A friend of mine posted this onto her Facebook page the other day, and I quickly shared it with my own friends, and dug deep about what being healthy means to me.
Most of my teen years and early adulthood were spent in comparison with other females. It’s something that most girls do. Do I measure up? Am I worthy? Is she skinnier than me? Are my breasts the smallest in the group? (For me, this was always a yes. Alas, God decided my cups would never runneth over.)
If I made the decision to work out, I never thought about my health. I tried to witter away at my chunky thighs, a genetic gift. I’d lament over my round hips. I wanted to be attractive, and sexy. I wanted to be super hot. I wanted to be someone that people would envy. As I said earlier, most girls are in this mindset, whether they would admit to that or not. No one talks about it, but it’s there all the same.
After having Ben, I tried desperately to get as thin as I could. While he’d nap, I would work out. FitTv was my best friend. We’d go for power walks with friends. I would eat, yet only when Ben did because I didn’t have much of an appetite. I lost all the baby weight, and 10+ pounds on top of that. My pants slid right off over my hips. That had never happened to me in my entire life.
I had gone to visit with a couple of friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and when I walked into their office, they were astonished at my appearance. Instantly, the questions flew around the room. Are you eating? Are you OK? One friend said to me, “You look TERRIBLE.” I was confused and dismayed by their behavior. Were they jealous that I’d lost so much weight, and was skinny? Maybe even skinnier than they were? That had to be it. It was the comparison game, only this time, I wasn’t the girl with the biggest butt anymore.
Yet, I didn’t feel “victorious”. Through that period of getting thin and attempting to get into shape, I never felt good about myself. Who was I losing this weight for? Was I even doing this for me, or for everyone else’s approval? I kept thinking back to a time where I had more meat on my bones, yet I felt beautiful, inside and out. And it seemed to me that those around me felt that way about me, too.
So, I let that all go. I let these preconceived notions that I have to be a certain size or shape fly away. I will never be a size 2, and my thighs might never be as taut or toned as I’d like them to be. I had to really focus on what being healthy meant, and meant to ME, not to anyone else.
For me, it means surrounding myself with people who love me, no matter what shape I may be. People who encourage me, and understand my love of fitness. I enjoy the benefits I see from taking my strength training classes, and I appreciate the endurance I’ve found from running. I don’t compare my body to someone else’s, and I hope anyone around knows I don’t compare their body to my own (although I may admire the skill and strength I’ve seen).
This doesn’t mean I won’t have days where I don’t wish for more muscular legs, or tighter arms, because I’m human. I do want to look good when I wear a bikini, but the difference is, I want to look good for ME, not for YOU. Once you are able to find that inner strength and beauty inside yourself, it will exude outwards.
There’s just nothing sexier.
In Tone Zone class today, we worked on pyramid moves. So, as an example, for legs, we did plie squats (toes turned out, legs in a wide stance) from 1-10. You do one squat, then pulse at the bottom for one second, then stand up. Do two squats, pulse at the bottom for 2 seconds, then stand. Do this until you hit 10. You can choose to use weights while doing this (I had 5’s), or, no weights at all. It’s challenging all on it’s own.