Love Your Body
So Valentine’s is FOUR days away!!! Second to Christmas, I’d say that Valentine’s is the most consumer-based holiday. Instead of feeding the frenzy by spending money to show just how much you love someone, I challenge you to invest in yourself this Valentine’s Day. It may sound selfish, but mental and physical health is one of the best gifts you can give to a loved one.
After the holidays, my fiancé and I made the difficult decision to eat better. This probably sounds familiar. We have been down the healthy eating and meal-prep road before. But we are human, and God just created me to love cupcakes and frozen yogurt more than the next person. By the end of last year, I felt like things had just gotten out of hand. We were eating out several times a week and not watching at all what types of food we were putting into our bodies or our portion sizes. Even after I ate whatever I was craving at the time, I just felt miserable, sluggish, and guilty rather than satisfied.
Since it’s not smart to try to lose weight while training for an Ironman (your body needs FUEL!), and because I did NOT enjoy racing my 70.3 with the extra 6-8 pounds, we decided to get back into a healthy routine and hopefully drop a few extra pounds before training begins in earnest in March.
It was all going fine until one point in mid-January. We were about two and a half weeks in to eating super healthy, and I just fell into a deep depression. I could not bring myself to eat anything AT ALL. I felt like it was just the worse thing in the world that I could not eat cheesy fries with ranch every day for the rest of my life!!! This sounds ridiculous, but it is exactly what I was thinking. (I’m sure I was in the midst of carb withdrawals and my body was detoxing.)
But right in the midst of this despairing vision of grilled chicken and broccoli, a thought popped into my head as suddenly as a light bulb coming on.
LOVE MY BODY.
I started thinking about that simple statement. I started remembering all the places my body has taken me that I never thought possible. The body that I never thought would be able to run a mile brought me to the finish line of two half ironman distance triathlons, numerous half marathons , allowed me to be competitive in endurance sailing events, and survived an impromptu hike up a mountain when I had never done anything like that before. You see, my body and me, we go way back. I have abused it, I have pushed it screaming and crying to places it didn’t want to go, yet it’s refused to quit. I decided it was time to love my body back.
At that point, my perspective shifted. I realized that I could love my body for what it is capable of and not just what it could be. Having a goal to have a perfect bikini body is great, yes, but for me that goal quickly fades when I see a cupcake. Instead, my goal is to be healthy and active as long as possible. As long as I am healthy, I can be proud of my body, no matter what it looks like.
This shift in perspective created a relationship with food that has proven to be much healthier and sustainable, both mentally and physically. Instead of eating what I find delicious at the moment, I began to think about what I can eat to fuel my body for the next activity. I could finally see this beyond a short term “diet”, and now view it as a way of life.
Not that eating healthy isn’t still ridiculously difficult at times. My fiancé and I were discussing just last night how easy it is to make the right decisions at home, where our food is prepped and there’s no junk in the cupboards. But when we are out late running errands, or spending time with friends, we have to make decisions, and that’s when we tend to stumble. Fortunately, when one of us is weak, often the other is strong. Accountability definitely makes the decisions easier. If you don’t have the benefit of someone at home who can help you stay accountable, try an app like MyFitnessPal. This is a great app that not only allows you to log your food and progress, but also allows you to see what others are eating (hello, new recipes!) and allows friends to cheer you on. You can find me with the handle: trismashley.
So my message through all of this is:
LOVE YOUR BODY WHERE YOU ARE AT RIGHT NOW.
This will give you the right mindset to make lasting changes to ensure that your body will keep taking care of you for years to come.