Do you remember when you were five and you didn't give a flying f*** what you looked like in a swimmy? You were just jazzed to be soaking up those rays. You didn't care about appearing a certain way or emitting a certain vibe. You were just YOU.
So what the hell happened?
Somehow from childhood to adulthood, we start caring. We start caring a LOT.
If you're lucky, you learn to stop the madness (or at least mitigate it). You learn to reclaim your power. Your self-love. Your confidence. You learn to shift the focus from the superficial to the real. The fleeting (looks) to the forever (soul). As cheesy as it sounds, you concentrate on the interior rather than the exterior. You're more concerned with how you FEEL, and the energy emitted by you/others. That's what really counts, right?!!
How many rad, fun opportunities have you tainted for yourself by stressing over what you look like? Or worse - how many cool opportunities have you bypassed altogether, because of feeling too fat/ugly/whatever other self-loathing adjective you can think of. I know I have. And it's total bullshit. E N O U G H.
I'll be honest, it took me what felt like an eternity to get to the point of full self acceptance. It was a long, gnarly road. I used to hold impossibly high standards for myself, and constantly fought my body at every turn. That shiz is exhausting. I'm sure many of you can relate (which makes me sad!). The shocking reward of finally accepting myself??? I actually look and feel better than ever before! It's like my body breathed a giant sigh of relief and said, "Okay cool - finally, let's play on the same team." It's been awhile now that I feel good in my skin, so I KNOW lasting results are possible!
So what shifted it for me?
- Honestly, it drained me and I maxed out. I just got tired of constantly mentally beating the daylights out of myself. SO.NOT.WORTH.IT.
- Mindfulness and positive self talk
- First I became aware of my negative thoughts, and then punched them in the face. In other words, I halted them right there, and replaced them with compliments. A lot of it was a "fake it 'til you make it" tactic. If I hated my arms, I would tell myself how much I loved them, and emphasized how strong they are. Ironically, now my arms are one of my FAVE body parts!
- Thanking my body for taking care of me and keeping me alive. Expressing love for it through thought, word, and action. Knowing that contrary to my prior belief, my body really was trying to look out for me and be a team player. Removing that pressure for it to fit a certain beauty ideal really did make all the difference.
- Focusing on how I felt rather than how I looked
- Do I feel energetic? Happy? Motivated? If yeses across the board, then I'm solid. If not, I'll focus on the area needing my attention.
- Self care
- Wanting to take care of my body to keep it happy and healthy and thriving, not frustrated and starving and self-destructing.
- Intuitive eating and moving
- By slowly re-learning to tune into my body, I can sense what it wants and deliver. Our bodies are truly miraculous and intelligent. The cleaner your palate (less clogged with packaged frankenfood), the more you can understand what your body is telling you. My body constantly amazes me with its cravings. Time and again, I'll suddenly crave something and then be able to attribute it to a certain reason. For example, I'll crave citrus and then feel the beginnings of a cold that my body was able to fight off. The last time I had blood work done and discovered the minerals/vitamins in which I was deficient, it suddenly made PERFECT sense why I crave my salad every single day: all of the ingredients in there are booming with the vitamins/minerals in which I'm deficient. My body continues to crave those nutrients because it is still healing from malabsorption issues due to prolonged antibiotic use (another story for another day!).
- When my body screams for rest, I acquiesce and pump the brakes. This one can be a little tricky to master, knowing when you need to move to feel better and when you really do need to recover. You definitely need one or two rest days a week. Ironically, though I love high-intensity workouts, my body does not. A moderate workout regimen actually helps me look, feel, and perform better. So experiment a little and heed what your body tells you. Remove your ego and let your body be the boss.
And the biggest secret of all that eluded me all those years?? CONFIDENCE. How you carry yourself matters FAR MORE than what you actually look like. It's mind blowing how true that is. Think about it. Think about someone you've seen at the beach/pool. They might not (gasp!) have a thigh gap, they might have cellulite, they might be rocking a "plus size" but they are FEELING THEMSELVES. And that instantly makes you feel them too (but, you know...not literally. Unless you're high fiving them for looking so fly).
If someone carries themselves proudly and confidently, that automatically ups their attractiveness. It's like friggin' magic. Try it! And if you're not feeling yourself just yet, fake it 'til you make it, baby. No really. Pretend. Trust me on this.
Sometimes I'll put on a piece of clothing on and think, "Not your best look." Maybe I think it makes me look bigger, or shows off some celly. So I'll make myself wear it anyway. I'm so done with letting my body image hold me back. For example, I wore some leggings to teach Pound the other night that made my thighs look less toned (hello, literal spotlight, while teaching in front of a class!). Plus, as I'm sure many of you can relate: one minute you can feel like a busted can of biscuits, and the next like a svelte supermodel. Like...sometimes even within the same hour. It's b a n a n a s how that works.
Awhile ago, I saw the movie I Feel Pretty with Amy Schumer. I went into it expecting cheesiness and forced humor. I was happily so wrong. It was fun, it was funny, it was touching. Highly recommend.
There is more to say on this topic, but rather than going on for dayzzz about it, I'll split it up into two posts. Thanks for staying with me this far! In the next one, I'll highlight a FANTASTIC article my friend shared with me. You should consider checking out the post if you: 1. have social media. 2. are a parent. 3. are human. We'll discuss how beauty ideals have changed in this brave new world we're living in, which includes social media. Gone are the awkward teenagers, replaced by adolescents who know their angles, know their makeup, and know their sex appeal. I really think you'll be glad you read it.