When I was 9 years old, I played on a traveling soccer team, and we drove all over northern and mid New Jersey in a 15-pack van to get to our games. We were on the road to one of our games on a cool fall morning. I distinctly remember looking at my thighs and thinking, “I wonder how much larger my thighs are than the girls next me.” So I looked over at the two girls sitting beside me. The first girl, Jenny, was much smaller than me and her thighs were significantly smaller. Stacey was right beside me and I justified to myself that her thighs were not quite as big as mine, but not too much smaller either. Of course this negative self-talk left me feeling insecure. Why was a 9 year old girl worried about the size of her thighs? I have no idea! But throughout my childhood and young adult years, I was continuously obsessed with the size of my thighs. The insecurities of that 9 year old girl plagued me throughout childhood and young adulthood. It led me to buy bigger clothes and succumb to the idea that they would just never get any smaller. After I have dropped 40lbs and am more fit than I even was as a Marine, I still have some thickness to my thighs, but they are strong and healthy.
With all of my healthy lifestyle changes and internal work I did on and for myself, I thought I would be rid of the insecure 9 year old girl; however, I have been recently reminded that she will always be a part of me. I was spending time with my best girlfriend the other day talking about ways I can support and influence teenage girls to live an active and healthy lifestyle. After a while of tossing around ideas, we went onto other conversations and began getting ready for our girls’ night out. Side bar: my best friend is one of those skinny girls most women hate. It’s not that she doesn’t exercise or eat well because she does; she just doesn’t HAVE to do it as often or frequently to maintain a healthy weight. OK, back to the story. I’m sitting in her living room on the couch and she walks back into the room and that 9 year old girl creeps into my head and wonders: “how much bigger are my thighs than hers?” SERIOUSLY!?!? I had to talk myself off the ledge: “OK, LJ! You have managed to meet weight and fitness goals some only imagine! You are healthier than most people you know, you can outperform many people in fitness challenges, you are a certified personal trainer, and, and, and…Why are you still doing this to yourself. Maybe my thighs are a couple inches bigger, but she will be the first to claim that I can out squat, jump, or run her. You are more than this. Don’t let your insecurities get the best of you.”
Once I was done reminding myself of the positives, I felt much better, but I would be lying if I said I was rid of that 9 year old girl. To be honest, I don’t think I ever will be rid of her, and I believe she is there for good reason. She motivates me to try harder at every fitness challenge in front of me. She also drives my passion to help young women. I love 9 year old LJ for all she is worth, which let me you tell you, is a lot! I will continue to reassure her when she feels insecure and allow her to fuel my passion when I need her. She’s a part of me for better or worse, and I am glad to have her.
Take time to find your inner child and let him/her light that passion inside you. I’m certain you will find a worthwhile cause or mission in your own life.
Have a healthy day!