Healthy, Not “Hot”

I’m turning 46 in a few weeks. And, alas – I do not have my hottest body ever. Still. And it’s not for lack of emails and advertising and social media posts targeted directly at my middle aged self that offer ways to get my body “hot” again. It seems that several times an hour (actually, maybe even several times a minute), I am reminded that THIS should be a goal of mine. And I am offered a sure fire way to get it through some extreme fitness regimen or some other ridiculous method of denial. This, being a middle aged MILF body (excuse the implied foul language). My old Marketing Major self wonders what demographic age bracket is the cut-off for this target marketing? At which age am I deemed no longer the market for a hot body? Part of me feels sad that I may be close to the cut off and part of me can’t wait to be excluded from the barrage of messages that this should be my ultimate goal in life.

This might sound confusing coming from a Certified Health Coach. Shouldn’t I be promoting working out for weight loss? Shouldn’t I be encouraging goals in the gym as New Year’s Resolutions? Getting back into that little yellow polka dotted bikini is what I should be helping women everywhere with, right? Well, it might be the right path for some Health Coaches, but not for this one. And quite frankly, a hot MILF body might be a perfectly acceptable goal for some middle aged women, but not this one.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that exercise is very important! I feel that movement is without a doubt one of the keys to health! Exercise and movement have a whole slew of benefits from decreasing stress, to helping to control blood sugar to improving mental focus and sound sleep. And, yes, it might even help you lose a few pounds. However, extreme exercise and training – the kind that is often needed to get a media worthy beach bod – causes a lot of oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is actually damaging to the body and breaks it down in an unhealthy way instead of building it up. Which is why extreme fitness people often seem to age quite quickly and look older than they are. And extreme methods of food control and denial that often go along with body training are no fun for the body – or soul – either.

So the message that I – as a middle aged woman – should have a “hot body” as her highest goal in life is something that I can’t subscribe to. Nor can I subscribe to the notion that somehow my worth as a wanted woman is tied to this image of me back in a bikini feeling “hot.” Honestly, the notion makes me angry. It really has hit a 46 year old nerve in me.

And as I work through my feelings, I think that much of it comes from being ill not too long ago. Being diagnosed with a devastating life long and life altering illness and working so hard to be – simply, “healthy.” The thought of “healthy” not being good enough for this world and that I am not measuring up because my ultimate goal isn’t my hottest body ever really makes me irritated. I have worked for just over five years to regain my health. From a hospital bed with MRI’s showing scars on my brain, a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and days after days of IV steroids that I didn’t want to reduce the inflammation in my brain – to being a Certified Health Coach and helping others to focus on their own health.

It has been a lot, I mean a lot of dedication and hard work to learn what truly leads to health and to implement it in my life and then to share it with others. I’ll be damned if the message I hear is that all of that work from diagnosis to healthy just isn’t good enough because I don’t look great in a bikini!

Yet even before I was diagnosed, I had started to feel some of this irritation anyway. Three kids. That will do it to you. If you weren’t annoyed by the ads for getting back to your hottest self before having kids, they will hit you hard afterwards. I was blessed with three safe pregnancies and three healthy babies. But my body took a beating. I gained and lost over 50 pounds each time, as my kids were jumbo size (my largest was 9 lbs 4 ozs) and I am short. I worked hard to lose the so called “baby weight.” But my body will never be the same. Stretch marks. Everywhere. I mean, everywhere. My stomach looks like it had third degree burns at one point, but they are just stretch marks from pregnancy. I wear close to the same size as before I had my first child, but things certainly don’t fit the same way. Lots of loose skin around the mid-section – the same section that nicely stretched and then shrunk, stretched and then shrunk, stretched and then mostly shrunk. And the items that nursed those babies? Well, you nursing mammas out there know what happens to them. They don’t exactly look or feel the same way they did before the babies. (FYI, I’m not a candidate for any invasive technique to fix these problems to bring them up to modern day hot status due to having an autoimmune disease. The last thing that you want to do when your immune system attacks itself, is introduce unnecessary surgery or unnatural substances into your already unhappy body.) Oh my goodness! I almost forgot about the C-section scar! How could I forget about that pretty little doozy!

But guess what? That body of mine worked hard carrying, birthing and nurturing those babies. Every last mother scar is a sign of its strength and resilience. If I believe the marketing headlines that I have been receiving in my email inbox lately – carrying and birthing those babies was all good and dandy – but, I really need to get my hot bod back to feel good about myself. Well. I, for one, refuse. To believe them.

Here is what I choose to believe instead.

Healthy. Not hot.

That’s my goal. Healthy.

I eat well to be healthy, not hot.

I drink clean water to be healthy, not hot.

I move my body to be healthy, not hot.

I take supplements to be healthy, not hot.

I avoid toxins to be healthy, not hot.

I use essential oils to support my body to be healthy, not hot.

I try to find balance in life by managing stress, sleeping, laughing, deep breathing, spending time with family and growing spiritually…to be healthy, not hot.

“Healthy” is good enough for me.

And guess what? Healthy is good enough for you too dammit.

PS – If you happen to be one of those middle aged women who has a naturally slim and muscular body or you train in a way that builds your body up instead of tearing it down, and you have the time to do it in a way that it adds value to your life instead of stressing you out – AND you don’t restrict your food intake or have issues around food denial – AND you attain this hot bikini body because you LOVE yourself and know that you are enough for this world even without it (not because you are punishing yourself), then I celebrate you! And I admire every inch of that body – because it is healthy. Not because it is hot.

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