Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Fitspiration? Yeah, Not Really
Since my teenage years I have wanted nothing more than to transform the way I look. I wanted to be thin, toned, with perfect hair and teeth (and eyesight). It has taken me years to look in the mirror and be satisfied. In fact, many days I'm not. But I am working on it. And a huge step for me has been learning about and rejecting media that promotes weight-loss for appearance and not for health.
I have wondered why I could never work out consistently. What was I doing wrong? Why couldn't I just work out, eat right and be thin?! What was stopping me? Everyone else seemed to be doing just fine, but not me. Nope. I was dumb, unsuccessful, ugly, fat and a failure.
I've learned why I have never been successful: When focusing only on appearance a real drive for fitness can't exist. The real reason to exercise regularly and eat right is because you want to be healthy. After all, you only have one body. ONE. You don't get any returns or exchanges.
This article by the amazing Kite sisters really helped open my eyes:
We have been going about motivating ourselves the wrong way! Not only that, but the levels of perfection we want to achieve are indeed impossible. Do you hear me?! IMPOSSIBLE.
After reading that article I went through my pinterest boards and deleted all of the "fitspirational" photos I had posted. I realized that many of them were not focusing on actual health goals, but in killing my body to fit some preconceived, media driven belief of what I should look like. I kept up the pictures and quotes that were focused on action and reaching my goals (such as running a 10K).
Once I took "looks" out of my exercise and eating I was shocked at how things have changed. I crave running. I have goals every week, and reaching those goals feels amazing. When I run a mile faster, or add another 1/2 mile to my run without dropping my pace I feel like I have conquered the world. Suddenly, I am empowered. And when I can't make it out on a run, instead of feeling guilty because I know that I didn't burn calories and now I can't eat as much and I am not going to be as skinny as quickly (yeah, that was really my train of thought. How depressing is that?) Now I look at it as a "rest" day. Tomorrow I can push a little harder because I let my body recover a little extra. It isn't the end of the world. It isn't the end of my goals. It isn't even a bump in the road.
I have stopped comparing how I look to anyone else. I don't care if someone even has a similar body type. They do not have my body. My body is different. It needs different things. And if I am eating healthy (with the occasional cake, because everybody needs cake) and exercising regularly then my body is just how it needs to be. I don't need to worry about changing to fit into a certain size. I don't need to worry about looking good in that bathing suit. If my focus is health, happiness and reaching goals then my looks kind of take care of themselves.
Nothing is more beautiful than a happy, confident, healthy woman. And nothing feels better than knowing that you are happy being you. God created you as you are. He gave you the challenges in your life for a reason. He believes you are perfect the way you are. After all, He made you that way. I don't believe you should try to change the wonderful body you have for someone else's idea of perfection. But take care of the body you have now, because it is a gift to you from your Creator.
So, how are you going to stop the comparison, the impossible expectations and consumer driven media from holding you back in your goals?
(Linking up with The Chiffon Diary, and GFC Blog Hop)