Human Alert! No matter your body size or shape I can almost guarantee at some point in your life you have battled your own body image demons. Throughout our lives our bodies will change whether we like it or not. Lifestyle changes, pregnancy, injuries, aging and more will have an impact on how our bodies look and feel. It's an unavoidable truth that your body will not always look the same. And despite the fact that we all go through these changes and could find comfort in knowing we aren't alone, we worry, beat ourselves up and go to extremes to try to reverse these changes.
I have in numerous recent blogs shared how my life has been on an amazing path the past 7 months. I have made some decisons and life changes that have opened up great opporuntities for me personally and professionally. Along with all this greatness, about 7 months ago I realized a change in my body shape/size. I don't ever weigh myself and could care less about that number on the scale, but something just didn't seem right. For most of my adult life I had been roughly the same size and my lifestyle, exercise habits and eating habits have been consistent. (Note: I don't diet, calorie count, etc, what I mean is my eating habits have been the same pretty much my whole life.) I tried not to let it bother me, but at the same time I felt frustrated. I was used to having my body look a certain way and basically having control of it (not necessarily a healhty attitude to have, but I don't do anything extreme for this to be, I just was used to my body being a certain way). Now if I had changed something, like my eating or exercise habits I may not have felt so frustrated or confused, the changes would have made sense. Before I got too crazy about this, I looked within and started to analyze is there just something going on for me emotionally that I might be projecting onto my body and I couldn't find the answer there. I consulted with a few close friends to be sure I wasn't losing my mind about the current changes in my body, and my loving friends confirmed what I had felt.
So even though nothing had changed in my routine, something was going on and it ended up being the result of changing my birth control pill. It was frustrating! This pill was not doing good things to me so I got off of it and...the body changes stuck around. I look at my body and still love it and all it can do. I am proud to have a strong, able body and now I am learning to embrace it looking a bit different. I'm sure most people don't notice a difference and if they do they could care less lol. I realize I still have a thinner, fit, atheltic body type and I am not complaining, I am simply illustrating the point that we all battle these demons AND our bodies change whether we like it or not.
The irony of this change is what made me write this post. While yes, the changes were out of my control, the lesson was priceless and the timing was right on. Most of my adult life I was in super amazing shape, more muscular and lean than I am now and life while moving forward and closer towards my goals, was not the way it is now. The crazy thing that happened was as I paid less attention to being super-workout-woman and accepted my body as it is, my life as a whole improved. I guess what I am trying to say is I have more balance, I've come into my own and I feel more confident and on track then ever before. When I think about the changes my body has gone through I could workout more and try to get back to my competition body type/shape/size. I could change my eating habits or do something extreme, but I have zero desire to do that. Why? Because I have realized this body I have right now in this moment is the one that is allowing me to do what I need to do to create the life I want. I don't have to be super lean to be a success, I don't have to be 10lbs lighter to have an amazing man in my life, I don't need to train the amount of hours I did as an athlete to find joy in moving/exercise. My body may have changed because of something outside of my control, but it taught me what really matters.
I never paid much attention to my body, training and staying lean/fit/"whatever you want to call it" was mostly effortless for me....I loved training, I loved eating, and my focus was more directed on my fitness level. The scale was tipping a bit more towards my peronsal fitness level than some other things in my life. There were areas that were lacking, that weren't getting the attention they needed. Fast forward to now, I'm not as lean, weigh a little more, but I'm happier, more successful, more balanced, and have a healthy relationship.
I guess you gotta decide for yourself what's important and realistic. I didn't find myself as happy and succesful when I was training more and my body was more fit. My life as a whole is better now and my body is different than it was before. Now I am learning to embrace my body at the current acitivty level, stress level, age and lifestyle I have now. I am beyond grateful for my body, it can do amazing things. I continue to strength train and do a bit of conditioning/cardio type stuff. I still eat like I always have, although I am trying to drink more water and learn what foods make me feel better. I am working on living a full, happy, healthy life!
I realize many people might be thinking "WTF Jess you are still fit and in great shape, what are you talking about?". My answer...we all go through changes that no one sees that we must deal with. Yes I am a fit body type, but just like anyone when your body changes, it takes time to adjust whether others see it or not. I don't have negative thoughts about my body, I simply am working through embracing a new version of it.
Why am I writing all of this? Well because I think everyone can relate and needs to realize that the goal of being skinny, fit, lean, etc might not lead where you think it will. We all must evaluate what level of exercise and what type of eating habits best fit into our lives to make us happy. We need more balance and harmony. You can't give all your attention to training and expect to have an amazing relationship with your spouse. You can't work 100 hour weeks and think your fitness level is going to be top notch. There are times when certain areas of our lives get more attention then others and that is okay and normal. It's just about over time figuring out the best mix for you, and only you have that answer!
Our bodies are amazing things that carry us through life, it's up to us to create a life that feels good to us. Our bodies can bring us closer to our goals or protect us from stepping out of comfort zone! I don't think we need to change our bodies, I think we need to change our minds. If we can learn to love & respect our current body, we will experience a fuller, happier life. And for some by respecting their bodies as they are now, they will find that their bodies transform (not crazy Biggest Loser transformation style, but when you start respecting your body, your body shape/size can sometimes change).
I don't compete anymore, so I no longer have the body that was trying to win a fight. I don't spend hours in the gym per day anymore, so I no longer have the fitness level I once did. I do spend more time working on my business and growing my dream. I have a boyfriend now and spend time with him. I now enjoy working out because it feels good, learning to fuel my body, and having a life that feels in a great flow and body that represents where I am at.
I hope that each of you can take away from this (long...sorry about the rambling) blog post that your body isn't everything. It's a vehicle and a part of your life. It doesn't define you. When deciding what amount of time investment you want to spend on your fitness/training don't forget about the other priorities in your life. We spend too much time trying to reach unrealistic expectations when it comes to body and fitness and in my opinion need to start spending more time on creating full, complete, happy, healthy lives!