It’s about to get personal here! I wanted to write a post about body image. And this is it!
It is just in my heart to write this blog post. It is something that I have struggled with in the past, and I know that many others have the same struggle. It breaks my heart when someone is asking me about eating healthier/working out more and they confide that they have no self-confidence. Females have a higher propensity to point out each issue with our own body and compare ourselves to others (men are not immune to this either!). It is somewhat unusual to come across someone with a really positive body image. I remember when my friend Kelley was telling me how she loves her entire body and she doesn’t have time for any guy that doesn’t, I was so pleasantly surprised. Rock on girlfriend. Kelley gets a lot of facetime on this blog because she is such a positive person + we love working out together + I just love her. 🙂
I don’t think Instagram or other media outlets are helping the situation. It’s so easy to scroll down and see these amazing bodies that you could easily compare ourselves to and get down. Don’t! One friend told me she had to unfollow some bloggers because she would do this. If that’s what you need to do…do it! I follow people that inspire me to eat healthier and make sure I’m getting my workouts in. I don’t compare/contrast, I just say awesome for her and I hope she is treating her body well!
This year, one resolution I made was to stop talking about losing weight. My wonderful, sweet, compliment giving husband would probably go nuts if I continued to talk about wanting to lose “5 pounds” (such an irrelevant number, and truthfully the wedding last year had me using this phrase on repeat). He constantly reminds me that he loves my body just the way it is and I want to do the same this year + beyond. Besides since he is the only guy I care to impress, I should start listening to him + growing more positive in my own body image 🙂
I wanted to share this powerful message that went viral a few weeks ago. I love it.
Here is how she captioned the photo below:
“I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that’s permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy… (which is something I didn’t even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it. Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man who’s opinion matters knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he’s never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren’t scars ladies, they’re stripes and you’ve earned them. Flaunt that body with pride!”-Rachel Hollis, The Chic Site.
Rock on The Chic Site. I’m going to wear bikinis forever after reading that! What a great message for people to hear. She has gotten an incredible response that she hadn’t expected, but it goes to show how many people are embracing her words + positive body image.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about goals! I set goals for myself all the time, but this year I wanted to focus more on health and that does not always equate to weight loss or a super flat stomach. This means that I want to eat well, make sure I’m training smart, sleeping enough, growing in faith, and thinking positively.
I do weigh myself weekly because I like to keep tabs on where I am, but I don’t want that number to effect my mood or body image. Additionally, because I’m becoming more intentional about lifting weights…I need to also consider my body composition. If I’m gaining muscle (yes!), my body might look better (to me, not scared to have some guns) without the scale moving down…it could even more up! If your goal is to lose weight, that’s great. Just stay patient with yourself and know that it takes time if you want it to be sustainable (no cabbage soup diets or watermelon diets ladies and gents!).
Here are tips that help me keep a positive body image:
Surround yourself by positive people: I have so many positive people in my life. A great example is three friends that I’m on a constant stream of text messages with (love you Kel, Sammer, + Gina). It is very uplifting for all of us because we are super encouraging to each other and check in with how everyone is doing with their workouts + nutrition. Find a friend that has similar goals as you and check in with them to see how they are doing! Make sure to keep it positive 🙂
Add active dates to your time with friends. Below is a picture of a charity spin class my friends and I did at Flywheel for breast cancer during our girl’s weekend. This summer, Kelly and I are biking 150 miles for multiple sclerosis with a bunch of other cool folks. My friend Amanda is coming into town for a weekend and we are doing CrazyLegs together along with many of my co-workers + other friends. Several friends and I are planning a hiking trip to Portland for the fall (beyond excited for this one). All of these examples are great ways to make a friend’s weekend more healthy. Of course we will also have a couple glasses of vinos + sushi, but that’s where balance comes in.
Take pictures/think about how your clothes are fitting/measure. If I’m doing a 24 Day Challenge, I take before and after pictures. One straight on, and one from the side. This way, I can compare the images and celebrate my success. This is great especially if the number on the scale doesn’t move as much as you wanted it to, but your body shows change. Measurements are also a great idea. I haven’t done measurements yet…but, maybe for my upcoming challenge. Plus, think about how you FEEL. If I’m on top of my nutrition and workouts I just feel great + my body is happy!
Don’t let your weight determine your body imagine. I had personal training clients that didn’t even want to see their weight. They just wanted to train, and eat well. People have huge issues with the number on the scale. This is probably the last number that most females would want to share. I’m not sure what the best advice is here, I know weighing yourself too often is not healthy for your mind + is irrelevant since our bodies fluctuate daily with intake, output, where you are in your cycle, etc. I’m a once a week weigh in type of gal and I just go ahead and live as healthy as I can! If you weigh yourself daily: step away from the scale. Stop it! If this is a big issue for you, maybe it is best not to weigh yourself? Or maybe if you work on eating healthier + exercising, you won’t care so much about the number?
Celebrate your body. It should be easy for you to name 3 parts of your body that you love. It’s not bragging, it’s celebrating. I love my legs, arms, booty, + hair to name a few. Don’t dwell on each part that you wish you could change, that’s a real downer situation + might not be possible. I’m always going to have broad shoulders…who cares? My dad mentioned them at my wedding during his speech (he thought I was linebacker material when I was born) and my mother-in-law commented on them after she sat behind me on a wedding (not my favorite compliment…we’ll call it that). But (as my dad so eloquently pointed out), it was how I was born and they are a part of me that aren’t going anywhere…so why spend my energy hating them or wishing they were smaller? It’s good to have different features, how boring would it be to all be the same? 🙂 Even if the features that you hate are changeable…realize that it takes time and hating them hard won’t make it go any faster.
If you are in an unhealthy state, change! I talk to people all the time that know they are eating and drinking too indulgently, are couch potatoes, and overall feel like crap. Change is so hard. So, I’m not just saying this haphazardly…BUT….the time is now. I can definitely help with the nutrition side of things through AdvoCare, and I can definitely suggest people/places to go if you need help to begin an exercise program. If you just keep doing what you are doing, you are just going to stay in the same unhealthy spiral + mindset. I always want to emphasize it’s not just about how you LOOK, it’s about health. It’s about not predisposing yourself to chronic disease and living a healthy life. It’s about being a good example for the next generation. It’s about not feeling older than you are. It’s about treating the ONLY body you will ever get like it deserves to be treated.
Eat well + Exercise. AKA what most of this blog is about. Keep reading friends!
Sleep well. I talk about sleep all the time, because people underestimate the importance of sleeping enough. Some people right in my own household 😉 I love sleep and try my best to get enough. I prioritize it. Read this.
I hope everyone has a terrific weekend and I hope this post will speak to you in some way 🙂 As always, email me with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) and thanks for reading! I just finished 4 nights in a row and now I have 6 days off! Praise God for my new schedule (more 12 hour shifts). Nurse life is pretty great! I’m excited to dig into some studying next week to re-certify my personal training license! I’ll keep you posted on how that goes and I cannot wait to help the people that have already reached out about training!