I read this wonderful article over at Everyday Paleo. It's true on so many levels and I hope you get a chance to read it.
I can be very honest about things these days. I started this fitness journey simply because I wanted to get my pre-pregnancy body, which I really loved, back. There were no lofty and esoteric goals. After I had worked and worked and worked only to discover that my pre-pregnancy body was gone forever, I quickly had to shift my focus to something more substantive like becoming strong and staying fit so that I could enjoy life. I hated feeling sluggish and tired and like I couldn't even keep up with my kids. It turns out that I really like being active and moving my body so the aesthetic side of working out naturally took a back burner. I'm wasn't going to stop doing the stuff that made me feel awesome bodily and mentally because it wasn't yielding the aesthetic results I wanted. But I won't lie and say it doesn't bother me that I put in all this effort and I still don't have a picture worthy body. I have a diastasis which makes me still look a few months pregnant and lots of skin that just didn't snap back and sags and jiggles. And there's nothing short of surgery really (although I hope to give the Tupler technique a try one of these days) that's going to fix it. I can't fix it and I've pretty much given up trying to fix it through exercise. Yes, I don't like to look at myself naked in the mirror: I don't like what I see reflected back. I don't think it looks good. I don't love the way it looks. Sometimes I hate the way it looks. But it doesn't stop me from working hard because I have other goals on which I'm working--goals that don't give a hoot how tight my midsection is. I do love my body because it can run 10 miles and then still make a hearty breakfast for my family. I love it because it can do 4 chin-ups! I love it because it can lift weights, hang laundry, clean the bathroom, drive, read, knit and crochet, cook, walk, jump rope, heck, smile and just be here. I won't front, it does bother me when I see other women who don't work nearly as hard as I do with (at least) smooth stomachs (even if there is a little pouch). What can you do? As a human, we often compare ourselves and envy others and wonder, "why me?" and I'm not exempt.
I have come to the realization that I loved what my body looked like pre-kids because I received a lot of validation about it from men and from the media. I had a classic hourglass figure. Svelte. I could wear pretty much anything and make it look good. I didn't have to try to camouflage anything. I can't honestly say I liked it just because it was mine but I liked it, no loved it, because the world did. Currently that's not the case. I'm quite muscular with broad shoulders and my waist and hips measure pretty much the same (giving me what I usually see labelled as an "athletic" physique). My breasts are saggy and deflated post-nursing. And I already described my belly. Certainly not what society deems as lovely. So I'm cognizant of the fact that I'm going to have pull some love for the way my body looks from way deep inside and I'm working on it.
I hope one day I fall in love with what my body looks like but today is not that day. Today, I'm grateful for being able to find a different focus and all the wonderful blessings that come from having that different focus.