There’s no denying that there are real benefits to regular exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I’ve reaped some of those benefits during my epic 25 kilogram weight-loss journey. However, I have been missing a large part of the puzzle for the past while. This part of a transformation journey is every bit as important and that is a healthy body image. A healthy body image is a vital ingredient to overall well-being. At stages throughout my weight loss journey I have spent so long convincing myself that being slimmer would result in ultimate happiness, that it caused me to lose sight of the bigger picture. So here I am baring all.
Last week I put on 500 grams of lean muscle and almost had a coronary while standing on the scales that I was getting “fat” again. Now, while a healthy body is one thing, my reaction was not exactly a tell- tale sign of a healthy attitude. My mind and body image has suffered over the period I have undertaken this journey. I have come to realise that I need to take a step back and regroup. I need to move away from forums I was previously obsessed with. These are the kind where we judge ourselves and our progress in life on the merit of “before and after” photos. If I get real with myself there’s no way a photo should not dictate how I feel about myself (less still a pair of scales). In terms of overall health and wellbeing, that is super counter-productive!
I’m not perfect. I’ve got love handles for sure! And now I’m at a point in my journey where it’s also time to also gain some healthy perspective. If the only way I can achieve a “healthy BMI” is by being unhealthily fixated on what I eat and making myself miserably accountable, what on earth is the point? The truth remains that I’m far more comfortable in my own skin at a lighter weight than I was when I was morbidly obese which also makes it easier to exercise. However it certainly needs to be said I’m no more a better person regardless of whether or not I’m 10 kilograms overweight. I can certainly run at my current weight (which is something I’ve come to really enjoy the freedom of) as well as maintain daily living tasks with greater ease.
I need to start appreciating my current body again for everything it is instead of focusing on everything it isn’t. I should be celebrating the journey and milestones of achievements and not just working towards an idealistic end goal which may never be attainable. I’ve only got one body and it’s a great place to live. Today, it’s pain free and it works! It carried and delivered my baby safely into this amazing world. I know that one day when I am old and grey I will appreciate how far my body has taken me. Therefore I find it sad to think I will have spent so many years allowing my mind to belittle and condemn my body based on its shape or anything else for that matter. It’s time for me to get a grip, and embrace a more positive body image and learn a bit of self-love along the way.
With that in mind I’m taking the pressure off the weight loss journey I was on which was becoming somewhat self- destructive. I want to be healthy (of course!) but I want to be healthy in the mind and soul as well as the body. There will be no more “before and after” photos shared on my social media. I will try not to stress and think negative thoughts, instead replacing them with affirmations. I will no longer be weighing in weekly and stressing about gains. And most importantly, I will no longer comparing myself to anyone else.
I forgot that the reason I embarked on this whole healthy lifestyle journey was to regain life. I lost sight of the very reason for my journey to begin with. I never wanted to tie myself in knots over muscle gain or imperfections such as love handles. Life is not a popularity contest based on an ideal body formation, photo or point scoring about who made the biggest and best effort to count calories. I caught a glimpse in the mirror of a jealous neurosis about what stranger I thought was ideal in terms of body shape, and that is NOT a good look on anyone. I like to think I’d never judge a friend on their physical attributes. So from here on I’ll be damned if I’ll condemn myself based on these factors either. I got swept away in a crowd of before and after photos, and forgot the fact.
It’s come the time to accept that I am perfectly imperfect…. just the way I am. And so are you, for that matter!