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Forty, Fit and Fabulous


At least that's what my social media pages will lead you to believe. But it's not just me - social media influencers are probably the worst. But you can't blame them - that's how they make their money. You - the world - get the polished, often times filtered and perfectly posed, version of the person posting the content. That is what followers want to see. But think about it, why would people want to share the plain, unexciting version of themselves? For one thing - have you seen the trolls on social media? People are mean. Add a million miles of cyber space between two people going back and forth on Instagram or Facebook and it can get down right UGLY. Using social media opens yourself up to a world of potential hurt. Don't get me wrong - there is plenty of good. But one negative comment can erase 100 kind comments in a split second.

I digress. Back to my original intent of this blog. Forty, Fit and Fabulous. That's me! And I am proud to say it. But you need to know something about me - it's taken me 40 years to learn how to love myself. Did you know more than 1 in 4 women (27%) started struggling with negative body image issues when they were just 10 years old or younger.* I am part of that statistic. And there is a good chance you are too. I can still remember the day I came home from school (I was in 8th grade) and saw that my mom bought a scale for our bathroom. Little did I know when I stepped on the scale that day it was the beginning of a roller coaster love hate relationship with my body.

At 17 I was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Basically - the image you see and the image I see of myself are completely different. And you can't just convince someone with BDD that what they see is silly and irrational. Wouldn't that be fantastic if it was that easy? Over the years I have dealt with BDD, eating disorders and low self esteem. I've had highs and lows. But right now I want to talk about the highs.

I turned 40 in December 2023. 40! I remember when I thought 40 was old. Boy was I wrong. I am in my prime and the best shape of my life. But that didn't happen overnight. The past 3 months (yes, in November 2023) I committed to taking better care of myself - not just physically but mentally. And because of BDD I can't do one without the other. The first step was deciding whether I wanted to continue life in the direction it was going - making excuses for why I wasn't going to the gym, making excuses for why I needed to eat 3 boxes of thin mint cookies (no offense Girl Scouts - I promise I will still order!) and basically waking up every day not knowing what kind of day I was going to have. (My poor husband.) There was no magic pill (trust me - I've probably tried them all - anyone remember Metabolife?) It took discipline, commitment and work. Be on the lookout for another blog recapping my 3.5 long journey to 40, Fit and Fabulous where I'll share my daily logs, struggles, results and the day it became a lifestyle and no longer "something I was forcing myself to do."

Does this mean I will never struggle another day in my life? Absolutely not! I expect many more highs and lows. (Sorry Jason - but thanks for putting up with me and loving me through all my crazy.) But I also know I have the tools (who am I kidding - it's an arsenal by now) to get me through another low leaving me a little bit stronger than the time before. I also know I am not the only one who deals with these kinds of struggles. And some people don't feel comfortable sharing about it because it is embarrassing (I mean come on... there are way worse mental health issues like PTSD and depression... and here I am complaining about body image issues, right?) and can leave you vulnerable to social media trolls. I want you to know you aren't alone. And remember the next time you are scrolling through social media - you are seeing the 200th filtered selfie that made the final posting cut.


Coffee Break

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

There is no telling what we'll blog about next.  Whatever it is, I can assure you we will be giving you genuine Van Family anecdotes on life, marriage, fitness, raising kids, hobby farming and more.  We don't claim to be experts in any of the topics... but we do hope you get to know us, see that we have faults, make mistakes and disagree.  But we also have fun, try new things, come up with wild ideas and eat sushi 3x a week.  

Grab your favorite beverage and join us in our adventures as you read along. 

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