Would that I had served my God that way

Would that I had served my God the way I had watched my waistline – Thomas Wolsey

“Fitness saved me.”

“Personal development saved me.”

“This business saved me.”

But the one thing that kept ticking in the back of my head was, why wasn’t it God? Or was it? Did He give me all these things? I don’t feel him.

Let me back track a bit in case you don’t know my story…

I’d never been on a diet in my entire life until I got it in my head to do a bikini competition a year after my second child.

I had spent the last 10 years loving health and fitness, being in damn good shape and having never counted a single calorie or ever recall hating my body much or worrying about what I should and shouldn’t eat. The diet world and calorie counting was totally foreign to me.

I was just shy of top 1o out of 200 people in my competition and I still felt I had inches to lose, areas to improve on. I look back and think … what on earth did I see!? What did I think was so awful?

But it’s called body dysmorphia, and your flaws are crippling even if they’re made up.

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Fast forward to now, not quite 15 lbs heavier, a year and a few months post competition and I’m finally falling in love with myself again. I hope you can see the softness in my smile, the bits of joy flecked across my face, because it’s there.

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September 2018; 1 year post competition

It took until probably 8 months post competition for me to hit true burnout. I was trying so hard to maintain my fitness, to maintain my body, it was slipping away from me and I was too tired to hold on.

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June 2018

And so then I was left with this post partum body that was supposed to be gone forever. My happiness was tied up in the fit body I created and then it was gone. And I was left with this … with this message that said fitness and personal development had saved me, but that salvation was temporary and based solely on my high performance, and as soon as I couldn’t perform any longer, well I was ruined.

I was more depressed than ever, and before all you thin body shamers start freaking out because I’m still small and how can a thin person talk about their pain in weight gain etc etc just hold your plus size horses for a second and let me talk.

Ahem.

I was more depressed than ever. My body was slow. Weak. I felt it in every movement. I wasn’t working out anymore, I was eating food I didn’t even LIKE like sugary junk food (the body does weird things to recover from famine) and I felt like a failure. I felt embarrassed to see anyone who knew me, because I was now that mom who let herself go. I see this photo now and am shocked at how differently I saw myself then.

Disgusting. Fat. Ugly. Whale.

I can’t begin to describe to you how I saw myself entirely different then, then I do now. Now? Just a woman wearing a bikini that’s too small for her. But perfectly beautiful regardless.

I was tortured by my mind, by societies rules, by my weight and my pants that taunted me for not fitting anymore.

I’m better now you know.

I haven’t lost the weight, I don’t lift weights or do HIIT workouts anymore.

I yoga.

That is all.

Well and I walk my dog. Hardly a rigorous fitness regime by today’s standards.

How dare I be happy?

And yet, here I stand. A little beaten, a little bruised, but happy.

And I’m haunted by this quote … would that I had served my God the way I had watched my waistline …

Imagine a world where we focus inward, and upward.

Imagine women with the freed up mental space where they aren’t worrying about their bodies, and instead are moving forward in their dreams as fully aware and present beings.

Hell imagine MEN that way too because Lord knows the assault on men’s body image is here too.

So let’s commit together; no more chasing the perfect body. Acknowledge your cellulite as apart of you. Acknowledge that new dip at the bottom of your stomach where your pants dip into. Acknowledge you can’t get even one thigh into your old pants. Acknowledge your weary dark circles under your eyes, and with all of that choose to believe you are worthy of loving yourself.

Let’s not just say it, let’s spend time sitting with our current circumstance. Our goal is to be confident in our body and who we are, so spend time actually feeling into what that feels like. Work up those feelings in your body. Get excited. Picture yourself walking down the street and drum up the feeling of confidence. How do you walk? Head high? Smile on your face?

And then start doing that.

You can live that right now, in the body you are in, and then spend that extra time on your relationship with God, with your family, with yourself. Learn, grow, chase dreams. Your weight should never hold you back.

I am 15lbs heavier, and I have never felt lighter.

 

 

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On Sharing the Real Pictures…

 

These two photos were taken the same week. Guess which one I didn’t share on the world wide web?

Yep. The left. The one that shows my squishy tummy. The one that made me cringe, and cry, because it’s been 7 years since I looked any different from the picture on the right, and I placed my value on it.

At this point in my mom journey, I was 6 months post partum and diagnosed with Post Partum Depression, which I had refused treatment for. I was and am scared of medications, but I was mostly scared of admitting I needed them, and couldn’t fight it on my own.

My fitness and how I look has been huge to me, for a very, very long time. I’ve struggled with my weight a little bit, but mostly I’ve struggled with accepting myself as I am, and just enjoying working out and eating well for the sole purpose of just that, being healthy. Being strong. I have a definition in my mind for how I should look, and I beat myself up if I don’t look that way.

And I didn’t.

And here I am, 3 weeks out with baby number 2 and have become a health and fitness coach, have been sharing my fitness journey this pregnancy on social media like crazy, and am now faced with the sudden reality that soon I will be sharing my post partum fitness journey.

No more pretty belly selfies.

No more “wow, you have like, the perfect pregnant body!” comments …

It’s about to get real.

Our culture LOVES pregnant women. Honestly I get stopped all the time. Talked to all the time. And I hate being pregnant so imagine how fun that is 😉

But what about post partum? Have I been basing my worth on how I look this pregnancy? Maybe. Probably. Sometimes. Not always. I work on it. I am doing my best to embrace the love handles, the cellulite and the thickness that weighs me down and frustrates me. I can’t say I fully embrace it because I am afraid of the after.

In fitness, it seems the truest successes are the ones that have flat tummy’s post partum and say “see, if I can you can.” which is sort of ridiculous because … every single body is different. Where we started is different. Where we are going is different … so how does that equate to us all being able to achieve the same goal?

It doesn’t make sense.

And yet here I am, with my post baby goals being things like, walk across the stage in Nashville at the Beachbody classic, and in my head I have the perfect body. And that’s the only reason I’m brave enough to consider it. Because I’m fairly certain I’ll get to where I want.

But what if I don’t?

What if I don’t look how I think I should? Will I still compete? I say yes…but this is going to be a very challenging period of learning to love the new me. Because our bodies are just different after babies, and I never accepted that. I tried to cheat it by sharing only the photos I wanted to.

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I shared this photo last summer, but I didn’t share that I undid the top button most of the day and sucked in my baby ponch most of the day because I couldn’t stand how my own body felt.

I was, in short, a fraud.

And maybe I still am. I’m able to accept my body right now because this is the way it’s supposed to look.

Will I be able to share with you all, when it gets really real, and I’m on the other end of this pregnancy?

I know I will force myself to, because it will force me to grow. And I want to grow. I want to be real.

But know that I’m just as real a person as you, I have feelings, fears and I struggle with my own set of issues. And if you say things like, I have no reason to feel those fears because I look great, you’re missing the bigger picture.

The point is that no woman seems to be able to love themselves fully. Regardless of how fit we are, I guarantee you, ask the fittest woman on the planet, I bet she hates her nose or something.

If you think because I have this body I have that I should have no reason to not love myself, then you’re struggling to. Because you have an idea in your head of what perfect looks like, and unfortunately, none of us stack up.

So here’s to not stacking up.

Here’s to being ourselves, and having fit goals but still enjoying life and love all the while.

Here’s to eating a piece of pizza because we have plans that have held us up and we can fall back into the next day.

Here’s to balance, here’s to healthy babies,

and here’s to the next 3 weeks of being as healthy and fit as possible as an act of love to myself, and respecting the results whatever they may be.

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