If you were to get know me on a real personal level you would probably learn that I am MUCH better at giving advice than I am at taking advice; even my own advice!
So it would come as no surprise to you to find out that I was preaching the importance of feeling good over looking good, but wasn’t putting it to practice in my own life.
Just like every other human in the world, I too fell prey to a negative body image.
Before becoming a mother I NEVER thought about my body.
After having children, it was ALL I thought about.
I didn’t look the same. I didn’t feel the same. For years I struggled to love my body.
I didn’t love my body. I hated my body. I cursed myself for not being more active during my pregnancies. I foolishly belief that genetics would keep me in perfect shape.
I tried every diet/fad/trend/workout. While I was able to achieve my target weight I still hated my body.
At the time I lived in an environment where I was one of the smallest people I knew, so sharing my struggles would not have been met with sympathy.
Because I was “skinny” I should be healthy, right?
However, I didn’t feel healthy. In fact, I felt far from healthy. I had terrible digestive issues, constant aches and pains (Shoulders, back, etc.) which I had grown accustomed to ignoring, recurring headaches or migraines, stiff joints, weakness, and fatigue (These were all just my physical symptoms).
I thought that if I could just have a flatter stomach or tone thighs, etc that I would feel better and be happy.
Again, I tried every diet/fad/trend there was.
But I was eating for the wrong reasons; exercising for the wrong goals.
I don’t remember exactly when I felt the shift, but one day I just gave up. I was done. I was exhausted from trying and tired of worrying.
SO I QUIT!
Yes, you read that correctly! I quit.
I quit caring about how I looked. I had a new goal in mind.
I wanted to FEEL good. I wanted to feel STRONG.
I had so many ailments and “little” problems that affected me on a daily basis. I started targeting my weak muscles and what hurt.
I did deep yoga stretches and I worked on improving my posture.
I realized the reason I was so weak was because I was not getting enough protein in my diet. I found what was causing my digestive issues and worked to crowd out food that made my stomach feel bad and replaced them with foods that didn’t make me feel bad when I ate them.
I went through ALL of my aches and pains; adding and taking things away as I found what worked and what didn’t work for me.
What seemed to help me take my own advice this time around was that I started slowly; very slowly as not to burn myself out and give up. I let it grow from there.
If all I was able to do that day was two push ups and five squats, then that was all I did and (here is the real secret to success here) I DIDN’T beat myself up about.
I added meditation to help with my focus, anxiety, and mindfulness.
I kept doing just a little amount every day.
I worked to build positive habits instead of starting a diet or workout routine. I knew for me to feel healthy I would have to stay active and make the right choices; not just for now, but for the rest of my life. I didn’t want it to feel like a complete change of life situation (because change can be overwhelming) so I started with baby steps.
I’ve been on this particular journey for only a few short weeks now and the results are amazing. I feel the best I’ve felt since before I had children.
And the things is, turns out it works!
Focusing on feeling better HAS been a stronger motivator for me than focusing on my appearance.
But here is the kicker: By making myself feel better I simultaneously made myself look better.
I have stopped weighing myself altogether. I threw my scale in the garage and never looked back.
If I were to give any advice at all it would be this:
Focus on the foods and exercises that make you feel good afterwards. Play around with what works for you and what doesn’t. Just remember: What works for someone else may not work for you.
Let feeling good be your goal and you might find that looking good just comes naturally!