The “F” Word: We All Do It

Bodies change, but life goes on

Bodies change, but life goes on

It’s true. The nasty “F” word affects most women. Sometimes we love it; sometimes we hate it.

I’m talking about “fluctuation,” of course. What were you thinking?

For the majority of us, our weight goes up and down with the seasons, with our hormones, depending on what’s going on in our personal and professional lives, and for countless other reasons. Sometimes the difference is just five or ten pounds; other times the change is even more significant.

But here’s the thing: it’s normal. Don’t let that 5-10 pounds scare you. Don’t let it get you down and don’t let it derail you.

Right now I’ve lost some muscle (sad face) and gained some fat. Overall, I’m a bit smaller than I was just a few months back, but I have less definition. What gives? Life happened. I bought a house (stressful), moved away from my gym, got caught up in the moving and unpacking process (more stress), and didn’t have time to workout and cook as much.

I was pretty damn close to having a six pack, too (okay, it was like a 4-pack, but you know). But then poof, it was gone. Yeah, I wallowed in self-pity. For a minute. Then I realized it didn’t really matter! Here’s why:

  • I’m not about to compete nor am I a fitness model
  • My pants still fit
  • I can still climb mountains
  • I’m in good health
  • My husband still loves me
  • I’ve created healthy habits through my journey
  • This “break” is temporary
  • I’m happy
  • I enjoyed the nachos I ate on movie night and the wine I drank with my girlfriends!

The list goes on, but the point is that your body fat percentage doesn’t define you. And there’s a danger in thinking that it does. It’s easy to feel that way—I know. Especially with the slew of super fit chicks on Instagram who seem to have it all. Guess what? They don’t. That’s not a judgement on their way of life, either.

I know what it feels like to go to the gym six days a week, carefully monitor everything you eat, avoid social gatherings because you can’t eat any of the food there anyway, etc. Yes, with social media you do get to see more of what goes on “behind-the-scenes” in a fitness model’s life. But you don’t see it all. Their images are carefully crafted, no matter how “real” they appear to be.

This is why an Insta-star’s following is always so shocked and heartbroken when a ‘fit couple’ breaks up. “But you guys were SO perfect together!” “You two were so in love—I hope you can work through it!” “OMG, if they can’t make it, my relationship has no hope.” Hmm…

You don’t see it all. You don’t see the bad side of a relationship and you don’t see the extra time they put in on the stairs to burn off those cookies they ate. You don’t see them struggling to get out of bed—crusty-eyed and covered in cat hair—so they can get a jump start on meal prep and avoid cookies altogether for the next week.

I applaud those who do show you more of these kinds of struggles (there are a few), but I urge you not to fall into the Insta-trap of thinking there is some secret to a perfect body that nobody is telling you.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes your fitness idols do more throwback photos than usual? Or recycle old videos? Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, their abs aren’t on-point that week and they’re doubling down to get back on track?

Life happens. Your weight will go up and down. Once you realize and accept this, you will be much happier. Don’t let a few pounds destroy your pride in the progress you’ve made. Don’t let it derail you from striving to live a healthy lifestyle, because if you do, eventually those 5 pounds turn into 20, 30, or more. And more importantly than the pounds, you will lose the happiness you’ve found in being able to walk a little farther, climb a little higher, dance a little longer.

Regardless of your personal body goals, remember, we’re ultimately seeking happiness and contentment through balance, strength, and health of both mind and body. A six pack has no bearing on any of those things.

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