I've spent the majority of my adult life on some diet. I think I may have tried 15 different diets in an effort to be skinny. Skinny was more important than health, more important than strong, more important than sleep. Being skinny was my top priority in life. I stopped breastfeeding my second child early so I could take diet pills and lose my pregnancy weight. I was so brainwashed into believing that being skinny should be a woman's most important quest that I put everything else on the back burner. I spent hours on the treadmill. The more calories I burnt the skinnier I would become. I ate Lean Cuisine and canned soup for lunch, small salads for dinner. I took ephedra (before it was banned) for much longer than recommended. I suffered through the jitters every day just so I would lose weight. I fully admit how crazy this sounds. Forty three year old me wants to take 26 year old me by the hand and take her for a long walk and have a nice, long conversation. I'm certain my behavior back then may have taken a year or two off my life expectancy. Who knows.
After my liver resection in 2013, a lot of things changed for me. I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, worked as the in-house nutritionist for a doctor's office and worked with countless people on their weight loss and health journeys. I became a kickboxing instructor and am now in the happy position to combine my passions. I love to teach these classes, help provide people an outlet for their daily stresses and to make some nutritional recommendations as well.
Every time a new client walks in the door at our kickboxing studio, I am curious to understand where they're coming from, what their goals are, and how I can help them reach their goals. And I started noticing something in particular that makes me sad every time. I work with mostly women but also with a few men here and there. The women usually feel bad about their bodies. They are ashamed to show off their curves. They are the ones to warn me that they will probably suck at their first class. They apologize for making my job more difficult. Some go as far as to tell me they take up too much space in life.
I have never heard a man say such a thing. Sure, they want to get in shape. But they give their bellies a friendly pat. Their confidence is always strong. Their goal is never to be more confident. They never apologize for taking up too much space.
Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with men having such confidence. I have an issue with women not having it. The fact that they are so much more insecure and apologetic simply shows me that I am far from being alone in my own insecurities of the past and those that I'm still struggling with. And I want even more to help women become a better version of themselves not only physically but emotionally. I want women to give their bellies a friendly pat. That doesn't mean they shouldn't try to build muscle and burn fat. It simply means that they will be so much more comfortable on their journey because they don't have to hate who they are right now in this moment.
This is why I will start a series of posts on body positivity. I will talk about what this means, what you can actively do to be more at peace with who you are right now, and what you can do nutritionally and emotionally to get to where you want to be. Thank you for joining me.
Have a wonderful day.
"I'm so fat! I look disgusting!" Be honest, how often have thoughts like this crossed your mind as you looked at your reflection in the mirror? The future will be better, because in the future you will have lost 20, 40, 60lbs and you will look so much better. And if you look better, you'll feel better about yourself. You'll be able to fit into the skinny jeans, the little black dress. You wouldn't admit these thoughts to anyone around you. These thoughts are secret. They are nobody's business. Others don't need to know about your self-destructive talk.
Newsflash! You won't feel better about yourself when you lose that weight. You'll find something else that is wrong with you. Now that you've lost the weight, you'll want to lose the flab. You'll want the six pack abs. You'll still see your imperfections. Sure, you'll be excited about the clothes you fit into now. But at home, naked in front of the mirror, the little nagging voice is still there, still bugging you that you are not quite right the way you are.
The Wellness Cycle
Isn't it high time you started loving you now? Wouldn't it be nice to learn to look into that mirror and thank your body for its hard work? Wouldn't you love to be able to look into your own eyes and say with conviction, "I love you."? Wouldn't it be grand, if weight loss was just a positive side effect of your healthy lifestyle rather than the one thing that you want for happiness? Weight loss alone will not give you happiness. It will not make you suddenly love you. The love for you has to be there already. The love for you is the biggest most important thing in the world. If you don't love you, how can you possibly be kind to yourself when you don't live up to your own expectations? Won't you just stand there and look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, "I knew you'd fail. What did I expect?"
And would you ever say this to your spouse, your kids, your friends?
I'm asking you to start your day with a positive message to yourself. Practice looking at your beautiful, hard working body and say, "I love you, now and forever." When you do it every day, it becomes a habit. When it's a habit, it is no longer difficult. You deserve to be loved by you. Love from others is nice but it can disappear just like that. It is not guaranteed. But your own love for yourself will never go away. You will have that until the day you die.