Learning to love our bodies is a life-long process that, ironically, gets easier as we get older and look worse! Why couldn't we have appreciated out teenaged bodies? Andrea Rodgers is one of those women that looks like a workout commercial, and still, she struggled with self-image for years. Apparently, none of us are immune. I like the her honesty about her obsession. I also like how her goal changed over time. This is her story:
This story is going to show one of my insecurities, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. But it is confession time. I’m not a fan of my midsection.
If my stomach had a personality, it would be verbally abused, black and blue, torn apart, and beat down. It would have absolutely no self-confidence because it was always told it wasn’t good enough. For the past 8 years, we have been in an abusive relationship.
My workouts were based on getting rid of my belly fat. Instead of finding a feeling of accomplishment after a workout, I would feel good for a moment, run into the bathroom, rip my clothes off to shower, and see my stomach, the same as it always has been. That endorphin high would kick in and then shut off. "It's still there!"
As I would watch other athletes at my gym set new personal records and bask in the success of their hard work, I took a long look at my training and goals. I was training very hard but stopping myself at a certain level because of this false goal in my mind of losing my belly fat. It was an obsession. Until I allowed myself to let go of it, I was chasing a damaging dream.
Setting your training goals to have a certain body fat percentage is based solely on how you look. It consumes your life 24/7. I decided to change my goal. By changing my goal to strength, agility and endurance, I was able to feel something I had never allowed myself to feel before. I liked the feeling of being strong, fast and fit just because it feels good.
It’s not about how my body looks anymore. It’s about how my body performs.
A few things happened that helped me along in my journey. One was getting my first pull up. This has been a goal of mine for about 10 years. For the first time, I was in love with my body for accomplishing that goal- tummy and all. The second was when someone in Whole Foods complimented me on my legs by saying, “Your legs look strong like tree trunks.” Now normally I would be insulted at such a comment, but I actually appreciated it. It turns out, being strong, rather than being Victoria’s Secret model skinny is more fulfilling to me.
I used to be insecure about my body. I thought a guy would not like me if I wasn’t at X body fat percentage. If you think about it, can you imagine having a healthy relationship with someone who would judge you like that? The bottom line has slowly become sustainability, happiness, and self-love. My whole idea of happiness was based on a certain weight or look. That alone was unsustainable. Centering your self-worth around what your body looks like is completely superficial, and that is not the type of person I want to be. It is not the example I would like to set for my daughter, niece, or friend.
Deadlifting 210 lbs today, completing a dead hang pull up, and enjoying my food without guilt is worth way more to me than waiting for my stomach to shrink. Finding people who could care less about my body percentage and actually love me for my laugh, strengths, weaknesses, and bubbly personality is what I am really after. I can finally say that I definitely do not need a flat stomach to feel and be awesome.
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