Wednesday, August 4, 2010

being beautiful

The book Operation Beautiful comes out this week, all started with a blogger who just wanted to remind people they are beautiful by leaving post-it notes in public places. It caught on big time. You can read notes every day at her blog. Plus, now a whole book that you can buy.The author Caitlin is encouraging people to email, mail or blog their stories on body image, health or beauty. So here's mine.

I don't have a dramatic story of weight loss or exercise transformation. Right now I weigh what I did in early high school probably. I lost weight my senior year in high school because my stomach no longer liked processing food. So sometimes I wouldn't eat at all. Then in college I gained some weight due to 2 a.m. newspaper deadlines and a lot of Dr. Pepper and cheddar and sour cream chips. Then I lost some for the wedding, lost more after the wedding- go figure.

I don't count calories on paper but I do in my head. I read nutrition labels. I don't buy processed foods whenever possible. We eat two to three non-meat dinners each week. I try to listen to my body and eat what it's telling me it needs.

I run regularly and lift weights. I'm training for a half-marathon. I've been running the longest I've ever run in my life. Running has taught me that trying to eat 1200 calories a day and still run seven miles is ridiculous. Calories are coming in second to protein, carbs or fats. I think about meals as necessary fuel rather than something to be controlled.

All this combined makes me pretty happy with my flat, non-six-pack tummy, runner-like legs, size zero waist and less flabby but still womanly arms.

But I still struggle. Yesterday my body was badly in need of some carbs and salt. So I interpreted that as "eat fistfuls of crackers." Then for dinner we had really good coupon so we got pizza. And when I was laying in bed I felt guilty. I know how many calories are in one slice of pizza, and I definitely did not stop at one.

What I have found is that in my late 20s, being healthy is more about how I feel. I eat healthy because when I do I don't get bloated, headachy and tired. When I run, I feel alive, confident and strong. I want to be healthy and strong because I want to be able to enjoy my marriage. I want to have a baby someday and know that my body is prime for newborn cooking. I want to be able to enjoy vacations, weekend adventures, and just laying on the couch without my body getting in the way. I'd rather my health and weight just be a non-factor.

I have a husband that tells me I am beautiful every single day. But he also is clear that my personality, humor and talents are what makes him crazy for me with my outward beauty as second, which is always a nice reminder.

For me, body image is about healthy body and mind. It's about being strong enough in mind to have the self control over my eating habits and the motivation enough to run. But also to know that if I miss a day of working out, gorge on pizza or someday lose my size zero figure, I possess just as much beauty. Because I am smart, a talented writer, a loving wife and daughter, an adventurous cook, a faithful servant and wannabe world-changer. These are the reasons I can look in the mirror and smile.

What makes you beautiful?


  1. "What I have found is that in my late 20s, being healthy is more about how I feel. I eat healthy because when I do I don't get bloated, headachy and tired."

    So true - I am learning this... slowly!

  2. What makes me beautiful (IMO) is my heart. I like to pay it forward, listen to others in their time of need and not pass judgement, and help others any way I can (volunteer, collect donations). I believe in walking the walk, leading by example (I'm "like totally" not a do as I say person)and supporting ones community.

  3. I really liked this post, Sarah! You have such an enlightened view on your body and health. Good job getting to a point where you can feel what you body needs and respond, rather than deprive yourself of all good things. I also wrote about something similar today, actually!