Quick Disclaimer: My thoughts below on body positivity are how I feel about myself, not what I think how other people should feel about themselves. :)
Workout Sans Shirt, What?!?
The other day I jammed out my workout sans shirt, I was just feeling hot and if I’m in my basement I should be able to do what I dang well please! This got me thinking a lot about how I feel about myself physically, which of course impacts my mental state as well, how could it not?
Quite honestly, it’s something that comes up often, I’ll be moving through my lifts, feeling solid, and then catch a glimpse of myself post-workout and think “ugh, why does my stomach look like that and how many love handles can I have?” I'm always my harshest critic and rarely take the time to appreciate what I have accomplished. Instead of celebrating my strengths and progress, I focus on my flaws and what I want to change. This led me down the path of “body positivity” land and getting some thoughts down on what that means for me.
I Am Who Am
I’ve been fighting the upstream battle for a long time, losing weight, gaining weight, and losing it again, only to continue the yo-yo cycle. As you can probably tell from my website name, if you get the reference, this has been a cycle I've been fighting since I was a kid. Even now as a ‘mid-life’ adult, I can still make amazing things happen, but it takes a lot more routine, tracking, consistency, goals, and a healthy dose of realistic expectations; I Am Who I Am.
I’m on the journey and like where I’m heading, maybe I won’t be the super shredded Dad, maybe I won’t look exactly how I picture myself in my mind, but I can damn well try but most importantly I need to be happy with who and where I am. I hear it from others; “you’re doing great you should be happy about how you look”. The truth is I’m not, but am I devastated by it, and is that holding me back from putting in the work? Nope, it’s not - but mind frame wasn’t easy to get to either
Being happy with who I am requires a plan and effort - work I now love to do (more often than not) but it wasn’t a light switch that just turned on, it took a long time to get to this point. Plan, be consistent, have a routine, evaluate your progress, make changes, rinse…wash…repeat!
Compare and Contrast
Comparing yourself to others can be wonderful and inspiring, but it can also be negative, and it's important to stay realistically positive about how I'm comparing where I am to where I want to be and working towards that. I'm a work in progress and I'm okay with that and of course that 'work' has its good and bad days. Body positivity is a journey that takes many detours and has many ups and downs, both in weight and in what I'm accomplishing. I've had to learn that comparing myself to others, whether at the pool or online, can both be empowering and negative. I don't know what others have gone through to get to where they are, what they struggle with, the hard work they've done, and in the end, I can only control what I can control; myself and my growth. While I might not look how I want right now, I can keep working on my goals, be positive about where I'm at, and encourage and be inspired by others.
What does body positivity mean to you?