What is it that you see when you look in a mirror? What do you look at first?
Typically, we go for flaws. The roll of back fat, the tummy pooch, the acne, the flat butt, whatever you deem to be imperfect about yourself or whatever you feel society deems to be imperfect.
But when was the last time you looked in a mirror and really, truly thanked your body? The human body does so many brilliant things that are overlooked every day, things we take for granted time after time. It is a vessel that helps you to move, to love and to live. Those arms that you might see as flabby let you hug your family and friends and the skin that has all the stretch marks let you feel their hugs in return. Legs, thigh gap or not, let you dance and walk your dog and run and swim in the ocean and ride your bike on nice summer days to go get ice cream. You get the idea here.
See, for the longest time I was convinced that if I had abs I would be truly happy. I work in the fitness industry and having abs was going to be the source of validation that I was good at my job. That was going to be the end all, be all of health and happiness for me. But what I failed to realize is that happiness is not a destination. It’s not a place that you get to where all of the sudden everything falls into place and you can start to truly live after that. Happiness is about the journey. It’s about the way you view areas of your life, even if they are not perfect.
Before I finally got to the place of understanding that, I went full throttle towards those abs. I ate healthy, crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s, I restricted a lot of foods from my diet, I missed out going to dinner with my family. I worked out heavily, always picturing those abs. When I lost sight of that mental inspiration, I turned to Instagram and scrolled through endless re-touched, fake pictures of women that I deemed perfect wondering how in the hell I was going to get that.
…And my abs started to poke through. I weighed ten pounds less and I had a little four pack going on which was wonderful. Except when all of this finally started to happen I didn’t feel all the happiness I thought I would. Sure, I was proud and I was pleased but it wasn’t the epiphany I had expected. None of what I went through was worth it. I was miserable during a lot of, what should have been, fun occasions because I was eating salads when I really just wanted to unwind and eat some chips and dip with my friends. Literally, thinking of chicken made me want to puke at that point and chicken was something that I used to love eating (can I get an amen for chicken nuggets?!) And I was completely drained from working out and my eyes were sore and tired from staring at my phone to constantly track my macros.
So, I made the conscious choice to be a heavy part of the fitness industry and show people how to live a healthy life all while promoting body positivity… which is difficult because I feel like a lot of times they are seen as polar opposites. There is the gym rat who has a six pack and posts on social media about their meal prepping or there’s the body positive advocate who only posts pictures of their cellulite and rolls and what fast food restaurant they are eating at that day.
“You are enough. Paint it on your mirrors, on the back of your eyelids, drown it in your stomach, sing it in every word you say. You are never too much. Eat your food, sleep eight hours, walk like you love yourself. You are enough. Say it in your sleep, mantras to carry you through your day. There is never enough of you. You are a thirst that can’t be quenched. I crave you when you’re away. I love every piece of you. But I cannot make you love yourself.”
-Michelle K., “You are enough”
What if we could be both? From all my experiences, I have learned that happiness lies in moderation of both sides and from loving yourself as you are. It’s realizing that you can be a masterpiece and a work in progress all at once. Happiness is eating salads and chicken one day to having a cupcake the next. It’s finding exercise that you absolutely love and can’t get enough of. I wanted to be the example that you can workout for your health, have fun, eat well, love your body and still eat that cheeseburger every now and again without feeling badly about it.
Happiness is looking in that god damn mirror and finally seeing yourself as a whole: your stretch marks, the nice butt you have, the arms that let you hug, your acne, your shiny hair, the torso, which may have a little extra padding, that lets you have children, your back fat, your thin lips…and choosing to love every damn bit of it.