I am a frequent gym attendee. I don’t exactly know how that happened as I hate working out but by some small miracle, I found my sweet spot. Most days, this means I spend my time focused on just getting through the workout (because I still hate it). Yesterday though, I spent too much time looking at the girl in the mirror and breaking her down. It’s not a good feeling.
I set a goal for myself to focus on getting healthy in 2015. Part of that goal was also to get fit. I am not going to be a skinny girl, but I’d really love to be a strong one. Strong enough to deadlift and squat with over 100lbs of weight. I have big legs – always have. This year my goal was to embrace them and even grow them but with muscles instead of Cheetos.
But if I’m being really honest with myself, there is a part of me that hoped if I worked really hard for a year, I would emerge 365 days later with legs like Carrie Underwood. (For the record, I will NEVER have legs like hers, because my legs are built totally different. And that’s ok.) It is silly and unrealistic but I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a belief that if I worked for it, I’d earn it. Reality be damned.
Usually, when I work out, I spend 117% of the time just trying to survive the experience. I sweat profusely. I keep my eyes down so I don’t trip and fall. All attention is focused on keeping going until it’s over and I can go lay down. Yesterday though, all I could see were all the things wrong with my body.
Maybe the workout wasn’t hard enough. Maybe I was just in a bad head space. Maybe it was the mirrors. All I could see was how huge my calves were, how flat my stomach wasn’t, and how flat my boobs were (duh, sports bra!).
It wasn’t until I left the gym that I realized I was able to press 5lbs more than normal. My squat form was perfect. I cycled until my legs felt like jelly. Looking back, I was also the most fit in the room. I was the skinniest – not that it means anything. I was working just as hard as the rest but with more weights. I should’ve been proud of what I was doing. Not hateful of the girl in the mirror.
At home I mentioned this to the Colbster. I mentioned that all I could see were the failings of my body. He looked at me like I was nuts. He reminded me that:
- My body is amazing regardless of what I look like or think I look like.
- I earned where I’m at so I should be celebrating not beating myself up.
- I’m strong and that was my goal. The rest is misplaced vanity.
- He won’t tolerate me talking shit about his favorite body.
Sometimes you just need a reminder of what you’re working towards or to remember that your perspective on your body doesn’t really mean anything in reality. What is real is how sore I’m going to be tomorrow. Woo Hoo!
Next time you start to criticize yourself, keep in mind that kindness tends to be more effective than disparagement. Compassion gets a lot further than self hate. Plus it’s always a good idea to have someone who adores you tell you when you’re straight up being dumb!
Cropped image. Photo credit Flickr user Helga Weber.