I think it’s safe to say that almost every woman is insecure about her body. Some are not, and honestly, I’m a little jealous of them. Insecurity is something I’ve been dealing with since I was a teen and realized what a woman’s body is theoretically supposed to look like (Thanks, Seventeen and YM Magazines….), and realizing I did not look like them. I’m assuming you can relate to the thought that you would like to go back and slap your former (skinnier, fitter) self for thinking this way, because you would KILL to look now how you looked back then! ;)
This weekend I ran across Lauren Fleshman’s Keeping it Real article, and my heart was connected to it and so refreshed. I figured there were some others who still had not seen this inspiring post, so I thought I would share it, along with my own struggles.
I’m actually in pretty good shape, even though I’m still slowly recovering from a car accident that forced me to be a temporary couch potato. I’m sure a lot of the people who know me are rolling their eyes with the fact that I, Allison, am insecure about my body. Here’s some mind-blowing revelation: just because you are skinny or fit doesn’t guarantee your insecurities will go away. Insecurity is a mind set, not a number on the scale or how you look in a bathing suit. This is really hard for me to say (as a personal trainer and someone who is passionate about promoting healthy ways for women to lose weight): every goal I achieve just makes me see another flaw or something I have yet to accomplish.
As someone in the fitness industry, and someone who WILLINGLY put tons of exercise videos of myself on the internet (sometimes I still cannot believe that’s real!), I feel like I have to look as good as I can possibly look, be as fit/toned/strong as I can possibly be, and know everything there is to know about exercise and nutrition. If I struggle with my appearance and insecurities, will my clients even take me seriously? I come across some awesome personal trainers’ blogs and get so excited about the great info and what they are doing– then that excitements fades as I start comparing myself to them, and think of how far I still have to go, or how does she have the discipline to work off her saddlebags, but I don’t?? The list goes on, people! (Remember, Comparison is the thief of joy. Ain’t that the truth!)
I have days where I feel really fit and good-lookin’, and then I have days where I can’t find anything to wear, I put on shorts then immediately change into capris, and think that I’m a failure as a fitness professional! We all have those days. Exercise and strength training have been huge in building my confidence in myself and in how I look, but if I don’t fight off these thoughts when they come, then someday when I have six pack abs, my saddlebags are gone, and I have zero arm jiggle I still won’t be satisfied.
It’s extremely important to guard what goes into your body (pesticides, cupcakes, etc), but it’s also extremely important to guard what we allow ourselves to think. When I feel insecure comparing myself to another trainer’s success, I combat those thoughts by reminding myself that I have something to offer that NO ONE ELSE does, and what I’m doing with The Fit Tutor will help change women’s lives! When I look at how my pants fit differently from an extra-fun weekend, I remind myself that it’s important to make exercise and nutrition a priority, but I’m thankful that I’m real and can go out and celebrate with friends when the opportunity arises. I also remind myself that moderation is key, and maybe next time I can remember that a little better. When I feel discouraged about my stubborn thigh fat, I look at my back, shoulders, or biceps which are toned and getting stronger every week! I will keep working toward my nutrition goals, my “vanity” health goals, and my strength training goals, but I will not allow exercise to control my life, nor will I allow a voice in my head to point out my failures or struggles.
It’s an ongoing process. But just as I will continue to cut back on sugar and lift heavier weights, I will continue to counteract those negative thoughts with positive ones. Is it corny? Maybe. But I’d rather be corny and emotionally healthy than someone who lived a less-than-full life because of body shaming that the media has created (amplified?) in most women. If I didn’t fight back against those voices there’s NO way I would have followed my dreams and created The Fit Tutor. Believe me, I look all sorts of silly in some of the videos and thumbnails!
I will close this with saying this: I believe in you. You are beautiful. You have something to offer to this world that no one else does. And I know you can do it. And I freakin’ mean it! And as you fight off these insecurities, make sure you are valuing your body by eating healthy, lifting weights, and exercising. It makes the process easier, builds confidence, changes your body composition, and you get to enjoy those feel-good hormones to help you fight off any insecurities.
This is Lauren’s second post, which I enjoyed even more than the first: Let’s Keep It Real About Our Bodies. She encourages us to post an unflattering photo of ourselves on social media with the hashtag #keepingitreal. By clicking on the hashtag, we will be able to see a better representation of what women look like and we can redefine beauty. Share this blog, share your picture, and be confident in your freaking awesome body!
Is this something you have struggled with? If so, leave some love in the comments so everyone knows they are not alone! :)