There is no magic number on the scale, no perfect amount of lean mass to fat ratio, no perfect dress size that means you are FIT or HEALTHY. When I received the most attention for my body (compliments from some, glares from others), when I kind of, sort of fit into the teeny tiny impossible box society deems FIT or SEXY or HEALTHY, I was at my absolute lowest point mentally and emotionally. I WAS NOT HEALTHY. I was severely self-conscious. I made very unhealthy nutrition decisions…some in the name of health, and others, rebelling against the parameters I had created in my mind as healthy. My outsides appeared to have it all figured out. My insides did not. I felt defeated and suffered from serious body dysmorphia. I also had impostor syndrome and could not subscribe to one darn thing I preached to my clients day in and day out. Since I started climbing out of the hole I put myself in 5 years ago, I came up with some pretty solid rules to help me feel good about the skin I am in…and (more importantly) its contents!
- Move your body IN A WAY THAT SERVES YOU.
There are a million factors that force us to change our schedules on any given day. Working out frequently gets thrown to the back burner. Maybe you didn’t sleep well, or you forgot about something on your calendar that conflicts with your scheduled workout. You have several different options here…and here is the important part…NONE OF THEM ARE WRONG. If you choose to reschedule a previous commitment to make movement a priority, that is okay! If you choose to pay the late cancel fee at your studio and walk with your neighbor instead, that is okay too! Or maybe all you can muster is a few rounds of sun salutations naked in the bathroom while your shower warms up. Just MOVE … and then be proud of yourself that you did it.
- Delete, unfriend, and unfollow with abandon.
If you find yourself returning to negative thoughts and comparison every time you look at a certain person on social media, TAKE THEM OUT OF YOUR FEED. You don’t need that in your life. And most likely, they don’t intend to make you feel that way. So I promise, they will not be mad at you … and if they are then good riddance.
- Focus on what your body can DO, not how it LOOKS.
Write down three things you are proud your body can do and stick it to your vanity mirror. Maybe you carry your 40-pound son up the stairs every night because the only place he will fall asleep is in your arms, or you planted a garden this spring, or you can still do a full split 20 years past your gymnastics days. If it makes you smile, and it has nothing to do with your outside appearance, write it down, and revisit it when negative thoughts surface.
- Don’t set a goal.
Embrace where you are. Right here. Right now. There is a time and a place for goal setting. It is also exhausting. There is something to be said for being present, in the moment, and content.
- Understand learning is never linear, and your memory can be short.
Give yourself grace to learn and relearn and learn again. Sometimes the journey is a year, sometimes a day, sometimes an hour. Be your own cheerleader and know that FOR SURE, no one is going to be as hard on you as you are on yourself. Find a mantra that snaps you out of the shame cycle and say it to yourself in those moments of self-deprecation.
Your body has done and will do great things, and that, my friend, is beautiful.