With Spring being upon on, it felt like the perfect time to talk about a sensitive topic: body image.
As soon as the weather warms up, it seems like brands across all industries lean into messaging about “the perfect body,” and being “bikini ready” which can feel super triggering for many people.
In fact, this kind of messaging brings me right back to 2016; before I had a real butt and strong thighs. In 2016, I was more focused on being thin than I was with being strong. I cared more about what the scale said than I did about how I felt in my own body.
…and I want to talk about that.
Embracing Our Changing Bodies:
Over the last 5 years, I have seen a tremendous shift inside of me in regards to the way I view my body. The most notable difference though has been over the last year and a half, as I have actively worked on strength-training.
When the pandemic started, I felt completely overwhelmed with anxiety.
As someone with self-described border collie energy, it was hard for me to be told to sit inside and not go to the gym like I had been so used to doing.
Well, after about two weeks of not moving, I started to feel like I was going to explode with anxiety. I felt overwhelmed and stressed, and my chaotic romantic relationship at the time wasn’t helping matters. So, I took it into my own hands and started doing at-home workouts in the form of strength training and HIIT sessions.
As a result, I have seen my relationship to the scale change completely. Not to mention, getting Gouda, and loving him so much, has re-wired my body and left me feeling so clear on the fact that my body is truly just a vehicle for my love and energy.
I have gained 10+ lbs over the last 16 months and learned a lot in the process about the stories that I tell myself about weight gain.
The Power Of Our Stories:
The stories we tell ourselves influence our energy and shape how we show up. There is so much power to the stories we tell ourselves, and thanks to society’s emphasis on weight, it’s easy for us to make our weight a big part of our self-worth story.
There is so much messaging around us that pushes the idea that “thin is beautiful.”
That subtle messaging, over time, conditions us to believe that the skinnier we are, the more attractive we are.
Here’s why that is SO dangerous:
- It doesn’t consider actual HEALTH. The focus is on the exterior, not the interior. THIN does NOT equal HEALTHY. Some fitness influencers you see on Instagram have some of the worst body dysmorphia. The number on the scale doesn’t actually have any relation to how healthy you are physically or mentally.
- It creates SHAME around weight gain. I experienced a TON of shame for a few weeks when I noticed that I was gaining weight in June 2020. And the reason that is so dangerous is that I was doing it on purpose! I was lifting weights and training in a totally new way; I expected to gain weight. I was literally WORKING TO gain weight and get stronger, and I STILL was triggered by it.
So, how did I come out the other side and flip the script?
I did an exercise that I’m going to share with you here.
Tapping Into Strength:
One of the best ways to tap into your strength is to do a self-awareness exercise.
For me, I got quiet for 10 minutes and thought about how I want to FEEL in my body. Then, I wrote down the first 3 words that came to mind:
In doing this, I realized that thin wasn’t on the list. In fact, the SIZE of my body never came up when I truly tapped into what matters most to me about my body. That helped me to really root into the fact that my gains were in fact, GAINS.
So, I’ve since bought 3 new pairs of jeans and a few new pairs of leggings to accommodate these new thicker thighs, and I’m actively donating clothes that are too tight and trigger any degree of body shame.
Out with the old (jeans and thinking) and in with the NEW!
Are you ready to join me?