Unpacking thoughts around body image
If you know me, you are aware that I probably have some not-so-healthy body image issues. Also related, if you follow me on social media at all, you know I've been anywhere from sporadic to almost consistent with my gym attendance and general fitness goals. I've even seen some great progress, only to see it derailed three months later. Consistency is a challenge for me and that includes staying on top of feelings of disgust and hate towards how I look and the choices I've made that got me to that point.
None of this is foreign to most of you. Probably. According to a study conducted by the University of West England, 2 out of 5 men would trade a year of their lives for a perfect body, and it's suggested that findings are similar when it comes to women as well. There are statistics everywhere showing that body image issues are one of the major concerns humans in our society today are bound to deal with at some point, and for some of us, that may go on for years.
I've read pages and pages of content on how to deal with this problem and the "love yourself as you are" line has always been a concept I found "fluffy" or insubstantial. Why would I want to love this unhealthy, out-of-shape, jiggly blob I see in the mirror every damn morning? Loving this thing would mean accepting that it was "ok" and why would I then need to bother with trying to improve? I've gotten very good at justifying the self-hate I learned early in life. I'm a five-star pro. Not that it's going on my resume. But despite all of this, I still find my mind drifting to the same question every time I climb onto a weight bench or elliptical, ready to pound out another chunk of my daily caloric intake in the hopes that my pants start fitting better.
Today, I had a breakthrough. I was too distracted to check, but there may have been a beam of light that appeared, proof that I was some sort of enlightened, sweat-soaked buddha having a serious moment. Legit AF. I realized that I didn't have to love my excess of fat tissue and lumpy composition. I get to hate the hell out of it. But I only get to do that because every time I grab that towel and straddle some machine, I'm working to improve myself. And that, friends, is what I can love. I love exactly who I am in that moment: fat, gross, over-eating, previously-unmotivated me making the very important choice to take one more step towards a goal of living a better life.
It was probably partially due to the endorphin haze I was wrapped in at that moment, but my whole day, my whole week, got so much better in a matter of seconds. I found something I can love. And I'm going to meet that person I love every day in the gym and get to know them better because it is 100% worth the time and effort.