This time last year, I remember wanting to feel healthy and fit so badly, I often cried. It wasn’t physically impossible for me, yet I was always frustrated that I couldn’t achieve this one good thing that I wanted for myself. If loving your body wasn’t an actual full-time job, health and fitness journeys would be a heck of a lot easier. What I’ve learned is that there is a message and a lesson in everything.
Back to last year.
I was a 10th grade biology teacher and the teacher life was my life. This meant that if I wasn’t teaching, creating PowerPoints and lesson plans, tutoring after school, grading papers or chugging down massive amounts of coffee, I was…
I’m just being honest.
The ability to sleep was such a sacred thing to me, that it had become non-negotiable to sleep in. I had no motivation to wake up early. For whatever reason. Even to workout.
If I committed to morning workouts, I would have to be up at 3:30am to be able to drive to the gym and get there by 4am and leave by 5am to get a good hour sweat sesh in. I would also need to allow time for coming back home, showering, getting ready for work and would need to leave the house again by 6am.
Well, I didn’t even attempt this because I knew I didn’t want to do it.
Better yet, I knew I couldn’t commit to that.
Oh, and forget about going to bed early, that was never attainable for me. Yes, I know how important sleep is for health, but I’m not saying that this particular season in my life was a healthy point either, because it wasn’t.
I was also eating out almost every day because I barely had time to cook a decent meal. Something I didn’t even do in college. I barley meal planned because I told myself that I didn’t have the time and felt like I didn’t have the energy.
I regularly left work around 4pm, and remember being so hungry and desperate for food that I just got what was closest to me. This started up a massive collection of Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, Wendys, McDonalds, TocoBell and PizzaHut receipts. 😉
Connivence was my top priority because I was always felt pressed for time. Looking back, there is no wonder as to why I didn’t have enough energy for workouts. If you’re not fueling your body correctly, what can you expect?
Enter the weekends.
I could actually workout at whatever time I wanted, but didn’t. I just wanted to sleep in, enjoy my plans and whatever the day had to bring. I unintentionally blocked the fact that being healthy and fit could actually help me enjoy my weekends even more. Little did I know, it was the missing piece to the puzzle in my life.
When I walked past a mirror, all I saw was all the weight I lost from stress and anxiety. I had been a solid 145-150lb girl and now weighed about 130lb. This was a weight that I actually once said would be my goal weight back in college. This was also determined after watching some fitness videos online because “I wanted to look as lean as they did.” 🙁
I looked at myself in disgust. Although I shed the body-fat I wanted, I still didn’t love my body. I’ve always envisioned myself being strong, healthy, fit and athletic looking. What I saw was a girl that was barely able to fit her clothes and had no muscle definition.
The next 6 months would prove to be a long lesson in body image and acceptance. I’ve been training my mind to only focus on controlling the things I can, and not the things I can’t. #summer16 was revolutionary for me. I can’t describe it other than something just clicked inside of me. My drive and commitment to achieving my health and fitness goals no matter how long it takes or how often I fall off, increased.
My eyes are now consistently on the prize with an extreme amount of focus, something that I appreciate. It doesn’t mean that I don’t fall off or that I’m perfect – who is? It means that I changed my mindset about health and fitness which lead to a revolutionary transformation for me in my journey.
Here is what I’ve learned about what it takes to love your body through all the seasons in your life. You are good enough. When you are in the most amazing shape in your life and also when other areas in your life take priority.
1. Being okay with your body without lifting or dieting.
There will be seasons in your life where health and fitness will realistically not take the top priority. For example, being a new student, a new mom, moving to a new state/city, adjusting to a new job, going through personal hardships, experiencing physical limitations, the list can go on and on. Your body will take a hit, but each season in your life is meant to prepare you for the next one. The most important thing you can do if health and fitness is something in the back of your mind through your circumstance is tip #2.
2. Focus on whatever is in your control.
It’s easy to get in a cycle of beating yourself up about the number of days you’ve missed getting active and shaming your body when you are not eating well. This will drive you crazy!
If I allow myself to, I can get really anxious about not being in the same shape as I was this past summer, because I was hitting the gym way more frequently. Now is the time to begin to only focus on what you can control in every situation. You can control the health and fitness information you take in to help you reach your goals. You can’t control whatever happened with your body in the past because it’s already done.
Have I mentioned that I’m so happy you are here? 😍🙌🏽
3. When you don’t feel good enough, you are being too hard on yourself.
Who are you trying to be anyway? Some ideal image in your head? Some ideal body type from another person that took years to attain and then maintain? Somehow we miss the memo that every body type is different. Let me say that again. Every body type is different. Your body is a unique and highly individualized entity. You have no business following a lifestyle that you havn’t researched or is not optimized for you and your needs. Don’t get me wrong, there are general nutritional requirements that you need to follow to keep you alive and well, but there is a lifestyle that will work for your body and your goals. Not your momma, sister, brother, best friend or neighbor.
4. You will not be in a season forever.
There are four seasons in a year and thank God they change. I personally hate when the weather is either really cold or hot. I’m an in between kinda gal, so fall is my favorite time of the year. Although I’m sad to see it go, I know it will be back before I know it. That’s the way life works. Right now you are either loving or hating your body wherever you’re at. Like it or not, it’s not going to last. What lessons from this season are you going to take into your next one?
5. Create accountability.
Your goals need to be so vivid in your life that you would become a little embarrassed if you didn’t reach them. Talk about them and write them down often. Tell only the people that you know love and support you. Whenever you need extra support, they will be there. Real people that love you, will push you towards your fitness goals no matter how big or small.
6. How you look vs how you feel goes a long way.
130lb use to be my goal weight and when I got there I was mortified. Aiming for a magic number on the scale is not a healthy way to hit your your body goals. Wherever you are right now in your journey, appreciate the process. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m feeling better day by day, even with the ups and downs. That’s the secret sauce to loving your body.
7. Speak to yourself in a positive way.
Every time you see your body in the mirror give yourself a compliment! You have something others would kill for whether that be your lips, hair, eyes, height, you get it. You know what makes you the bomb.com so own it and say it often!
Did you know that your thoughts and feelings create your reality? You can’t just magically feel beautiful everyday, you have to intentionally create that environment for yourself.
8. Be aware of the images you take in. Comparison is the thief of joy.
It’s a-okay to follow someone because they inspire you, but it’s not okay to follow someone because you want to be like them. When you follow people because of their looks, you are subconsciously telling yourself that your body is not enough.
Don’t follow people, follow messages. Be picky about who you choose to follow on social media. I only follow people that will add substance to my life, if not, I don’t follow. I don’t follow someone because they are beautiful to look at or to compare body types. I follow because somehow they empower me and help me along my fitness journey.
Rule of thumb: If they inspire, motivate, inform and guide you, it will impact your life in the most beautiful way and keep you on track, not a random Instagram model or a celebrity with a ton of plastic surgery. No hate to the models and the celebs with surgeries! 🤗
9. Do what makes you feel beautiful + healthy and not give a F.
During this season, I colored my hair a dark red color for fall and I also made sure to get plenty of mani’s + pedi’s. I bought myself cute outfits, my favorite perfume and went out when I could to enjoy life’s special moments. I also attempted to make a green smoothie every morning and this helped me feel even more amazing in my skin. 💪🏽 Taking the time to pamper your body can make you feel like a brand new person and keep you motivated.
If all that isn’t realistic for you, do what you can at home. Take loooong hot showers and exfoliate your skin, take the time to really deep condition your hair + give yourself trims. Shave regularly – and not just when you are going to be wearing certain outfits or doing certain activities. Oh, don’t forget to take selfies!
10. Continue to live life as if have it all.
One day you are going to look back at this season and be thankful for everything you went through in your body. Living life as if you’ve already reached your current fitness goals isn’t being fake, it’s believing in yourself enough to know that it’s only a matter of time before you get there. We love the cookie in both its dough and baked form. You are a cookie. Enjoy yourself both ways. 🍪