No More Dara Torres

For the past four years or possibly even more, there has been a photograph of Dara Torres on my fridge. Dara Torres in a bikini. I believe the photo was taken during her last Olympic games, or possibly during her training which led up to those games. I know she was over forty and she was definitely fabulous. She was the epitome of everything I was striving for: strong, fit, gorgeous, talented, a winner.

But as menopause drew closer and closer, I felt my body careening off course. Instead of approaching the perfection of Dara, I was headed off into the ditch. I was gaining weight despite constant exercising. I was tired, bloated, and discouraged.

Starting in January of 2014, I made some changes.

I started off the year with a month of Whole 30. This dietary challenge forced me to confront my sugar addiction. The first time I tried to get off all sugars and all sweeteners, I couldn't last a full month. But this time was different. I was at least ten pounds overweight and extremely unhappy about it. I was very motivated. So I quit not only sugar, but alcohol, grains, legumes, additives, preservatives, all processed foods. And by the end of the 30 days, I had cured my addiction. I was no longer craving sweet treats at the end of each day.

And I'm happy to say, the cure stuck. Nine months later, I am still sugar-free. (With the exception of the occasional scoop of Four Bean Salad!) For the most part, I don't crave anything sweet, and when I do, I can just eat a small amount of fruit. I never bake treats, not even Paleo approved desserts. I know if I have that stuff around, I'll just scarf it up. Instead, I snack on pistachios, plantain chips, grapes or cherries, and the rare, tiny square of very dark chocolate. Although I might have an occasional glass of wine or a beer, my nightly beverage is a mug of decaf green tea.

I haven't stepped on the scale in months and I have no plan to. I have arrived at a place where I feel confident and happy in my body. I like the way I look now. I may not be perfect. I'm no Dara Torres. But I no longer strive to become something I'm not. I'm a little more curvy, not quite as cut, but this is me.

So I took Dara down. She no longer stares at me from my refrigerator door, mocking me with a bikini body I'll never achieve. Because I have something even better now. I have made peace with my own body. My real, flesh-and-bone body. (Maybe a bit more flesh than bone, but that's okay.) I wish the same for all of you.