I am not perfect. Thank you Captain Obvious, right? Of course I’m not perfect, no human is perfect. I think that people who have health or fitness blogs sometimes get put on this pedestal as totally in sync with all things nutrition and exercise. This could not be farther from the truth, at least for me. Yes, I have figured some things out and I have better health than I ever did before, but I still struggle daily and have a lot of learning and growing to do when it comes to my health. That is what I love about health, it’s a journey that we all have to go through and evolve as our health evolves.
That being said, I wanted to share a personal post with you today. I have gone back and forth about whether or not to talk about this, but I have decided that in order for me to move forward I have to get this out in the open. No one likes to admit that they struggle or have issues, but we all have them so there should be nothing to be ashamed of if you have to say, “Hey, I’m dealing with this right now.” It’s a part of the process of working through that struggle.
I have shared my story with weight loss/gain and my issues with self-image before. I have come leaps and bounds from the girl I was back then to who I am now. That is why it has troubled me that some self-image issues have started to pop back into my life. I have noticed lately that I am becoming very focused on the way my body looks. I spend more time looking in the mirror, zeroing in on what I believe to be my imperfections. I find my thoughts turning to things like “How do I look in this outfit?” or “Are people staring at my stomach?” Because of my past with these struggles, I know that this is a dark and unhealthy road to start down.
It’s tough in a society that places a very high value on looks to NOT think about your appearance, but I do not want to place all the blame on other people or the world. Yes, they contribute to the problem, but they aren’t the only factor. For me, I seem to have this distorted and unrealistic view of what I should look like. This is partly due to constantly looking at airbrushed models when I was younger and believing that woman truly looked like that. Luckily over the years I have gotten wiser and know that there is no possible way that any woman can have the body that is portrayed in so many magazines and other media. So why am I having a problem now, knowing all that I know and going through all that I have gone through?
The simple answer is, I’m not totally sure. I think though that I will always have to battle my self-image demons and the little voice that whispers to me that I should look a certain way. I have fought that little voice before, so I know that I can do it again. How am I going to try and work through this? I want to shift my thoughts from what I look like to what I can physically do. I was thinking about that this week and I was shocked at all the things my body can do that I never thought was possible before.
I can run over 6 miles in less than 50 minutes. When I first started running, I could barely get through one mile without dying. I can touch my toes (and some days even the floor) and hold difficult yoga poses, like the wheel, for a significant period of time. I could barely do downward dog when I first began yoga. I can hold a plank, and do some advanced variations, for 5 consecutive minutes. I used to collapse after a minute of planks (if you could call barely raising my body off the floor a plank). I can do a headstand and barely need to use a wall for support any more. A month ago I struggled to even get my feet off the floor, let alone above my head. These are just a few of the things I thought of that I can do. When I look at all the things I have accomplished in the last few years, it doesn’t seem so important to have washboard abs or buns of steel. Not to toot my own horn, but I can do some pretty amazing things that have NOTHING to do with the way I look.
Furthermore, I have so much more knowledge about how to live a healthy lifestyle. I can move through a kitchen with ease and create a delicious and nutritious meal. I can give others advice and help on how to live a healthier life. I started a blog that, hopefully, motivates and inspires my readers to change for the better. None of these things are dependant on the way I look.
I know that there are some of you reading this right now who are going through self-image problems. You look in the mirror and don’t like what you see staring back at you. You hate the thought of other people looking at you, believing they are constantly judging the way you look. You wish there was some way you could look like someone else and finally be happy. Trust me, I’ve been there, and done that, and am still there sometimes. I encourage you to look at other things in your life that have nothing to do with your looks. Find all the accomplishments and amazing things that you can do that don’t hinge on your reflection in the mirror. For me, those accomplishments have made me feel empowered and I think that your achievements can give you a strength that you might not have realized you had. Don’t stop there either. Once you have listed your awesomeness, make new goals. That way you can work towards something and feel super proud of yourself when you have another item to add to your awesome list. Me? I am going to turn that headstand into a handstand and not use the wall for support. I am going to work towards running 10 miles and then a half-marathon. I am going to continue to expand my knowledge of health and nutrition and share it with as many people as I can. I am going to work on not judging the way I look and start focusing on all that I can do. Because I am so much more than just a reflection in the mirror.