Our society is obsessed with fitness and having the “perfect” physique. Look in any health or fitness magazine and there will be pictures of “fit” people that, whether we are aware of it or not, change the way we look at ourselves. We are unconsciously being influenced and our minds are being shaped by what we see in books, magazines, websites, and on TV. Unfortunately, comparing ourselves to what is in the media can have a negative effect on our own body image.
In my early twenties, I was obsessed with working out and looking my best. Looking my best meant having muscle definition in my legs and arms, but more importantly, my stomach. I was a gym rat and ate a very restrictive diet so I could look lean and toned like everyone else (everyone else being women in magazines…because you know, that’s real life). During those years, I missed out on happy hours, birthday cakes, and other social events just to have the “perfect” body. At the time, I thought I was happy because I was doing something good for myself—I was getting myself in really good shape and staying away from all the “bad” foods. Sure, I may have achieved a “fit” look, but I never remember feeling really good about myself. I was struggling with accepting my body and loving it properly.
It took me a while, but once I got rid of the mindset that I had to look like the women in magazines, I was able to start living again. I didn’t have to count calories or macronutrients when I meal planned. I didn’t have to skip happy hour or ice cream on vacation because I was no longer obsessed with having the “perfect” body.
I no longer want abs or super defined muscles because it prevents me from living my life the way I want to live it. I have learned how to accept my body for everything that it is instead of wanting someone else’s. Because I have accepted myself, I can now love myself better—by eating a variety of foods that nourish my body, partaking in activities that bring me joy, and enjoying my favorite treats from time to time. I think most of us can agree that enjoying life is more important than having a six pack.
In order to experience life to its fullest, we need to embrace who we are—both mentally and physically. I encourage you today to stop comparing yourself to people in magazines and start loving yourself fully. You can live a life free of comparison, free of counting calories and free of skipping events just to workout (for the sixth day in a row). Today, choose the ice cream or choose the happy hour with an old friend.
Six packs will not make you happy. Doing what you love and being with the people you love will.
With love and peace,