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Exercise and Confidence in Midlife: I Am Enough

Alexandra Williams, MA
picture of RevRunWisdom of RunDMC at the BlogHer party

At the BlogHer Closing Party. Photo by Daniel Tsi Photography

This past weekend I was at BlogHer, a conference for women bloggers. Several events transpired that made me sad and fired up simultaneously. One – I went to a session for Boomer women; and Two – I chatted with a “magic” mirror at a booth about empowering women.

 

 

Boomer Mini-Con Session

A fairly free-flowing session at which attendees took turns at the mic asking questions and sharing information. One woman said she used to have a blog focused on health and fitness, but she had shut it down due to lack of readership. The next two women up to the mic commented about their need to lose weight. Major disconnect!

picture of magic mirror at The Mrs. Booth

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? You, of course.

The “I Am Enough” mirror at the Mrs. booth (a rock band comprised of midlife women).

You put on headphones, looked at the magic one-way mirror, and listened while the mirror told you all the reasons you are fantastic. As a person who doesn’t lack for confidence, I started dancing and telling the mirror all the reasons why I was fantastic. The mirror told me I was the first person to come up and share why I was enough (and awesome) as opposed to listening and/or crying. Upon reflection, it was rather sad to learn that I was the first (out of thousands) to say I was enough. Women, are we that hard on ourselves?

Take Ownership

selfie with Alexandra Williams and Roni Noone of Fitbloggin

Her tag line: One mom’s journey from fat to skinny to confident

The link between self-confidence and weight/ health is so strong that I am going to say something that is (for me) provocative. Take ownership. Do something about it. Complaining doesn’t count. Wishing doesn’t count. If you don’t have a medical issue that prevents you from moving your body (plus eating and sleeping right), then go move your body. Instead of saying, “I need to lose weight” or “I wish I could be more active,” say instead, “I choose not to,” because that’s what is really going on.

Of course, it’s all about small steps, as we’ve been saying for years right here on this very blog. And of course, progress is not in a straight line. And of course, we understand, as we are Boomers with stoopidhead metabolisms that changed 15 years ago too. But feeling good about yourself is in your control (again, I am not talking about those with medical issues). If you cannot march up to that magic mirror and tell it who’s boss, do something about it. This is a picture I took of my kind of celebrity – Roni Noone, founder of Fitbloggin, She has taken many steps – forward, backward, sideways – to get where she is, which is confident. Read this post by her about feeling more attractive and confident.

All the time, and especially at conferences with lots of women, I’m complimented on my energy level. I get my energy from exercising. I’m complimented on my good looks. I’m actually average looking, but I smile. That makes me look good. My smile is merely the outward reflection of my happiness with the efforts I make every day to make choices that get me to my goals. I’m complimented on how young I act and look. Am I special? Actually, yes. But so are you. As David McCullough told the graduating seniors at Wellesley High a few years back, “The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special. Because everyone is.” Too many of us believe the first sentence, yet remove ourselves from the second.

This is the part where I link to two well-written conference opinion pieces by women I like who just happen to have fun blackmail pics of me.  Some of my so-called youthful appearance is due to my hair stylist, and some is due to oily teenage skin, but the rest is due to my rejection of our culture’s “rules” for Boomer women. I enjoy my life. I like people. I am a person. So I like me. And I definitely want you to like you. All of you, not just parts.

So if you eat crap and don’t want to, don’t. If you are overweight and unhealthy and think you should exercise, do it. It’s not about willpower; it’s about choices. Small ones throughout the day that add up. What choices are you going to make that will allow you to march right up to that magic mirror and say, “I’m more than enough; I am awesome?”

A little plug for the AARP Care4YouToo contest – For free, you can join the fitness contest (with prizes) that is now in week 3 of 6. Each week can be stand-alone, so you are not behind if you join now. Get suggestions and support as you make the incremental steps I mentioned above. 

 

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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34 Responses to Exercise and Confidence in Midlife: I Am Enough

  1. Cathy Chester July 28, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    You never cease to amaze me. Once again I wish I lived closer to you. I thank you for saying you are not speaking to people with pre-existing conditions, but all the same, I want to “own” my health. My hope is that one day if I stand in front of a mirror I’ll have the same energy as you do with the same strong conviction as you.

    You really rock, my dear!
    Cathy Chester recently posted..“Gene Kelly: The Legacy” And An Exclusive Interview With Patricia Ward Kelly On The Life Of Her Late HusbandMy Profile

  2. Linz @ Itz Linz July 29, 2014 at 4:59 am #

    LOVE this! i AM enough!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Why I Started BloggingMy Profile

  3. Pamela Hernandez July 29, 2014 at 5:03 am #

    Well said! We all make choices, those choices have outcomes. If you want to make a better outcome you have to make a better choice! I can’t wait to see you at IDEAWorld!
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted..5 Proven Techniques to Beat Stress EatingMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit July 29, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      Yay, so glad you’ll be at IDEA. Yes, I think if we spent the same amount of energy on exercise as we do on berating ourselves, we’d all be fit!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Exercise and ArthritisMy Profile

  4. Meredith July 29, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    Interesting! I saw a video of that The Mrs. Band mirror with the “I am enough” song, and it was definitely sad watching woman after woman say she felt “less than”, and then be surprised and warmed by words of love from family friends. It’s amazing how we view our own worth, but enlightening to see oursrlves through someone else’s eyes.

    Good for you for knowing that you are enough and for loving yourself. I think part of it too is that society makes many women apologetic (constantly prefacing opinions with “I’m sorry, but…”, being ashamed to be proud of our accomplishments or to degrade them, not being perceived as “vain”), so we need more mirrors like that and people like you to help us all feel free to recognize how fabulous we are!
    Meredith recently posted..Paint!My Profile

  5. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul July 29, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    I love this post! Rock on girl!
    Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted..Chilled Cauliflower BisqueMy Profile

  6. GiGi Eats Celebrities July 29, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Exercise BUILDS confidence, which is why people of ALL AGES need to take part!!!! I know if I don’t work out, I feel pretty crappy about myself… But then second I tackle it, BOOM – HELLO HOT STUFF! I am a super model in my mind! LOL!!!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..Sharing The SamePlateMy Profile

  7. Chloe Jeffreys July 29, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    Absolutely! If you are unhappy with yourself, do something! The secrets of good health and fitness are not a secret. You and your sister have tons of tips right here on your blog to start. Plus, you both live your message out loud.

    Does exercise hurt? Yeah, it does. But if you do it often enough it starts to feel really good, and soon you’ll find yourself not feeling good if you don’t exercise.

    That women spend even one precious minute of their lives feeling bad about themselves, but not do anything about it, is baffling. Except for one thing. There are some very good studies out there that indicate that women use self-loathing and poor body image to bond with other women. It’s called “the fat talk”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-di-donato/why-do-women-bond-over-fa_b_4337935.html

    Until we’re willing to admit that we women use other women’s weight as a way to socially control them, I think this weight loss thing will continue to be a conundrum. Until we address the fact that size determines social status and acceptance from other women, I think this weight loss thing will continue to be a conundrum. Until we address “fat talk”, and it’s power over women’s self-esteem and self-image, women will consciously or subconsciously continue to sabotage their own and each other’s health goals.

    As long as weight remains a female social constraint, and not a health issue, I see no change. How can a woman achieve any fitness goals when it’s all tied up in a number on a scale and the number on the back of her dress, and she knows on a visceral level that if she does look her best it will cost her socially with other women?
    Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..BlogHer 14 Recap. Is this the End of BlogHer?My Profile

  8. AlexandraFunFit July 29, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Aaaaack, I just wrote a long reply to this Chloe, and the computer ate it. Suffice to say, I had never thought of it quite like you state, yet realize it’s totally true. We do spend a lot of time negating ourselves, then getting bolstered by our friends. And I do feel guilty when women my age compliment me, even though I’ve worked hard. I know they mean it kindly, yet I feel like I’m being vain or selfish. Fat talk is mean. It has no helpful point to it except to create a hierarchy. Skinny talk has the same purpose. We should be talking about health, which comes in all sizes.
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Speaking of Fitness (to Whoever Will Listen)My Profile

  9. Laura July 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    this is fucking awesome!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  10. Jody - Fit at 56 July 29, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, you both are fun & loving & beautiful & all the rest!!!! :)

    I think self confidence & self acceptance are more complicated than weight & I know you know that. :) For me, I am very fit yet the self love still comes hard due to so many other factors beyond weight & fitness.. :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday, Tolerance and Sharing Instagram LoveMy Profile

  11. AlexandraFunFit July 29, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    Exactly, Jody. I think we women tie weight and health together too much, then compound the issue by tying self-worth into the mix. I am sure that every small step leads in the right direction, whether that’s weight loss, exercise, self-affirmation or more sleep. Just taking control of our decisions. I have a feeling you are way more confident than you might otherwise be due to the fact that you have taken control of your positive exercise choices.
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Wine, Aston Martins and Beaches: A Santa Barbara WeekendMy Profile

  12. Judy Freedman July 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    I really like the ‘I am enough’ campaign. Didn’t get a chance to try the real mirror but took a selfie in my room in front of the mirror!
    Judy Freedman recently posted..Free To Be Me At BlogHer’14 ConferenceMy Profile

  13. AlexandraFunFit July 29, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    My kind of woman, Judy. I am a huge fan of selfies, as my sister can tell you. I think it helps make us 50+ women more visible and shows our vibrancy and sense of whimsy. Good on ya!
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted..I’m Only Losing 1 1/2 Pounds Per Week on my Diet; Is that Enough?My Profile

  14. Tik. July 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    It is not the first time that I learn about a connection between losing weight and confidence (picture on the right side of this page). While weight loss could lead to a certain body type, I think that the advantages may go beyond. This is because I have read that losing weight could have positive health impact on: helping lower blood pressure, help lowering the risk of kidney stones, reduce bad cholesterol, help with the risk of cardiovascular disease, and help with knee pain.

    If you too do not like the idea of being starved by a diet or being enslaved by an extreme workout, check this page out and the video it links to: specialfatloss.com

    Losing weight and keeping it off is what seems to truly count.

  15. Marcia July 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Excellent message! Yes, enough is ENOUGH! We all are!

  16. j gooodman July 29, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    I agree we are all a result of daily activities, small steps that lead to big differences. I need to set daily goals, then weekly, and have some cheat days in between!

  17. bodynsoil July 30, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    I love that you are of the frame of mind that you are enough and happy with what life has brought you. So many people aren’t happy with their physical self and when they look in the mirror all they see is faults and can’t see their beauty; like their glass is half empty instead of half full.

    Taking ownership is a great way to think about many things in life… A lot more can get done with ourselves if we take ownership rather than a large glass of whine… ;)
    bodynsoil recently posted..Quickly create a vest from a scarfMy Profile

  18. Evelyn July 30, 2014 at 4:35 am #

    Hi Alexandra,

    I absolutely LOVE this article. I felt sad, happy and excited at the same time. Is that possible? :-)

    How we feel about ourselves radiates to the outside. You know I’m not a boomer yet, but when I reach the boomer age, I’ll be well on my way of being an awesome boomer.

    You guys rock and I admire what you do.

    Take care,
    Evelyn recently posted..Are You Guilty of Passing Judgement? | Diet and NutritionMy Profile

  19. Kirtley Freckleton @ The Gist of Fit July 30, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    YES! I finally found you guys. You guys were one of my favorites on High Impact Blogging awhile back. I just saw your comment on someone’s blog (Gigi’s?) and got so exciting!
    Love your post, you guys are an inspiration of course, keep it up!!
    Kirtley Freckleton @ The Gist of Fit recently posted..When social pressures ‘force’ you to eat junkMy Profile

  20. Kate - Catching Up With Kate July 30, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    Such a great message – thank you!
    Kate – Catching Up With Kate recently posted..Dinner & a Movie Disney Style : El Capitan TheatreMy Profile

  21. Lillian Connelly July 31, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I love that you walked up to the mirror and had lots of awesome things to say about yourself. I think it has a lot to do with our thought processes. When we think something we become it. I’ve been working on changing the way I think about things and it’s really making a difference. I’ve also been working towards a healthier lifestyle. I am eating better and getting in (at least) my 10,000 steps a day. Now I need to work on getting enough sleep…that’s my biggest challenge.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Lillian Connelly recently posted..BlogHer 14: If You Are Awkward and You Know It Clap Your HandsMy Profile

  22. Gabrielle @ Health As A Lifestyle August 1, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    I love this message, it is so hard for many people to accept. And it is also hard to walk that line between wanting to look and feel good and doing it for others rather than yourself.
    Gabrielle @ Health As A Lifestyle recently posted..Ace Diet Pills: Reviews and InformationMy Profile

  23. Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com August 1, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Hi Alexandra! You are so right. We all make choices every single day and if we don’t like something then it’s up to us to change it (assuming as you say there is no medical issues standing in the way). But until we take full responsibility and ownership–it won’t happen. Good for you for standing proud and telling that mirror what you know and feel inside. Obviously we women of midlife have some major advantages over many younger bloggers! ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted..Avoiding Regrets = A Happier LifeMy Profile

  24. Carol Cassara August 4, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    It’s about health. Bottom line.
    Carol Cassara recently posted..Paging Marcus Welby, MD to our health care systemMy Profile

  25. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta August 5, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    I love this so much. Absolutely, we need to all take responsibility for our health (and our stoopidhead metabolisms). We also need to get real with ourselves and seeing health and fitness as an all or nothing proposition. Yes, you can be fit, trim, and healthy, and no, you’re unlikely to look like that Victoria’s Secret model. And that’s okay. No, it’s better than okay, because we are all enough.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Random Monday: Catching UpMy Profile

  26. Josh August 26, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    I couldn’t agree more! When I’m not taking ownership, eating unhealthy, staying up late and not exercising, I feel terrible. The only way I know I can feel better is by actively taking part in my life, eating healthier, getting to the gym, and getting a good night’s sleep.
    Josh recently posted..2015 Best Pedometer BraceletMy Profile

  27. Dr. Jason Hurst August 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Such a healthy mindset ladies. Many don’t realize or understand what this means to the quality and quantity of your life. These are tips and ideas that all boomers should incorporate into their life. Not only boomers but everyone. Well said!!
    Dr. Jason Hurst recently posted..ADD And ADHD ResourcesMy Profile

  28. Judy Griffin September 10, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    I love your article and your theme of taking ownership of your choices.I so believe it comes down to choices even when you are faced with challenging or tragic circumstances. People always comment on my vivaciousness because I have an unquenchable thirst for living each day to the fullest. As a Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach I encourage women to embrace a healthy lifestyle to live vibrantly & fuel this thirst. Every woman no matter what her circumstance can make a choice to flourish today and beyond 50. Stepping into the next season is about carving out a life that really suits and serves you.
    Judy Griffin recently posted..Flourish: Embracing Ageless Vibrancy with Liz MurrayMy Profile

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday’s Fabulous Five . . . — Let's Talk and Walk - August 1, 2014

    […] Exercise and Confidence in Midlife: I Am Enough by Alexandra – This is truly a great article that all women should read. We are good enough and absolutely awesome, however we are right this moment. We are all special. Seriously, go read this article. […]

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