I came across this quote on Instagram and so far I’ve already regrammed it, but I also feel like I want to open up a little what it means to me. I find that every other person on social media and many of my friends are on a diet or a fitness plan trying to get in shape of their liking for a reason or another. Almost every single time it’s because they want to look like something else than what they look like now. How stressful is that?? Not accepting yourself right now.
I’ve had my own share of this. After I beat anorexia in my teens I was left ashamed of looking healthy, because I still thought that meant too “big”. I knew I had to stay healthy and fit in order to be the athlete I wanted to be (I was in competitive cheerleading), but I still thought I looked wrong and I would some day look right again. After that, and especially during my Miss Finland-year, I have been told that I need to change. That I need to embark on some sort of a fitness or food regime in order to look right. For some it meant I needed more muscles and for some it meant that I needed to lose weight and some thought I needed surgery. There were days when I hated myself, especially during specific times of the month (my body reacts with crazy bloating during my PMS), and because there were people telling me that my body was not right, I started telling that to myself too. And honestly, there was nothing wrong with my body to begin with. In my head I knew I shouldn’t let others impact me, but still I thought at times that I needed to follow some strict plans to make myself look the way “I was supposed to” in the future, disregarding the fact that everything was great then and there. Seriously, what is it that we’re even supposed to look like? Come on.
I have a strong self-esteem, but at times I was a mess inside my head. I guess it’s because I’ve got really high work ethics and I thought I wasn’t doing my job well. Still, I couldn’t commit to a regime or a plan, because at the same time I was feeling rebellious and was telling myself that I’m not going to be one of those people who spend all their energy on thinking about food and fitness and forget to enjoy their lives. I’m not going to be one of those girls who lets others impact “me”, as in the person I am. I’ve got my own brain to use. Also, the people on a “plan that makes them look better” are always looking forward to the time to come and never satisfied with what they already have. Even though it’s already something awesome.
To be honest, I was actually very rebellious and decided that the best way to fight this pressure is to basically live on candy. And ice cream. And tell the people who tell me otherwise to disappear. I never quit sports on my rebellious streaks, because I couldn’t handle life without it. But I wasn’t going to let some fitness-regime, created solely for appearance-purposes, to ruin the joy of moving my body. I want to learn new skills and improve my fitness-levels, and, I’m sorry to say this, I do not want to look like a fitness-competitor. Not any kind of a fitness competitor.
Anyways, living on candy didn’t really provide me with the energy levels I needed. Sure, at times I’ve felt a little flabbier and soon after in good shape, but mainly the problems were my hormones, constantly being sick and mood-swings. The same stuff I experienced when on some specific plan. I’d gotten to the point where I decided not to let my appearance dominate my decisions. I’ve noticed that whatever I eat and however I move, my body seems to have its own will that doesn’t care if I eat bad or good, so I might just learn to accept it. So this is actually where the quote finally comes in. One of my goals in life is staying body positive from day to day, no matter what the circumstances. The reflection in the mirror is never the same and that’s ok. It alters from day to day and that’s ok, too. Today, instead of pointing out my flaws to myself, I try to tell myself something positive. It’s a learning process for someone so critical of oneself as me, but it’s made my life so much easier. A positive comment and after that I try to forget my appearance for the rest of the day and instead try to focus on listening to what my body and my mind want.
Lately I’ve been over-hauling my mind rather than my fitness or food regimes. I’ve been focusing on being kind to myself and nurturing myself through my daily fitness and food choices. I’ve been listening to my body and enjoying the process of learning new things about myself and challenging myself. I want to have a strong mind, be full of energy and focus on the good things in life. I don’t want to spend my energy on stressing about my appearance and whether or not I can or cannot eat something. That’s serious waste of time as it will never work in the long run. You’ll end up in square one, hating and blaming yourself again. Mind and body are so closely entwined to each other that if you mess with your head, you’re for sure messing with your body, too. And the other way around.
Oh, and guess what. My body has really been thanking me for this change of attitude. Also appearance-wise. So please, rather than going on another diet, try being kind to yourself for a change and mindful about your choices. You’ll end up enjoying life a lot more when you free up all the energy you use for dieting for something that actually matters! And this plan works in the long run, too, not just right before summer.