Updated: Feb 23, 2021
How I struggled with body image and my realization that the "perfect" body I always tried to obtain will never exist.
I hated my body. There, I said it. It's something that until recently, I never said out loud. As a Division I athlete I was strong. But strong did not feel beautiful. Instead, I looked to social media and the world around me. Every girl seemed to be fitter and skinnier than the next. And let's not forget to mention they were ALL blemish free.
I was supposed to be confident. I wanted to be confident. But I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw. Now as I say this, I know now that I'm not alone in the way I felt. However, at the time, I could not have felt more alone. It just contributed more to my anxiety, moodiness and overall stress. And you know what stress does, it feeds IBS like no other.
One day I decided that enough is enough. I was going to get fit no matter what. I started following a ton of fitness influencers. I hopped on the caloric deficit train, tracked my weight, and worked out every morning at 6 a.m. before work. And if we're being honest I ended most nights in the gym too. My body started to transform. But, every time I hit my fitness goal, I made a new one.
I was playing an un-winnable game.
I felt great in a bathing suit. I had to buy all new clothes. I was more confident in my body than I had ever been. But, I still didn't have a positive image on my own body. My butt could be perkier, my abs could be more defined, my legs more toned.
So I kept hitting the gym. But my health was creeping up with me. I was so focused on being fit, that I completely ignored my lack of sleep, cystic acne, anxiety, vomiting, and IBS symptoms. No one was preaching health and fitness. It seemed like one or the other. I thought being "healthy" was for the models who ate salads all day and had one chocolate chip for dessert.
It wasn't until I learned about gut health and how the body speaks up when it's not okay. I realized that I was throwing my health on the train tracks only to ride right over it with my ~fitspirations~.
This is all to say we all need to see more real bodies. More stretch marks. More blemishes. We live in a world where the ideal body is photoshopped and surgically enhanced. We are teaching the next generation of women that beauty is not achievable without an app or a surgical knife.
So if you've been kicking ass at work and you're a bit thicker than your average or you've been so busy enjoying life that you haven't been in the gym as much I'm here to say THAT'S OKAY. It's time we start celebrating what actual real bodies look like.
I'm not sure how to spread this message. I don't know what needs to happen for women to start feeling more comfortable in their own skin. But I can promise you that you won't see any edited pictures or surgically enhanced bodies around here. We are Keepin' Fit Real and that starts with self love, confidence and being comfortable in your own skin.
Don't let social media fool you. It is a highlight reel and nothing more than that.
Sending love and good vibes your way.