As you all know, I’m a big dreamer. I love to set big goals. For the longest time my main goals have been either weight loss or body image related. Lose XX number of pounds, fit in a size 12, be “normal” on the BMI Scale. Even though my goals have gone from get skinny to get healthy and from “weight 175” to “be strong” – It still all relates back to my personal body image. Almost everything I have done for the past 4+ years has somehow been related to these goals. Heck, I even turned it from a hobby into a full blow job! I guess what I’ve really been thinking about is where is that line? When do you go HAM on reaching a goal and when do you say ok I’m just going to be ok with where I’m at?
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. I see some of the fittest people I know come into our CrossFit box. People who workout hard 5 days a week, eat strict meal plans most of the time, are the picture of health and fitness… and they still aren’t happy. They want abs like so and so, or a butt like Stacie Tovar (I mean, who doesn’t?! #strengthisbooty after all…) I’m guilty of the same thing from time to time. I am guilty of negating the progress I’ve made by focusing on the things I’d still like to change.
When I first started out on this journey I was morbidly obese. I needed the structure and discipline of adhering to a strict plan. I was motivated and had a lot of fat to lose. I had specific health related milestones I wanted to reach. I went from one side of the road to the other. I used to eat whatever I wanted, and that’s what got me to 50% body fat! I needed some intervention to turn that train around. And I did (for more about my journey check out my “Before & After” page)
Even before my surgery, I started to realize I was happy with myself. The surgery was just the cherry on top of my body acceptance sundae. It just helped me to be able to see the body I had built underneath all that skin, and that body is beautiful. And when I realized that I was happy with my body, all size 14 and 200 pounds of it, instead of being happy I felt confused and slightly panicked. What am I supposed to do now? Where do I go from here?
After over 4 years, I was suddenly on the other side of the spectrum. I had gone from 50% body fat to 20%, I went from not being able to do a proper air squat with my own body weight to being able to load up a barbell with my body weight and back squat it. Throughout the last few years I went through strict Paleo, Whole30, and spent the better part of the last year on detailed meal plans through a nutrition coach. It was a lot of restricting. Suddenly foods became “good” or “bad” and meals became either “on plan” or “off plan.”
I had become one of those Diet Martyrs… “Oh, guess I”ll have to skip the Christmas cookies this year” or “Man, I wish I could eat that” or “I can’t believe I ate that!” followed by a big serving of guilt and shame. While I never thought I had a full blown eating disorder, I saw an article about Orthorexia and found myself nodding my head in response to the list of possible symptoms. I had some disordered thinking and unhealthy mindsets when it came to my relationship with food. I was in the mindset of I can’t have it because It’s not on my meal plan. I followed a specific meal plan, eating the same safe foods over and over again. I was afraid to stop counting calories, measuring portions to the ounce, or following a rigid meal plan. Because if I didn’t have a plan it meant I would gain back all the weight I’ve lost and suddenly be fat again *eye roll*
I guess what I’m saying is I am finally happy with my body. I feel a sense of peace with where I’m at right now. I’m healthy, I’m fit, and I’m happy. Society still tries to tell me I’m plus sized, so what. This plus sized girl rocked a bikini in Florida last month! I still have stretch marks and squishy areas. I know that if I want to take my body to the next level it would require more restricting and while I know I could do it, I’m not in a place where I’m willing to do what it would take. Could that change next month? Absolutely. For more about the cost of getting lean check out this article from Precision Nutrition.
I’d like to challenge you to take a look at yourself and your goals. If you are restricting yourself or beating yourself up about your body or how you’re eating, why? What are your goals? If you have a hard deadline goal like doing a bikini competition, by all means eat according to your goals this holiday season. If you have serious health risks that are obesity related or a history of unhealthy binge eating than maybe you need to structure your eating a bit more. Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and in a healthy way. Super restrictive diets aren’t great for your mental health. Food isn’t something to fear. Take time to Learn balance, find a healthy relationship with food, and love your body.
You are worth it.
Do you struggle with Balance or a Healthy Relationship with food?
What are some things you can do today to love your body?