Quite a few of my middle-aged HR friends are focused on health and fitness goals in the new year. I’m not going to lie. I’m jumping on that bandwagon. It’s hard to hustle when you’re carrying a little extra weight.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of disordered eating and compulsive exercising behaviors among my middle-aged friends.
Like, a lot.
Grown-ass people with jobs and families will call themselves fat, go on weird diets, and set unrealistically strange exercise and appearance-related goals. And it starts to make me feel bad about myself for eating all dem tasty tacos.
Except, you know, I never regret tacos.
I’d like to say that these middle-aged people are all white HR ladies, but they’re not. I’d like to say that these people who suffer from body image issues are all privileged, but they’re not. And I’d like to say that these professional men and women have too much time on their hands, but that’s also not true.
It’s regular people between 35-50 who beat themselves up for not being in shape, whatever the heck that means.
I won’t lie and pretend that I’m okay with my current state of fitness, but I’m also not out here advocating for chia seeds in my protein smoothies. I don’t even like smoothies. Fuck smoothies. People who drink smoothies always look hungry. They are hungry. You know why? Smoothies aren’t fulfilling.
And I won’t pretend like it’s great to get old and put on weight in my tummy, but I’m also not gonna lie: nobody is looking at my stomach, and it’s liberating to eat whatever the hell I want. I’m loved whether I get the hash browns at Waffle House or not. Might as well get ’em scattered well.
So I have a message to all of my middle-aged friends who work in professionals services: Your weight is not your worth. Your size doesn’t define you. Your acts of service to others define you.
I think that one of the greatest act of service you can perform is to forgive yourself, love yourself, and take care of your body in a healthy way. Lead by example so that the next generation of middle-aged adults feels comfortable in their skin and doesn’t suffer as much as you have.
And stop it with the chia seeds and yo-yo diets. Nothing good came from treating your body like an enemy in the 1990s and 2000s, and nothing good comes from it today.