Struggle (synonyms)- fight, grapple, wrestle – make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.dictionary.com
The word that caught my attention from this definition is constriction. Most women are constricted in food by dieting and counting calories. We are too obsessed with how we look by placing a lot of emphasis by restricting ourselves by consuming certain food. Another struggle women face are worrying about wrinkles and sagging arms. The standard for women is so high and the pressure we placed on ourselves is insurmountable. No wonder why we are stressed out.
How do we stop beating ourselves up? The majority of women either a family member to friends have the same issues, weight gain, and wrinkles. Most women spend money on beauty products and everything to do with health, skin & hair.
How Do We End These Struggles?
Self-Acceptance But Not In Complacency. I mean just accept yourself at this moment and be willing to not judge or criticize yourself. Even if you are not happy with what you look like in front of the mirror, just love yourself anyway. But it doesn’t mean you are not open to change. Constant change is part of life. I mean I definitely don’t look like when I was in my younger years or have the same body, but I still take the time to take good care of myself. Self-care is important. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can incorporate some activities and rituals into our day such as taking a shower, washing our face, shaving our legs, wearing make-up, and dressing nicely. But you might say, I don’t have time, but you do. Just make time. This is why I love waking up early in the morning so I have fewer distractions, and I can gracefully start my day without interruptions.
Struggle #1 – Working Out.
Not all of us love going to the gym or even like working out at home. Just do what you can in a day even if it’s only for about five minutes of stretching. At least you are doing something. Now that I am a bit older, I prefer a low-impact work-out that is easy on my joints or you can take the other route if you don’t like to work-out. Take household chores are your work-out instead. You can vacuum, sweep, mop the floor, scrub your bathtub to name a few so that your body is not sedentary.
I found out that we can actually trick our brain instead of telling our mind that we must need to work out. My body rebels and detests working-out. I’ve noticed that if I tell my mind that we are just dancing instead of working out I can feel a sense of ease and fluidity in my movement because I am not forcing myself. I think the moment we force our body to do something less enjoyable and forceful, that’s when our body will come up with many excuses not to want to work-out. So start at your own pace and just do what feels good to you at this moment.
Struggle #2 – Food/Dieting.
I’ve never liked the word “dieting.” In my early twenties, I have tried some diet fads such as going vegan or not eating at all which never lasted for a long time. Ultimately though, I gained weight. Whenever I hear the word “diet” I translate it to “restrictions or self-deprivation” which aren’t pleasant in my ear. Again because as human nature, if we are told not to eat a certain food, we would do the opposite, well, there are only a few are the exceptions who stick to strict diet rules.
So how do we deal with this dilemma?
Portion Control, Moderation & Mindfulness
Let’s start with portion control. Due to the excess in this country, the majority of us have a hard time controlling our food intake. The portion we eat compared to other countries like France. As you all know, I have been intrigued and have always been fascinated to learn about French culture and their way of living. Especially in the food department. As I’ve learned, their portion is way smaller compared to the Americans. They don’t deprive themselves of eating whatever they’d like. However, they graze food in a smaller portion.
Moderation. If you have been following my life or know me, I have such a sweet tooth. I love cakes, chocolates & pastries. I would have a bar of chocolate here and there, but it doesn’t mean I have to eat the whole bar in one seating. I’d leave some for the next day, what I’ll do is take a piece and hide the rest. Moderation is the key, not in excess. Too much of anything isn’t good for the body. Our body functions well when we take a little bit of everything. For instance, it is good to have a glass of wine as long as we don’t consume more than we can handle, otherwise, we can become alcoholics. The same with the food we eat, if we only eat greasy food that contains high in saturated fat, most likely it will just get stored up in our body. Then it will show up around our waist and midsection. You get my point. Keep in mind, moderation is the key.
Mindfulness. How many of us rush to finish our food and eat mindlessly? This realization came to me when I have been having an indigestion problem. In the last few months, I have finally considered slowing down. I decided to enjoy my food and not rushed eating so I can get to another task I have on my to-do lists. Another bad habit while eating is watching television or someone on Youtube. I am so guilty of this one because I catch myself doing it. Therefore, we are not fully enjoying and appreciating the flavors in our food the moment it touches in our palate. We are a distracted generation. We feel as though we are always trying to multitask. Rushing and eating mindlessly have a negative effect on our health. When we rush it produces a stress hormone called cortisol. (Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation). However, elevated cortisol over the long term consistently produces glucose, leading to increased blood sugar levels.
Struggle #3 Wrinkles/Aging.
Getting old is part of life, and there’s nothing we can do about it but to accept it. However, we can do something about the choices we make to slow the process of aging. We can incorporate a skincare regiment by applying an anti-aging cream, apply a sunblock whenever you go outside, removing make-up before going to bed. Then, of course, eating lots of fruits and vegetables is the most natural way that can help us stay youthful and attained a glowing skin. Finally, hydrate! Water keeps our body hydrated that can help us in many ways.
So I think these are just some or perhaps the most, we as a woman struggles with that we faced on a daily basis. Just do what’s best for you and what makes you happy. After all, that’s your body and it’s your responsibility how you live your life and show up to the world. All we can do is to live the best life now, focusing on what really matters which are relationships to God first, with our spouses and with our children, and with others. I am not saying, we should not take time to exercise to take good care of our skin, but there’s no point in beating yourself up about it. I am sure other women in other parts of the world have bigger problems than gaining weight and growing old. Just learn to shift your paradigm and learn to look around you that there are those who have a worse situation than yours.