It’s come to my attention that there are more than a handful of people in my community that struggle with self love and body image to an extent that I can’t comprehend. It’s not something that should be shunned or swept under the rug or spoken about in a hushed voices. It’s an issue that has an answer; it’s an issue that should be talked about a hell of a lot louder than it is right now.
Here’s my outlook, my mission, and my dream.
I think it’s a pretty safe to say that every woman has thought about the way she looks at some point in her life. Standing in the mirror, wondering what she can do to fix *insert body part,* and critiquing the hell out of what she sees is not uncommon. In fact, I’d say it’s normal… Which is the first red flag about the way we view ourselves. The way we look shouldn’t be the defining marker of who we are. Instead, the way we feel in our skin should define our level of desire to live a healthy lifestyle. Feeling sluggish and slow? Out of breath after walking up a flight of stairs? Don’t have any energy? Always exhausted? Uncomfortable in your clothes? These are the things we should look for in determining that we want to focus on our health, not because our thighs look bigger today, or our hips are flabbier, or we look “fat” in an outfit.
The reality is that no matter what we look like at any specific point in time, we are the same body. Our shell doesn’t define us. Look at this awesome quote I found on Pinterest:
“You have more to do than be weighed down by pretty or beautiful. You are a fiery heart and a wicked brain. Do not let your soul be defined by its shell.”
How well said, and how true. Why did people start letting other people judge who they are based on what they see? Isn’t it always said to kids, “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” and, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts!” and, “Live by faith, not by sight!” Why isn’t this applied to body image? Why isn’t this actually lived out instead of just spoken hypocritically? We shouldn’t live our life accepting the fact that we are defined by what others think of us and our bodies. Because we’re not. That’s a game we play in our own minds; that’s something we have the power to change. We do not look a certain way for other people to approve. Our beauty truly does come from within.
It’s time to shift our mindsets off of what the world thinks about us and ponder what we, our own individuals, think about us. We have so much value and worth in every other area of life: our passions, our characteristics, our personalities, our dreams, our actions, our hearts, our intelligence, our laughter, our relationships… the list goes on. We were made to be so much more than “our shell.” We were created to be exactly who God created us to be; and He created us each exactly how He wants us: with a purpose and a plan. No matter what the world may say about our bodies, we need to understand and believe that we are so much more than that, and we choose to take care of them because we love ourselves. We are our number one fans. We are our greatest motivators. We are our strongest support system. Why? Because we can love ourselves like no one else can. And we should continue to love ourselves always. We deserve it; we need it.
The way we treat others and live with love is way more important than the way we look. But putting our health first is important, and there’s a clear distinction between the two.
Dieting or starving yourself isn’t healthy; it’s only going to be a temporary fix. Who can live off eating two meals of celery a day forever and maintain it? Probably no one. Dieting doesn’t fix anything; it adds to the problem. Fueling your body with balanced, fresh foods will take you so much farther. It is something that can last a lifetime and fix all the previously mentioned crappy feelings: sluggish and slow, out of breath, no energy, always exhausted, uncomfortable in your clothes. Shifting your mindset from dieting to eating clean can honestly change your life. I speak from experience; I know that a world of difference is possible in not only physical results but in mental results, too. Putting your health first because it’s something you value and cherish, not because you wish you had a different body type, is the purest, healthiest way to go about your health journey. I promise, it makes it so much easier when you love yourself along the way. No one will love you like you do.
Add in some exercise and you’ve got yourself a healthy mind, a healthy heart, and a healthy body. What I’ve learned after taking care of my health is that I am not ever going to have the same body as anyone else, and that’s something I not only accept, but appreciate. I don’t want to be like anyone else; I am who I am for a reason, and I love that. I love my little quirks and differences; I was created this way for a reason, and I’m so grateful for that.
And now for the dream part… I hope that I can help others find the clarity and self love that I’ve found through prioritizing my health. If you or anyone you know wants to talk health, self love, or fitness, please, please, please call me up. Nothing ignites my soul quite like shedding light on something this important yet so shunned by society. Let’s love ourselves and our health together, okay dears?
PS: I couldn’t have found this wisdom without the help of my biggest role model and closest health ally, Kelly Timmerman. Big thanks to a nutritionist that does so much more than help people slim down, while, more importantly, learning to appreciate health and self love.