I look in the mirror, I have mixed feelings.
On one hand, I firmly believe that my overall weight now is healthier than it was when I was dancing. I've easily gained 15-20 pounds over the past 4-5 years. Hey- now I even weigh enough to sit in a seat with an airbag! (Which certainly wasn't the case when I started driving.) However, there are certain areas that could definitely use some toning. Actually, all of me could use some toning. I haven't stuck to an exercise regimen since I left dance, and it's time for me to start exercising regularly again. And in all honesty, I'm more or less disgusted by some of my newfound flab. I've been too hard on my reflection these days, comparing my body now to the body I had when I was dancing constantly. And there's just no way I should expect my body to magically stay fit. It's just never something I had to think about before. I was so committed to dance, and a result of my serious training was a very muscular, toned, fit body. And I never really thought of it as exercise, or that my body looked that way as a result of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally.
(A few of my retired pointe shoes)

I'm going to work on feeling better. And my plan is to tackle this through exercise and reasonable expectations.  I need to keep reminding myself that I'm not a disgusting slob just because I have some more curves these days. And the funny thing is, I know I'm still smaller than many people, and when I look around at others, I certainly don't hold them to the harsh standards I have for myself.  So I hope that in no way does any of this come across as insulting to those with different body types.
I've enrolled in yoga for the spring, and am planning on starting to swim regularly and maybe even enroll in an adult ballet class. I miss ballet so much. My goal is not to lose weight, but instead to feel healthier both physically and mentally. I would like to gain back some more muscle and tone some things, but I need to remember to be nice to myself in the process. Some days, when I look in the mirror it makes me want to go on some ridiculous celery diet. And that is going to change. I'm going to exercise regularly and accept that my body is the way it is right now. With regular exercise, it'll change eventually.
But in the meantime I need to be more accepting of myself, something I feel many of us struggle with.

Here's to a healthier and happier new year!

<3,
Toucan

Tobago, January 2010

3 comments:

Vulcan_Butterfly said...

I've gained some weight over the years myself, and though I accept it now, I know how you feel. It is hard to go from one body type to another. University can be hard on the body, that's for sure. I found that when I started exercising it didn't take me back to where I was but I feel a lot better and I have at least maintained where I am now. Good luck, I think you are taking a great approach to this!

Lillian Funny Face said...

Good luck to you! It's very hard not to judge yourself harshly, especially if your body used to be different, but youre still beautiful and fit! Just do what makes you feel good about yourself <3

Amanda said...

Vulcan Butterfly: It's always nice to hear that others understand how I feel, thank you :)

Lillian: Thank you so much! <3

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