TBT: OUR BODIES KICK BUTT

We are going to be throwin’ it back all week long.  Lately, I’ve had a handful of new readers (welcome and thank you) and I wanted a chance to share some of my favorite posts again.  Now, sometimes when I look back at older posts (especially some of my earliest ones) it can be a lot like looking back at an awkward phase school picture (enter Stetson and I in matching vests/chopping off my bangs into nubs as a fourth graders/braces with a rubber band cutting right across the front of my mouth).  It’s painful and embarrassing and you can’t believe it’s been captured forever.  But, other times they bring back some of my favorite memories.  So, let’s focus on that bit.

This is one of my favorite posts because 1. I was terrified to post it and 2. I tend to need these reminders every few months.

Originally posted: September 10, 2015
This is a post that I have had in mind for quite some time, but I have continuously put it off. My excuse for this was that I am not an expert in this area, so I shouldn’t be writing about it. And then I remembered that I’m not an expert about anything that I write about on here…

I’m going to be talking about body image—and more specifically being happy with your body. Now, I am a decently health-conscious person. I grew up with incredibly healthy (and at times much too dedicated for my taste) eating and exercising habits modeled for me. So, I would say I have a nice healthy base to build from. But that, in no way, shape, or form means I am immune to body image issues. And I know that I am not alone.

*Disclaimer- This absolutely not a gender specific post! I love me some girl power, but what I’m writing about here is not solely for the females. I feel like most body image related posts are geared towards women, but that isn’t the case here. I will still make some witty comments that could give both genders a nice chuckle.

Quit weighing yourself:

I have heard this advice millions of times. Every magazine article, blog post, and Pinterest ‘fitspo’ mentions this. But, I totally thought I was above this advice. What I mean is: I would read this, I would acknowledge that ‘yes, for some people weighing in everyday could be counterproductive,’ and then I would assure myself that I was strictly checking my weight religiously ‘just to know’—of course, I wasn’t really putting any stock into the numbers I saw.

What actually turned me around on this was laziness. Yes, laziness was a major factor in improving my body image. Embrace the lazy! Basically, the batteries in my scale died and I kept forgetting to replace them. And, I am very proud/slightly ashamed to say: this went on for months. So, by the time my scale was up and running again, I had totally gotten out of the morning weigh in routine.

Then, everything fell into place, just like all of the articles had said it would. I noticed more about my actual body—where I was gaining muscles, where I was looking a little thinner, where I needed a whole lot of sunlight, all that kind of stuff.

Again, this is not groundbreaking advice. I did not make this up all on my own. This is probably the 178th or 179th time you have heard this, but maybe this is the time it will sink in. Seriously, give it a shot.

Focus on the work:

This is my take on the age-old advice to focus on a goal. I, like most other people, have that goal body I’m shooting for. And that’s great. Except, I find it pretty easy to put off goals; they are too abstract for me. Yes, I want my body to look a certain way, but I can easily convince myself that one piece of cake isn’t going to make or break it for me.

The fact is, changes with our bodies happen slowly. I’m not proud to say it, but if I don’t see those immediate results I have an incredibly difficult time using that as motivation. I know some people can do that, and major kudos to them. However, for me, the actual work is much easier to use as motivation.

Two things that help me here: routine and competing with myself. Getting up each morning (at the absolutely ridiculous hour of 5 am) and working out is part of my routine. If I get out of routine I feel unsettled and have mood swings that are pretty much on par with a 13-year-old girl. That alone at least motivates me to get my butt to the gym. Once I’m there I focus on each exercise—not necessarily about what it’s doing for my body (again, that’s too abstract for me to wrap my head around before I have even had a cup of coffee), more on what I was able to do yesterday. I want to at least beat what I did the day before. I treat it like a game. The exercises are my obstacles in the game, and I don’t allow my focus to shift any further than that. Really that early in the morning my focus can pretty much only handle that one thing.

Appreciate what your body can do:

I am by no-means 100% happy with my body. In fact, some days I’m probably only 7% happy with my body, and other days I’m pretty sure I’m going to get my call from Tyra Banks to join America’s Next Top Model (I’m almost sure that show is no longer airing, but it had about 36 seasons, so I can’t get it out of my head).

On those 7% days, I look at my lineman-size shoulders and remember that they pulled my over-sized butt to the top of the Rims when I was learning to rock climb. I look at my only-take-pictures-with-your-hand-on-you-hips-to-avoid-bulk arms and remember that they carried Teton (who was definitely not a puppy, but a full-grown and misbehaving dog) all the way around park and home when he refused to quit chasing after squirrels/blowing leaves. I look at my less-than-rock-hard tummy and remember that I pounded my entire dinner and half of Brady’s before he even finished his story (hey, it’s strange what we all discover we are proud of). Then, I check out my definitely-touching-thighs and remember that they pushed me all the way through ‘The Death March’ on my first Tough Mudder.

There are still, and I’m sure always will be, days when I change outfits because the one I have on shows off too much of what I don’t want shown off. But, that’s okay. I am learning to pay more attention to all of the impressive feats my body is capable of, rather than focusing on what it looks like.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney