Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How we abuse our bodies and it shows

Today I was at Zumba class again. It's a great place to people watch!

In that class, again, all ages, all ethnicities and even some men.

What I notice is this. Once we get flawed, few of us go back to the 'before' status.

Now, let me expand on this a bit. Let's go back to high school. And I'm not even talking about high school today where there are more obese teens, but let's go back to when I was a teen - so about 25 year ago! (EEEEK!)

Most every girl looked like this in the late 80s. Ah prom (of which I never went, maybe that's a good thing now that I see photos:

Most girls had flat tummies, nice arms, nice bodies, period. Age them 25 years and how many would wear sleeveless now? or form fitting tight? Probably not many.

I look around the gym and I see a lot of women around my age and nearly none of us have those same firm bodies. We have poochie stomaches or flabby arms or saggy butt or something and I'm not even talking about the ones that are overweight, but the average women in the room.

In all the time I've been going to the gym and taking classes. I think I've seen maybe 3-4 women out of a couple hundred that didn't have some trouble spot (some of us have more than one).

And those that don't have trouble spots seem to be the people who never got unfit or overweight. Or, they were super lucky and were able to get to their former body with lots and lots of serious work.

This got me to wondering. How do we develop these trouble spots if we didn't have them in our teens?

Is it pregnancy? Well, there are tons of stars/models who bounce right back from pregnancy. That can't be it, can it?

Something happens to us that I don't know what. As young women in the 40s and 50s they looked like this:

But now they probably look like this:

I remember seeing photos of when my grandmother was young and comparing that to the woman I knew. Could it be the same person? I see it with my mother in law too.

But some people never seem to get "that" way. Like these women:

This woman here is the same woman in the 40s and currently. She's over 80. A model then and a model again. Her secret? Pilates, Yoga and being fit - always.

This woman below? You have to watch the clip with her interview. A female body builder at 75 and DANG she looks good! Now, she didn't start working out until she was 56, but from the photos I see, she was never heavy either, but she also said she was very sedentary. That is so serious, serious muscle! You can read more about her here

So why do some women get all flabby and saggy and become the old grandma type? While other stay trim and pretty. Dang, I would look to look at any age like Helen Mirren!

Mirren in her youth:

 And her recently:

Now seriously. 67??? Dang... Though... angle does make a difference. This one isn't as flattering, but still much better than most 67 year olds I see:

And how does she explain her rocking body that won her Best Body of the year in 2011 in an LA Fitness poll when she was 66:

So just how is the Oscar winner rocking a healthy, fit body when the rest of us half her age are struggling to get similar results? Certainly, genetics play a role, but Mirren has also revealed that she keeps it simple. "I've never done anything to excess. I've never drunk or eaten too much. It helps to stay balanced," she told People magazine in 2008. 
"I go through phases of exercising, if I start getting puffy when I go upstairs, I’ll force myself back into minimalist exercise," she said. "I’m a great believer in the Canadian Air Force exercises because they only take 15 minutes…I’ve gone through many diets that are also very boring. You stop eating, and that’s what makes you lose weight: not eating. But as you get older, losing weight doesn’t make your body look better, don’t you think?"
She also has another weapon — Nintendo's Wii Fit. 
"The Wii is fun, and it's infinitely varied. You can hula, jog, yoga, step, all in one session. You need never get bored as every day you can tailor a new workout. It challenges you, and you do it at home, so nobody need see you in those old yoga pants and torn T-shirt. It's my new best friend,"says Mirren.
I highlighted the part that I think is key, "I've never done anything to excess. I've never drunk or eaten too much. It helps to stay balanced."

Once you get out of balance, your body doesn't return to the way it was before. That's my thoughts on it anyway.

My husband's aunt is 67, same as Helen Mirren and her body looks as good (if not better) than Helen Mirren's body. She's never formally exercised, but she walks everywhere and walks briskly, purposefully. She watches what she eats. She never smoked or drank or gained weight. She also doesn't eat sweets because she doesn't like them. Her body shows it. She's taken care of it always. And she got lucky in the pregnancy department as she didn't get stretch marks. 

Me on the other hand, I show all kinds of signs of former abuse of the body. I can get super fit (which I'm not yet) and drop all this weight, but the effects are there from the neglect and abuse. As they are for most of us. This one is not my body, but it looks a lot like mine (I just don't have the surgical scar on the tummy). How sad that my body doubles are usually found in photos for before a tummy tuck!  Nice way to feel good about my body, "We can cut it all off and you can be in pain and pay us thousands and thousands of dollars!"

If only I would have always treated my body well. But, I see most of us haven't and don't. At least I've started to turn things around to prevent further damage (I hope), but I wish I would have learned the lesson at 18 and not 41.


  1. Tell me about it. I gained all my weight in a short period when I went to college. Everyone told me about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, peer pressure but they never mentioned carbs. I just followed along with what everyone else was doing and had NO idea that I could gain weight that fast. And the weight has likely ruined my life. Effecting my ability to get jobs, confidence, marriage opportunities (I admit it). Even though I lost the weight I still look fat. Puffy even. I will never really be able to wear a bathing suit.

  2. No, it hasn't ruined your life. It has just maybe (and I say maybe) scarred your body and maybe not terribly. You might not get back to your teen body, but you can be healthier and look a lot better thinner than heavier. And seriously, if most of us have damaged our bodies, then no one is perfect which means that no future partner is going to expect perfection either.

    I've said it before. My husband finds me beautiful - despite the damage I've done and this is a man whose body looks great (and he's never been overweight). AND... I was a bit heavy when we met. So don't sell yourself short. I used to believe I would never find anyone who would love me either. It was only when I started to feel more confident in myself that I found I actually had men interested in me and always had!!!! I just pushed it away or made myself appear unapproachable out of fear of being rejected.