A New Reason to Love My Body


Every person has a different relationship with their body. During the last few years, mine has gone through several changes. After I quit dancing, which I used to do seven days per week, I noticed immediate changes that I did not like. Between running, yoga, weight lifting, tabatta, and clean eating, I work hard to maintain a healthy body. Still, like most people, I could easily name several body parts that I wish I could change before wearing a bikini.

My arms have long been a source of insecurity for me and frequently deter me from purchasing sleeveless tops. I know that I have muscle and muscle is indeed better than fat and weighs more than fat; but this is not about weight. I thought that it doesn’t matter that I can do more push-ups than the guy next to me in my fitness class, because I have never had the slender, toned limbs of a Victoria Secret Model. Then one day in a dressing room with my mom, it hit me: I have my mother’s arms! My beautiful, wonderful mother’s arms! Now, why on Earth should I be ashamed of my arms when they were inherited directly from my favorite person in the universe?

I have always been fascinated by genetics and how traits are passed from parents to offspring. In a room with a large group of children and their parents, I love trying to figure out who is the offspring of which parents, based on appearances. The fact is genetics plays a huge role in both how and where we gain weight, as well as in the development of our proudest assets.

Like my mother, the first place I gain weight is my lower belly, another source of my bikini insecurities. However, not one negative thought has ever crossed my mind in regards to my mother’s belly. As far as I’m concerned, she has always been in great shape and absolutely lovely. I am lucky to have inherited any looks from her.

Another thing that I inherited from her is my appetite. We are eaters. We appreciate homemade bread, funky and creamy cheeses, and good wine. Our lunch dates are never complete without a chocolate dessert. In our house, it’s a crime to not eat at least half a loaf of homemade bread within the first day while it’s still warm and fresh. At any event involving delicious food, you will hear one or both of us make an announcement as we go in for our second or third plate, “Oh my gosh, I am so full. I’m not even hungry but the food is just so good I just need a little more!” While I do try to eat healthy most of the time, I am my mother’s daughter. Life is short and we are not trying to deny ourselves the simple pleasures of eating good food.

It is so important to remember the role that DNA plays in shaping our bodies, both physically, and mentally. As I have grow older, I appreciate the comments I receive about how I look “just like” my mother. I’m not saying I go around flaunting my arms and wearing crop tops now, but I have come to peace with these parts that I once considered flaws as I realize they are precious gifts from the woman I love most.


Annaliese Stockmeier: 90’s Rom-Com Fanatic, Tabata Aficionada, and Chicago Foodie. The next Rick Steves. Please call me Smalls.