walking the line: body image, eating & fitness

April 5, 2016

Barre class.






Long run.

Kale salad.

Fitness tracker.



Some of the above terms scream indulgence and others evoke thoughts of discipline, perhaps even deprivation.

At the ripe old age of 35 (fine, almost 36) — I have embraced a life filled with all of the above.  Do I still have parts of my body I’d like to improve/change?  Absolutely.  Of course!  I’d still like to run faster, be stronger, improve my flexibility, have nicer arms.  But I can’t think of a time I have felt more balanced, to use a tired cliche.

I was thinking about this in Boston last weekend.  There were treats galore.  There are certainly bygone eras of my life when I would have beat myself up for enjoying them (though I still wouldn’t have abstained 🙂 ).  I am now at peace with the idea that sometimes it is time for enjoyment/celebration/what have you and other times it makes sense to eat more for health and energy . . . and maybe even vanity to some extent.  I am happy on either occasion and the balance seems to come fairly naturally.

I don’t necessarily eat the same as I used to.  I certainly don’t have as many rules.  I am more likely to grab a bag of chips (the ones with ridges!) in the afternoon if I am hungry and that is *really* what I am craving.  But at the same time, I usually run in the morning without eating beforehand now — it’s just more convenient.   I am more aware of carbs/sugar, and I try not to eat 834837 grams of carbs on a typical morning (as in — I’ll go for one waffle, not two).  I will sometimes skip the bread, and sometimes eat it with butter.  I will cancel out a totally rich meal with a salad at the next without feeling all repentant about it.

And for the record, I am essentially the same weight/size as during my Paleo phase, and also similar to pre-kids.

So what’s next in the fitness realm?  Continued running.  Continued barre.  More strength (debating trying Barry’s Bootcamp vs at home Les Mills vs Beachbody).  Someday I want to revisit the marathon again, when the kids are older.  But I think I’ve mostly found my happy place in realm of body image, nutrition, and fitness.  And I’m really glad it includes all of the items in the above list.


  • Reply Laura Vanderkam March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I go back and forth on the fitness tracker. I did not know my new iPhone did that automatically until a few weeks ago. Then I noticed and…ugh. I am back to the worst aspects of my Fitbit phase. I consciously made myself let the phone sit at 9500 steps last night and did not pace around the room to hit 10,000.

  • Reply Erica March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    This is really heartening and makes me so happy for you! I am coming out of a phase of very bad body image / restrictive eating and I am really working hard on letting go a lot of these behaviors (I think it’s related to having no control over a certain strong-willed preschooler’s behavior and having tons of control over what I eat!). I keep thinking, Man do I want to be tracking calories when I’m a grandma? Do I want to feel guilty about eating chocolate cake at my son’s birthday parties for the rest of my and his life? Do I want my food issues to ruin a vacation because I don’t know exactly what is put into everything I eat anymore?

    I have always wanted a fitness tracker and I really waffle on this one. I fear my obsessive and perfectionist tendencies would make it an obligation and not a motivation.

    I have to eat something before I run in the morning though. I usually wake up hungry, so it’s nothing more than a few pretzels or dates, but I need it. I waffle on this one, too. Some sources say it’s best to run empty and other says you need a small snack. I personally need a little sugar to wake up my brain and get my legs going. My running partner can run 15 miles without eating before hand, though. Physiology!

  • Reply beth March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I’m 36 and I do actively have to try to be kind to myself with body image issues. I weigh the same as a decade ago but post kids I am generally 1 clothing size larger (nothing in quite as tight/firm as it used to be). I go back and forth between being irked by this and really wanting to change it to telling myself it is not the end of the world. I am a healthy weight and BMI- shouldn’t that be enough? I walk, on average, 6-8 miles a day. I feel like I should have outgrown these issues but they still plague me sometimes.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      6-8 mi/day is impressive!

      i also wish certain areas were firmer (seriously, i go to barre and am so jealous of all of the beautiful arms around me!) but then again – i’m not willing to go too crazy to get there. that said i do feel like the more strength based workouts i do the more i generally like how i look. running is the BEST for mental health and is the activity that i enjoy the most, but i don’t think it does nearly as much for me physically.

      i bet my standards are just lower than yours 🙂 i can’t keep up with the SAHMs around here who live at the gym so i just don’t even worry about coming close!

  • Reply @L__Money March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Have you tried Orange Theory Fitness? I am obsessed with it now. So fun!

  • Reply Hilary March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Burgers and burpees – a good name for my blog? Haha! Maybe it’s the mid 30s but I feel,much more balanced and more importantly less likely to even think about it and just do naturally. It’s nice 🙂

  • Reply Sarah Muse March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    As I understood you have a huge experience in weight loss.
    1) What velocity of decresing calorie intake can you advise?
    2) What paleo recipies are good for weight loss?
    3) What time of day do you run and for how long?

    Sarah Muse

  • Reply Kristen March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I love this. I’m working on finding my own balance, and am really drawn to coming up with fewer "rules." Thanks for sharing; it’s encouraging.

  • Reply hitesh March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    This looks wonderful

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