As I have lost weight, my body has changed in various ways. While it’s fun and exciting to see myself shrinking, the fact is that some areas will bear the marks of my extremely overweight days long after I reach my goal. When you start out where I did, it’s pretty much inevitable, so it’s just something I’m learning to live with. One of the more prominent areas where I deal with this is in my upper arms.
As a woman (who now has so many new shopping avenues available to me), I’m finding so many summer dresses and tops I really like that are very cute, but sleeveless. While the size of my arms has gone down considerably, I still have a great deal of toning work to do, but even with that, I’ll probably always have some loose skin left there, and I’ve been pretty self-conscious about it. So, for every sleeveless garment I’ve bought, I’ve also got a jacket or sweater to go over it and cover up my arms.
This past week, as the temperatures have soared from the high 70s into the 90s (hello summer!), the last thing I’ve wanted to wear is multiple layers. When I got dressed for church last Sunday, I put on a sleeveless top and instinctively grabbed a jacket, then became very upset over feeling so bad about the way my arms look and feeling like I have to cover them all the time. After an encouraging conversation with my husband, I ended up spending part of the day with the jacket off, bare, flabby arms and all, and you know what? The world didn’t end over it. No one stopped and stared and pointed at the lady with the under-arm flaps. No one laughed at me or asked why I dared to show off my not-so-perfect biceps. I wore a sleeveless top…and it was okay…
Here’s the reality of it…if we’re honest enough to admit it, we all have areas about our bodies we feel insecure about. Wait, can I say that again with a little more emphasis? We ALL have areas about our bodies we feel insecure about or would like to change in some way! There’s just no getting around it. There may be some pudge here, or some flab there. Maybe we’re not as buff and built, or as slim and trim as we used to be or would like to be. Face it, we’re human and time and gravity do a work on us!
What I’ve learned this week, however, is that while I’m working to improve my strength and muscle tone as I continue to lose weight, it’s okay to be real. It’s okay to accept that this is me, where I’m at today. I’m not as good as I will be, but I’m sure better than I was! That measure of self-acceptance comes along with a heaping dose of peacefulness and contentment, and I’ll take that any day!
So, if you see me fearlessly baring my imperfect arms this summer, just know this, I’m thankful for the strong arms that God has given me! These arms help me express myself in worship as I raise them in praise. These arms have gone around the shoulders of hurting people to extend comfort in times of need. These arms have carried my babies close to me and held them for hours of rocking. These arms embrace my husband and hug my children and other loved ones. They may not be perfect, or sculpted, or beautiful, but they’re mine and they have served me well. While I strive to make them better, I’m going to do my best not to complain and grumble about the way they look any more.
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(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations. It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences. Thanks!)