I hate my lower stomach. The “pooch” as some people call it. My upper stomach is flat and looks fine but my lower stomach…hell no. My arms are a little chunkier than I’d like. And I don’t like my love handles. They stick out when my yoga pants slip down a little too far or if I wear jean shorts. Sound familiar?
In the past two years I lost around 15 pounds or so and I was happy but it wasn’t enough. Once I got hooked on fitness, I couldn’t stop. I’d sit for hours on Instagram looking at what other girls looked like. What was this girl eating that she had a six pack? What did she do to workout? Why could this other girl eat cheeseburgers and still look like that and I felt like if I ate one cheeseburger I’d gained five pounds? I felt bad about my body. It was never good enough.
Then last weekend I went to visit my boyfriend Taylor. We were sitting at a baseball game and he was showing me something on his phone when I noticed one of his screensavers. I stopped him and looked closer at the picture. It was a picture of me after I had just got done working out. I was in a sports bra and some workout shorts, smiling and sweaty. I specifically remembered taking it. For a long time I was on a mission to get a six pack and I sent Taylor that picture to ask if he could see any difference. I felt horrible about that picture at the time took it. I picked out every flaw but sent it to Taylor anyway because I wanted someone to tell me that they could see a difference and reassure me that I looked good.
But at the baseball game, I was impressed by how I looked back then…a complete 180 from how I felt when I took the picture. The first words out of my mouth were, “Oh my god. Look how good I used to look. I look nothing like that now…”
I instantly had a sour taste in my mouth. Taylor got a little upset and said he didn’t understand how I could ever think I was fat or that my body wasn’t attractive. And besides that, my smile was gorgeous he said.
“It’s my screensaver because I think you look beautiful in that picture.”
My smile. That’s why he thought it was a pretty picture. He wasn’t looking at what I thought was flab. He didn’t care that I had a little love handle sticking out. Or not to mention that my hair was a mess and I was sweaty. He thought my smile was gorgeous.
I thought about that for a few days after. I remembered what I had to do to look like I did in that picture. I counted macros obsessively. If a friend or family member wanted to go out to eat, I’d simply refuse or get upset because now I had to change my macros. Some nights when I’d feel myself starting to get hungry I’d try and go to sleep really quickly so I wouldn’t have to eat anything more (It’s impossible for me to go to sleep when I’m hungry!). I’d measure my lower stomach every now and again to see if whatever new trick I was doing at the moment was helping to get rid of my fat. I did all of that but I still felt like shit.
That sickened me.
I went to the gym a few days later after the baseball game and saw this girl on the stair master. I stopped for a second because she was incredibly pretty. Long, flowing brown hair, the cutest pair of leggings I had ever seen (you know those mesh leggings? SO CUTE), her skin was flawless and she had an hourglass figure. I remembered my own insecurities and took a second look to see if she had any of them. She was fit but not perfect. She had very little definition in her arms and she had a “pooch” just like me… but it took me the longest time to even notice any of that and even after I did I still thought she was insanely gorgeous.
Why was it that when I looked at someone else I only saw the beautiful but when I looked at myself I only saw the ugly?
So, the next day I made a choice. I’m going to love myself. I’m going to eat veggies and fruits, drink water, go to the gym and track my macros but I am also going to go out with friends and have drinks or go out to eat on the spur of the moment with my co-workers. My measuring tape found its new home in the garbage. I’m going to workout because I want to be stronger and because I enjoy it, not because I hate my body. I’m going to stop looking in the mirror before I take a shower. Hell, I might even just get rid of all my full length mirrors all together.
Can you relate to my story?
You have to realize that you are beautiful no matter where you are at, even if you have love handles, even if when you sit down you have rolls, even if you ate one too many donuts last night.
You are worthy and deserving of love and care because your body does amazing things. YOU do amazing things and there are people that absolutely adore you even if you don’t have a six pack. That means so much more than a number on a scale.
You can be a masterpiece and a work in progress all at the same time. It’s okay to have goals and to work hard for them but also realize that living is important and you only get that opportunity once. And when you do reach those great goals, none of them will matter if you have a bad mindset about your body to begin with.
There’s a saying in the fitness industry that, “You can’t out work a bad diet” but I also now believe that you can’t out work a bad mindset either. Be happy. Love yourself for who you are now. You are a goddess.
If hating yourself could have given you the best body possible and made you happy, it would have already. You already know what hating your body feels and looks like.
It’s time to try something different.