I am doing my best to help my kids develop good body images for themselves. I also try to lead by example. I don’t diet. Instead, we eat healthfully. They see me work out regularly. Last year, they watched me train for and then complete my first triathlon. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t deprive myself of junk food and I don’t have flat abs. But “athletic” and “healthy” do not equate to skinny and I want my children to know that, despite the images they see in the media. “Treat your body well and be proud of it.” That’s my message. I can really talk the talk. Then, in February 2012, came the opportunity to walk the walk. My gym sent me a survey about the difficulty in finding the perfect sports bra. I answered it candidly (it should hold me in so that I neither smack myself in the face nor trip while running) and the next thing I knew I was invited to participate in an upcoming article in SELF magazine. In a sports bra. Without a shirt. Gulp. My mid-section had not seen daylight since my first honeymoon in 1994. And there was much less of it then. And even then I thought it should be smaller. I was seriously considering declining the offer. But then I realized that the only reason I did not want to bare my midriff to the world was the very reason I feel like I have to work so hard to ensure that my kids have positive body images. Maybe if there were more women in magazines without rock hard abs then fewer girls would expect to have them? So, I took a deep breath and did what I often do when I find myself at a crossroads: I conjured up a conversation with my sister-from-another-mother, Meg Zucker. She told me: “Don’t hide it, flaunt it!” So, I did. A week later, I was at the offices of SELF magazine for my fitting. The bra expert, LaJean Lawson, fitted me into quite a piece of armor. It was big, comfortable and held me in. When the wardrobe lady came in and saw me jumping up and down in the conference room, taking the Enell bra for a test drive, so to speak, she looked confused. “That doesn’t look like the kind of bra you would work out in without a shirt.” I looked even more confused. “Does this look like the kind of BODY that would work out without a shirt on?” We all chucked. There was discussion about what kind of tank top to bring to the shoot the following week. I was relieved. I was even more relieved to see several tank tops hanging on a rack when I arrived at the shoot. I was less relieved when no one seemed to be making any moves to put one on me. They told me they admired my “body confidence.” Either they mistook my good posture for confidence or that was their nice way of saying: “Gee, if I had that body I’d never agree to model a bra in a national magazine.” While I was busy analyzing the comment and wondering if I should just help myself to a tank top, someone ushered me in front of the screen, the wind machine was turned on and I felt my whole attitude shift. Flaunt it I shall! My body may not look like the ones you usually see in magazines, but you know what? My body gestated and gave birth to 2 great kids, my body gets up every morning and goes to work, or to the gym, or to coach my daughter’s cheerleading squad, or to stand at the end of the pool and time at my son’s swim meets. My body has even completed 2 triathlons. If my biggest complaint is that I don’t like how I look in a bikini then, um, what exactly am I complaining about? Since my photo shoot turning point I am aware that I am more grateful for the things I like about my body and pay less attention to the rest. For example, rather than complaining about my stomach, I am enjoying a new approach to running that is beginning to show results. As I run more, I will burn some belly fat (old habits die hard). Or I won’t. But it doesn’t matter. My body is strong and capable. Yes. Flaunt it, I shall.
READ THE SELF ARTICLE HERE! http://www.self.com/fitness/2012/05/best-sports-bras-slideshow#slide=19