*Disclaimer: I wrote the first draft of this post in December 2016, originally as a self-reminder. At that time, I had no blog, nice photos, or following of any sort. Instead, I was overweight at about 163 pounds (73.9 kilos) and very unhealthy in all aspects, but highly motivated to improve it.
I’ve been asked how I began my weight loss journey. This is exactly how — with a body positive mindset, and for the right reasons. The rest followed.
You know those weight loss/fitspo posts that are meant to be inspirational, but summarized, say something along the lines of: “I used to hate my body, but then I lost weight, and now I’m happy.” There are thousands of these getting thousands of likes daily, and I’m here to say that they’re extremely (inadvertently) misleading.
Getting healthy is great. I’m not knocking any of these amazing people for their hard work. But the message some of them convey is not healthy.
The “I have to look a certain way to have confidence or deserve love” mentality needs to stop.
The truth is, in order to truly be healthy in mind, body, and spirit, we have to love ourselves first. Remove looks from it:
What motivates you more — someone who criticizes your every flaw, or someone who lovingly builds up your strengths, even if there is room for improvement?
So with that said, why do we have such a hard time doing this with ourselves? We must do better.
Let me tell you something (in case nobody has recently):
Your body is beautiful. Your face is beautiful. Your legs, stomach, arms, calves, thighs, scars, freckles, dimples, hair, or lack of hair… All beautiful. There is no if. I do not even have to see you, to say this with confidence.
The reason is this: you were created specially, carefully, and uniquely. You were the perfect sperm meeting the perfect egg at the perfect moment, making a strand of DNA that only you have, telling each cell of your body exactly how to form and what to do. At the right time, you were born. Despite the odds of miscarriage or birth complications, you made it into this world. From one teeny tiny zygote cell, to a fully-functioning, whole person.
You were an infant, a toddler, a child, an adolescent, and eventually, an adult. By this point you have had countless experiences – painful, joyful, forgettable, and unforgettable. You are reading this, which means you are alive. Let me elaborate. You’ve ridden in a car thousands of times, without a single fatal crash. Sat in seats on airplanes which have safely landed each time. Crossed streets, ridden bikes, gotten sick, maybe even had surgery. Basic tasks that kill many every day, yet you are still here. Do you see how much we take for granted?
You’re telling me the body that: was so perfectly formed in your mother’s womb; has carried you through every step, every breath, every heartbeat; has millions of cells all working their absolute hardest to keep you alive every day; and does this without you even telling it to — that this body somehow deserves to be hated, just because its owner wants to compare it to another? Ridiculous.
For all the amazing things it has done for you, your body deserves so much better than to be treated with such hate. You as a human being don’t deserve to be treated with such hate. From yourself, or anyone else.
You are not made to look like someone else. You are made uniquely with your own strengths and challenges, physically and otherwise, so that you can bring something new to this world. We must honor the temples that are our bodies by nourishing, honoring, and respecting them.
You are not your outer shell. When you die, there’s a reason people call it a body, and remember you separately. When you talk about your body, you say my body. Not me. You aren’t your body. You have a body. You are a soul, whose vessel for inhabiting Earth happens to be the body.
You do not live for your body, it lives for you. But your body is necessary for you to be you, and to make a difference in the lives of those around you. And this is why you have to take care of it.
Before I get called out:
Yes, appearance matters. How you present yourself matters. This is a different post, but stay with me.
You don’t have to wear high fashion clothes, but put on something you feel proud to wear as you take on the world. Dress the part. It will motivate you.
You don’t have to “beat your face for the gods,” but wash your face and take care of your skin. It’s the largest organ in the body and one of the first to show signs of inner health issues.
You don’t have to change your body to fit an “ideal” size or trend shape, but do all in your power so that the one you were born with is at its natural, healthiest state. For some, this is a size 2. For others, 12. The number is irrelevant, and all are equally amazing.
None of this is about appeasing others.
This is solely about giving your physical self what it requires to function optimally, facilitating all of your dreams and allowing your time on Earth to be as meaningful as possible.
So to wrap up: yes, get healthy. Choose veggies over chips (most of the time). Get up and get active. Drink water. Most importantly, embrace yourself at every step of this journey. But start the journey not because you want to look like the girl on social media who got 10,000 likes. Start because the vessel that carries your soul is a beautiful gift that beat the biological odds, loves you unconditionally, and deserves the same love in return.
If this post was helpful to you, or you would like to see more like it, please share & comment below to let me know your thoughts!
My Before & After: