This blog post is dedicated to women over 40. It includes a guest post by entrepreneur, Stephanie Radkay, founder of her Los Angeles based active wear clothing line, Actio926.
I met Stephanie a few weeks ago while interviewing her for a feature piece on Actio926 in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press. I loved her after the first two minutes of our conversation and here’s why. Stephanie loves women. She respects and admires us. She cares about us. She is rooting for us.
Here was just one of the things she said to me:
“If someone is wearing my brand, it’s my way of giving you a hug and saying, ‘Hey, I’m here. I’m by your side. You’ve got this,’ whether it’s a your first 5K, your first Zumba class, starting a new job, or anything you want to achieve.”
Something Stephanie and I talked about was how we both feel women are way too tough on themselves when it comes to our bodies. We all obsess about how we wish our bodies looked younger and thinner, when in truth, most women fail to do two things:
1. Focus on health versus appearance: Eating healthy—nourishing our bodies with vitamin rich foods and using food as medicine will not only improve overall health, chronic conditions and immune systems, but weight loss becomes a side effect. I found that if I eat healthy for a few weeks and forget about calories or weight loss, all of a sudden I look in the mirror and say, “Wow, I lost 5 pounds. How did that happen?”
2. Appreciate and celebrate our good parts: The other day I was in a strength class and my instructor says, “Jackie, look at your biceps.” Instead of saying thank you for the compliment, my gut reaction was to grab my arm fat and say, “Yea, but how do I get rid of this?” Women’s bodies are beautiful and should be celebrated. They don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be healthy and liked by you.
Activity helps the body release endorphins, which feels like a natural high. Who doesn’t want to feel high without the hangover? Activity helps move the toxins out of our system and strengthens the heart. Who doesn’t want to fend off disease? The best part about being active – it is measurable.
And, when it’s measurable you can watch your progress and feel good about yourself as you hit new goals.
I’m not talking about going out and running a marathon….I am talking about taking one class and feeling exhausted, but going back again and feeling less exhausted and building up the muscles and the endurance. Working out is for you AND it has a ripple effect.
It’s contagious….friends around you want in….your children want to emulate you….instead of eating all that shit and sitting around lethargically you get to have fun doing it with others which helps hold you accountable.
It’s the best vicious cycle around!
But what to wear when you are getting active? People feel even more motivated when they look put together. They feel better about themselves, take themselves more seriously and the clothing is meant to support the activity. It can pull the sweat away, support the muscles, keeping them warmer, help tuck in the muffin top, reduce the chafing, etc. There is a purpose. And, I throw in another motivator…I add a subliminal message in my prints “move me to my core” to fire you up when you are wearing it!
The harder you work towards your goal, the more important it becomes emotionally to strive harder toward that goal and push forward. The awesome side effect is looking better on the outside and getting healthier on the inside. Unfortunately as we get older, genetics play a role, too. In other words, I am a marathon runner, but I have cellulite. It’s a fact but it doesn’t stop me from wearing shorts because that is what I am comfortable in when I run. I am okay with it because I know I work hard and I love the results I CAN create.
What Stephanie and I want to know is: What do you like about your body and why?
Why did I pick this question? Because I want women over 40 to celebrate and appreciate your bodies! Focus on what you have and on your health-not your flaws or magazines with air-brushed models or what you think men will think of you. Relationships over 40 are so much more emotionally based. In other words, there’s so much more acceptance, and a much larger focus on inner-beauty. Men and women over 40 love on a deeper level, in my opinion. It’s really quite beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, bodies still matter, but ask any guy over 40 if he prefers a killer body on a woman or someone who is loving, sweet and warm.
One last kicker I’ll leave you with: I once read an article that said men see women 10 pounds thinner than women see themselves. So there, you just lost 10 pounds!
I like my body because it is the body God gave me and he put me in charge of it. I choose to eat healthy and exercise daily, so I know my body is in good shape. I also know that I can get it into even better shape if I want to put in the work. It’s all up to me because I am in control.
There are a couple of things I like about my body. No, make that four things I like about my body; my children! My body has been the host to four children. As I look at my young adult kids, it Amazes me that they are part of me and their father. No one else has kids that look like mine, yet millions of women have children. I may not always feel good in my skin, I may not always like the fact that I am more of a “fullest deal” than just a “muffin top”.
But when I look at my kids, I love that they came from me! I’m amazed and blessed by each of them.
I love my eyes because when someone knows me all they have to do is look at my eyes and know how I am feeling. I also love my strong thighs because they keep me balanced, strong and flexible doing my job
I am not over 40. I am a 35 yr old, single mother but, I thought it would be fun to join the conversation. I love my body because, aside from the fact I haven’t had a date, or been kissed, or been with a man in over three years, I know my body has still “got it”. When I go to Zumba class, I catch glimpses of myself in the mirror doing the salsa or, popping my hips with a belly dancing move and know that I am sexy in my own unique way. I am glad that my body can move and groove.
I love my c-section scars. They not only show how three of my four beautiful boys were born, but how strong I am. I was cut open to give life. I am a mother and a warrior.
i love my skin. I’m 47 so I’m not without lines and dis coloring. But my skin shows who I am. My c-section scar shows that I gave birth to two beautiful daughters. My melasma shows that I have estrogen and love the sun! My scars on my knees show that I was a tomboy as a kid and played hard. My lines by my eyes and mouth show that I smile- a lot- even my daughters call them my laugh lines. And my lines on my forehead reflect the concern I’ve shown for others throughout my life as a friend, lover, mother and counselor. My skin is like the story of my life.
Congratulations Sandy and Amy! You are the winners. Stephanie will be emailing you to arrange for your prizes. Thank you to everyone who participated! Your answers were beautiful!
Thank you!! I just got her email and am so excited to wear her clothing with pride. Thanks for celebrating women!!
Yay!! I look forward to getting her email. Thank you!