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Body Acceptance – “My body is fit for purpose”

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A body acceptance tale by mum-of-two, Kirsty Iona Robinson

“What I have is necessary for my needs. My body is able to function as I need it to, when I need it to. Could it be a bit fancier? Yes. Am I willing to put in the extra time, money and hunger to make it so? Ummm….no.”

It is only on reflection that I realise I used to be one of those people. Those ‘I can eat anything and just never seem to put on weight’ people. Until I was about 21. Then my metabolism started the first of many throttle backs. Until now, at the ripe old age of 42, I think I’m one step away from the metabolic equivalent of 1st gear. Now, my eight year old son eats more than I do, and I still gain weight if I don’t exercise.

Does it really matter how I look?

Exercise (and wine) have always been something I’ve embraced, particularly when I realised that I should focus on how it made me feel, not how it made me look (exercise, not wine; wine has always makes me look fabulous).

These days I don’t have much time for exercise, so whatever I do needs to really count. Which is why I have myself in a thrice weekly, red-faced routine of vinyasa yoga (the non-stop sweaty kind), boot camp (with freaking truck tyres and ropes), and jogging (well, shuffling would be a more accurate description).

Now I’m not gonna lie. After two kids in two years, even with my exercise routine I have NEVER got back to my pre-baby weight.

But I really don’t care anymore. Instead, I’ve managed to embrace my new body, after another exercise/food related realisation – that I am ‘fit for purpose’.

Could I be fancier? Yes. Do I care? No.

Anyone in the building or IT industry will know what this means. What I have is necessary for my needs. My body is able to function as I need it to, when I need it to. Could it be a bit fancier? Yes. Am I willing to put in the extra time, money and hunger to make it so? Ummm….no.

According to some measures and some people, my body would definitely be the ‘before’ photo. But so what?

I think this should be our new mantra – is my body fit for purpose? Obviously if you can’t climb the stairs at home or run around after your kids without puffing, then the answer is no. But if you can get through your days with a little bit left in the tank, your doctor isn’t giving you the ‘ok, we need to have another look at your food diary‘ pep talk, and your clothes aren’t cutting you in half (the new ones, with elastic waistbands, not the pre-baby ones that you’ve hidden up the back in the hope that ‘one day’…), then you’re fit for purpose.

Let’s drop the obsession with youth – they might look all shiny and taut and wrinkle free, but they don’t know shit. My 21 year old self has doubled her age and number of wrinkles, but she’s quadrupled her wisdom and self-confidence. And I can still touch my toes.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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