You know what’s massively heartbreaking? Hearing beautiful, radiant, intelligent women apologizing about their bodies at every turn. I can’t even tell you how many women I’ve come across this summer alone that the first words they even said to me when I approached them was “sorry about _____.” Pinching their cellulite, hiding their arms, and covering up their hips. Really?
Ladies, what are we apologizing for? Where does this come from? (PS: Let us know your thoughts in the comments on Women On Topp!)
Our bodies are simply put a way to bring our energy and personality into the physical world so that we can experience life to its fullest. That’s it.
However, somewhere down the line we have allowed “beauty standards” formed by a warped society and money-hungry industries tell us that we are not good enough the way we are. You know how many industries would shut down if we loved ourselves more? A whole lot.
Our bodies are our longest standing relationship. Every single one of us is made unique and at an untouchable beauty of our own design. Why do we want to fit into a single box?
Unfortunately, having spent many of my own years rewiring my mindset to feel comfortable in my own skin, not stress about calories, and just reach a state of freedom, I can share with you some insight I’ve gained in the hopes that it helps you reach that state of freedom too.
Stressing will only make it worse.
Back in the day, I was the queen of stressing just about everything when it came to my body. I would track every single calorie that was put into my mouth and make sure I found a way to burn them off at some point in my two plus hour days at the gym. I would have an app to help me track and a journal that I would write every food item in, with some basic sticker rewards system for days that I was “on track.” If I even slipped up one tiny bit, I would obsessively binge eat to compensate my frustration and annoyance with myself. I would drown out my self-hatred with food. I can’t tell you how many social invites I declined because I was too scared of over-eating if I went or because I couldn’t miss going to the gym for the hundredth time that day…
It was so self-destructive, ladies! I was hardly seeing food in the simplicity that it is- a way to fuel my body. I didn’t even consider it at the time that food was a healing element to keep me healthy and active. In my bland, undernourished, diet Mountain Dew and plain salad life, I was hardly respecting myself and my health.
I will also share with you that even though the science was being conquered here, more calories burned than consumed, I was still the heaviest I had ever been. Proves that the science doesn’t work when we are constantly stressing our bodies out to be something it doesn’t need to be. Cortisol is a stress hormone that will in fact store fat. Gym burnout is a real thing. Numerous hours at the gym without sustaining a healthy diet in order to do so, will trigger extra cortisol in the body. The more we fight our bodies, the more they’ll fight us.
I challenge you to instead eat in ways that make you feel good not guilty. Yes, this could include indulging in chocolate or whatever treat, but only if you don’t beat yourself up about it or binge on it out of self-hate. Eat in ways that will nourish your body to hold you through your busy days with stable energy. And be grateful for that! Eventually you will get to a place where you don’t need to “track” anything other than how you are feeling.
On days, off days, cheat days.
This was the most toxic cycle I ever encompassed. What is an “on, off or cheat day” even mean? Our days are always changing, just as we are always changing. There will be days that we have no control of and that’s okay. Loosen the edges of your strict diet plan. Eat well, move well—this is the new diet plan.
I used to go crazy if I substituted a “leg day” in place of an “arm day.” Why couldn’t I just be proud of the fact that I worked out that day? I was so set to my diet and fitness plan that any small stray away, positive or negative, would spiral me into a frenzy.
Ladies, drop the idea that there are any kind of labeled days. There aren’t. Truly embellish the mood you are in that day. If you don’t feel like hitting an intense workout that day even though you planned on it, honor your body and take it easy. Do something low impact like a long walk or yoga class. Your body is sending you signals all the time on what it needs. It’s our job to honor that and to take care of ourselves.
You and your body are on the same team, remember that.
Give it time.
So the most challenging part is that this shift in mindset takes time and patience. I was a victim to this mindset for about ten or so years before I just woke up one day and realized all the work I had put in to changing my mindset finally clicked. Comparable to a heartbreak, you can take your friends’ advice, listen to those podcasts, read the books, consult a therapist, wish and want all you want but it has to come from a shift inside you. The more exposure you receive to getting to where you want to be the better, because eventually you won’t have to actively think about it, it will just become naturally.
I wish there was an easy overnight fix, but part of the earned freedom is working through the mindset of why we got ourselves here in the first place. Being able to disengage from the triggers so that we can have continual freedom in the future. I promise you it gets better and easier, and that freedom does really taste sweet. Stick with it, unfollow ridiculous “beauty standards,” appreciate your body for everything that it is rather than everything that it isn’t, and continue to show your relationship love.
You deserve it.
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