There are days when I wake up and cannot do anything other than pick at my flaws: poking and prodding my stomach, squeezing my face, fussing with my hair. We all have days like this, where we wake up just to be our own own worst enemy. During my college years I used to have these days A LOT and they were even worse whenever I got back on a Fitness plan or tried to eat healthy. I used to spend endless minutes looking at myself in the mirror, picking at all the body parts I did not like or I felt needed work. I used to post mean notes on my corkboard– “If You Keep Eating Like a Pig You’ll Always Be Fat” or “Skip the Gym, Keep Your Ass.” I was tearing myself down as a way to keep myself “motivated.” I managed to lose about 20 lbs by changing my eating habits and sporadically going to the gym. It was great of course but I still kept asking myself why I could not be born as one of those skinny girls who could eat whatever they want. Did I not want it enough?
Instead of aiding my progress, tearing myself down just made me feel worse about my body and everything I had accomplished. Funny enough, when I learned to use exercise as a way to empower and love myself I started to see the results I wanted! These days I do not use exercise as a form of punishment, or as a way to burn off that “guilt-ridden food”. The complete opposite really. I use exercise as a way to reflect on my goals, to unlock the best version of me, and to indulge if I so want to. When I slip up or do not get the results I want I take the time out to see where I could have improved. For example, September 2014 was a rough month and instead of taking the time to deal with stress in a constructive way I fell back on emotional eating. When it came time to check in with my Team Works coach, it was clear that I had lost sight of my goals. So I went back, looked over my goals and decided what I could do better in October. Setbacks are no longer a reason for me to give up because I know that those are the times when my goals gain perspective.
It is possible to love yourself, and to love your body at this very moment while wanting to improve. I want to change my body not because I hate it but because I love what my body does for me day in and day out and I feel I deserve the best physique possible. I feel my body deserves the ultimate care whether that be through nutritious foods or through a good workout. Working out does not have to be about losing weight or burning calories, it can simply be about connecting with yourself, boosting your heart, and warding off disease.
Since changing my perspective on working out and eating, I have been more consistent with my workouts and nutrition than I ever was in college. I used to start my fitness journey, and then quickly lose steam. Currently, I have been consistently working out since April 2013. I have lost 30lbs and close to 10% body fat but it does not even come close to what I have gained. I appreciate the journey and off scale successes much more. I jump for joy when I start seeing definition in a place where it did not use to be or when I can bench more than the month before or when I can run faster. I came to realize that if I want to build a body for life, then I cannot force it to happen overnight.
So if you want some real results love what you have now. Do it to be your best self not to destroy yourself.