I’m not inspired by the media’s idea of what a woman looks like. That over processed, photo-shopped to within an inch of her life, impossibly thin, perfectly proportioned, flat bellied, no pored woman only inspires me to roll my eyes and give a very unladylike snort of impatience and disgust.
What inspires me? Real women. Here’s my definition of a real woman.
A Real woman:
*eats well, choosing nutrition over starvation. She makes good food choices, and stands up to the temptations of red velvet cake and heavily buttered bread.
*doesn’t beat herself up when she yields to those temptations. She simply puts it behind her and moves forward.
*applauds her women friends when they have a 22 pound weight loss in one month, even when her own scale says the same thing it has always said, even after months of working out and eating right.
*is happy in her own skin. The skin which is not quite as tight as it used to be, droops a little here and there, has more wrinkles than it used to, but still looks good, even with many years of wear on it.
*rises early, slaps on her running shoes, and heads out the door, even when she doesn’t want to, doesn’t feel like it, and sees no discernible change on the scale, in the way her clothes fit, or in the mirror.
*encourages her friends and family when she knows they’re facing the same lack of motivation.
*looks at images in the media and realizes that no one really looks like that, not even the one in the picture.
*doesn’t care what she looks like when she’s in the middle of a run and doesn’t mind making a fool of herself in yoga class or being the one who dances off beat at Zoomba. She celebrates her ability to do those things with enthusiasm and joy.
*never looks at other women in judgement, offering only prayers and encouragement for those who may not be at the same place on their fitness journeys.
*rejoices in the victories of her friends, even the small ones.
*grieves with and consoles her friends when they are facing weight issues or any tough life issues.
*only offers advice and help when asked.
*makes taking care of herself a priority. She knows that she can’t take care of her family if she’s not at her best.
*learns to love that face she sees in the mirror and accept its changes as God’s way of showing the life she’s led. Good and bad.
*accepts herself exactly as she is, while always striving to be the best she can be.
*knows her limitations, but constantly toes the line in an attempt to exceed and surpass those same limitations.
*knows that teaching by example is the most effective way to teach.
I’m blessed to know, love, admire, and emulate many of these women. I strive to be that woman. I am in some ways, fail miserably in others. The important thing is to keep on trying. Never give up, never give in. Know that being that woman isn’t just important, it’s life altering.
I could go on about the characteristics that make up real women, but someone else said it much better than me.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks…
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy…
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31: 17-31 (selected verses only)
Strong is the new skinny. Be strong. Choose to be a real woman.