Hi, my name is Lateefah and I accept me. Pretty much most of the time. Not an easy thing to say after looking at a picture of myself 6 years ago and crying. I don’t look like that chick anymore.
But wait. Now, I accept me so much that when I go through those days like that when I feel like shit / feel like I look like shit / feel like I am not worth shit (you know, I just feel bad.) I still know I am living through a temporary feeling.
This acceptance comes in handy as I watch my body change and shift while I age. I am the “Tenderoni” age of 46 but I am peri-menopausal, retain water faster than a speeding bullet, have stage 4 arthritis in my right knee and stage 2 in my left knee (did you even know there were stages like that for arthritis? Oh. Well, I didn’t) and a left big toe that doesn’t bend because I have a giant screw there. It sounds like I am broken and jacked up, and I am, but this is where acceptance comes in. Lifting very heavy weights and putting 400lbs on the leg press is not accessible to me anymore. After living in denial, then pouting, I accepted this fact and found other ways to get and stay strong. Running is no longer on the menu, so I accept that. My knees have pretty much said “hell naw”. Acceptance helps me to enjoy a brisk walk or a long walk at an 18 – 24% incline on the treadmill (hello, booty burn!).
This acceptance came about when I decided to stop finding “bad things” about my body and focus on reality and my positive attributes. My reality is I do not and cannot do everything I used to do. It’s just not great for my optimal health and overall well-being. The positive is also my reality: I am strong, I am healthy – even with all the things I mentioned earlier – and I am still able to work out. Yoga and dance now rule my world and though the weights are lighter, I still lift weights once or twice a week. My core strength is so much better than it was before, and it will only get better. I have learned to utilize my body to strengthen my body in ways I never thought I would.
I am here to tell anyone who will listen to look at yourselves realistically and start with accepting and loving you. What is good about you? You can find at least one thing, I know. This is the only way to begin a health and fitness journey. Find something you enjoy and can do. Then explore ways to progress within that. You will have a huge sense of accomplishment and not feel so down on yourself. Once you get stronger in what you do, it can lead to being stronger in other ways, as well. Think outside the box. If you are pining for the days when you could do “XYZ”, stop that. You can’t do it – move on. Or can you? Can you simply re-adjust, find new ways to do what you enjoy? Don’t put yourself in a corner. You know you can’t put Baby in a corner, right? Try stuff, you will feel better about you and whatever situation you are in.
I can cry because my body looks different. Or, I can love what my body feels like when it is healthy, crazy strong and I feel good about me. My acceptance lead to my adjustment … then to an incredibly strong and oh so sexy, me.