A body conscious confession.

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If I'm honest, I've never been able to fully enjoy myself sitting at the beach on a hot summer's day. Sure, when I first get there, I'll plop down my chair in the sand, gaze at the beautiful ocean, breathe in that salty ocean air and soak in the sunshine with a huge sense of pleasure but, inevitably, my gaze begins to wander. I don't think I'm unique in this experience. Before I know it, I'm people watching and eyeing up passers-by beneath the protection of my shades. It doesn't take long before some toned body goes running by on the water's edge and I'm reminded, yet again, of my non-existent exercise routine. I may be thin but I'm not toned. Someone who eats healthy can be skinny but to be toned you need to actually work your muscles. If you avoid exercise, as I almost always have, it's as if you'll always feel that slight sense of disconnect and discontent with your own body. It's a subtle non-spoken guilt that comes out to play only when you finally reveal your skin to the sunshine. No matter how many times I try to feel confident sitting on the beach, I generally walk away from the day feeling disheartened and agitated with no one to blame but myself.

Now sure, one could argue that I need to work on my self-esteem. I think we could all probably use more of the good stuff while we're being honest but I believe this discontent of mine might run a little deeper than that. I watched my body do amazing things during pregnancy, expanding and changing in ways I only imagined in my dreams to be possible. I know I'm physically capable of more than I'm giving myself credit for and I want to be healthier. I want to work hard and sweat, without getting irritated in the process. I want to be a good role model for my daughter and not just value thinness, as this society so often does, but to value health. To use my body and not shy away from sports or other physical activities because I feel inferior. I want my daughter instead to both be and feel strong.

I'm trying. I think that's all that matters at the moment. It isn't easy with a young child to find time but there will be many more beach days now that we live less than an hour from the shore. I really want to enjoy those days with the sand between my toes, without the guilt, for her sake and mine. She's worth it.

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