Just a Reminder

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I wanted to share this today because I needed this reminder and I’m sure that many others do as well.

Our weight does not define us. The way that people love us is not contingent on the size of our thighs or our pant sizes. The way that we love ourselves shouldn’t be either.

I read an article recently that bashed the body positive movement because, as the article said, that it promoted an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity. I have had a hard time wrapping my brain around their thoughts and my own opinion on the subject, but I am going to do my best now to share how I feel.

I think that people are trying to put too much responsibility on the shoulders of body positive advocates. A plus size model should be allowed to tell her followers to love every curve, every jiggle, and every piece of their body without in the same breath having to say, “but you should also exercise and eat well.” I think that is what many people expect and I don’t think it is their job and they shouldn’t have to do it.

I believe that health and fitness is vital to a happy life. MY life is vastly better when I workout consistently and eat well, but I am not going to preach that to someone who is scared and uncomfortable with their body. What that article didn’t understand is that sometimes you have to love yourself first before you can take care of yourself.

Sometimes you need to accept your curves and love the skin you’re in before you decide to try that barre class or go to Zumba or head out and run a mile. It is a lot easier to say fuck the haters in a fitness class when you love yourself and are feeling yourself then if you are told to be embarrassed and ashamed of your body by society.

My whole life I have hated my body because that is what society told me. That is what the bullies in my upbringing told me. I was surrounded by a loving and supportive family, and still I hated myself. I had an eating disorder and still didn’t feel thin enough, I still didn’t feel good enough.

No one should have to feel like that. I repeat, NO ONE.

No woman, man, or person should have to make the decision that they can only love themselves if they are exercising or eating well. No one should be telling body positive advocates that they aren’t doing enough, because they are doing more now than ever before. We are making strides so that EVERY woman can openly love herself and not just those who workout and eat clean.

Body positivity isn’t an excuse for obesity, it is about loving yourself, accepting who you are, and doing with that what you will. Loving myself means I wake up early and workout because for me, loving myself means making time for fitness. The key word is me. What is love for me might not be for you, and no one else should tell you how you are allowed to show love to yourself, no one but you.

So go ahead and show yourself a little love today.

Letting Go

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A wonderful friend of mine sent me a journal last week called “Letting Go.” This amazing journal is filled with alternate quotes and blank pages to be filled with things that you are decided to let go. For me, this is an amazing resource.

There are too many amazing things in life to hold onto bad, negative, or hateful thoughts and feelings. I plan to fill these pages with things I need to let go. Page one, my stomach.

I have been hung-up for years that my stomach is not flat enough and that has held me back from wearing cute outfits, swimsuits, and more. I have let my hatred of my stomach make me so uncomfortable that I withdraw from conversations, events, and outings. I become so self-conscious of my midsection that I let it eat away at me.

Well news-flash, it is just a stomach. No more, no less, just a stomach. It is meant to be digesting food, not in knots over my fears of how it looks in a two-piece, or I feel in a form-fitting outfit.

I give it so much power and control over me that is completely unnecessary, so it is time to let it go. Enough with my obsession and shame of it. It is time to let that go and accept that it will always be a part of my body. No matter how committed to working out and eating well I am, I know that I will always find problems with it, so it is time to let it go.

I look forward to letting go of so many other things that don’t serve me or improve my life. It will take time, but I will get there.

Make A Positive Mark

I believe that you are in charge of creating your life. I have always believed that it is your actions, intentions, and thoughts that make up the core of your life.

Every morning when I choose to wake up and go for a run or head to the gym I am shaping my life and who I am. What I never realized was how vital the role that others can play in making you better.

I still believe that the source of who I am comes from me and the choices I make but it is the people I have in my life that make things more special. Having people to share my life with is what makes it wonderful.

I have always had a strong core of people in my life who make me happy. My dad has been with me through every up and down and has always strived to make me laugh and smile. My family is truly a special part of my life that I would never give up. My friends teach me to be a better and kinder person every day and I am so thankful for them.

Recently I have met a boy who makes me feel so special and wonderful and much happier than I ever thought I could be. He is truly perfect to me and every moment I spend with him I become a better and stronger person.

What I am saying is that how you live your life should have an impact on others, and hopefully a positive one.

What is the Value of Fitness?

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To me, running is an art. The movement of your legs, swiftly filing one foot in front of the other takes an amount of skill not widely recognized by the human race. The swing of your arms and placement of your hands in a rhythmic dance with your breathing makes running something truly special.

What is most fantastic about the art of running is that anyone can do it.

I am a runner. I love it and find it to be the most wonderful and exhilarating form of exercise that I have tried to date. But, what is the value of running? Or more importantly, what do I lose when I log only miles?

To be fit as a fiddle you have to vary your workouts. I hate this fact. If I could run every day for the rest of my life I would, but I will not get a better, more in shape body that way.

I will never truly reach my peak fitness if I don’t hop on the spin bike once in awhile or reach for a yoga mat.

The value of fitness is found in trying new things. A gym membership no longer holds the same value that it used to because hitting the elliptical and lifting weights five days a week doesn’t yield appropriate or satisfying results.

So this is an introduction to my new series, The Value of Fitness. My main goal is to try out as many new and challenging fitness regimens as possible, without breaking the bank of course, and for you to come along on the ride with me.

Join me as I tackle CrossFit, the November Project, the Orange Zone, Yoga, Spin, and so much more. What is most important is that I will be trying out these things in as many free ways as I can and reporting back to you on their worth. So stay tuned for fit fun in the evolving Boston fitness scene!

Shape You, Love You, Control You

As always it is clear to me that we are in control of our lives. We have the power to make ourselves happy or sad or better or worse.

We are in control of how we treat others, how we love others, and how we do the same to ourselves.

Know that you are worth as much love as you give to others every day. Know that there is something inside you worth fighting like hell for. That girl in you who is waiting to be molded into the wonderful, stunning, and full soul that you want to be is in there. So fight for her.

The Goal

I have a lot of large goals for myself. The problem with large goals is that they can seem unmanageable and so you quit. Thus, I have decided to set a few small goals for myself.

Goals:

1. Lose 10 pounds by September 1st

I have a whole month, five weeks actually, to dedicate to getting serious about my health. I have put on a few pounds this summer, nothing extremely noticeable, but enough that I would like to trim down a bit before I head back to Emerson. I know that this will be a crazy semester and a crazy year, so I need to get back into a good rhythm when it comes to working out and eating healthy.

That is my goal for August. It is a very reasonable goal and I have no doubt that I can do it.

2. Get my mile time down to 8 minutes

Before my injury I was pretty consistently running an 8:15-8:30 minute/mile person. I would like to get down to 8 minute miles in an attempt to push myself and do better. This will be part of my training for a half-marathon that I will be running in November. I want to prove to myself that I still have speed in me and that I will not be defined by my knee injury.

3. Make it to a cross fit class

My goal at the beginning of the summer was to try cross fit. Well with only a month left, I am not sure if I will be getting it done. I’d love to try it with a friend but haven’t quite found anyone up for the challenge. Hopefully soon I’ll take the leap and see what the craze is all about.

4. Go to the November Project

Boston is lucky enough to house a free workout group called the November Project who runs group workouts. I have been a little too shy to try it, but I am determined to do it by the end of September!

5. Complete a push-up

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I still have yet to do a proper push-up with good form. I’m hoping that with some consistent effort that I can make it happen! By the end of August I will be able to do a full push-up!

Remember how important it is to set little goals for yourself. It is so much easier when you know that there is something tangible in the near future for you to touch as opposed to looking at your big goals and getting scared.

Dealing With Self Image Highs and Lows

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have struggled with body image my entire life.

Eighth grade was the real tipping point. A male classmate of mine had angrily told me to “go eat another twinkie” one day and after that I was never the same. I don’t think I realized at first what he meant and then it hit me. He thinks I’m fat. He sees me and thinks of me as a fat girl.

I was a chubby kid. I will not deny that. I was active and loved sports, but I also liked McDonald’s and sweetened soda and all of those things that just weren’t good for my body. But I don’t think I realized that I was fat until that moment. I mean I knew I wasn’t thin. I knew I wasn’t like the pretty, skinny girls in middle school who wore double zero Hollister jeans and belly shirts. I knew I wasn’t like them, I had always covered up my body. Often times wrapped up in my dad’s extra-extra large sweatshirts. But now it was real, I was fat and I immediately starting scrutinizing myself.

It was the summer after that hurtful comment that I entered the world of fitness. I wanted to get in shape for high school soccer so I started running and swimming and working out constantly all with the desire to be that fit, skinny girl that I wanted to be in my head. I also took on a strict 900 calorie-a-day diet. I starved myself. For four months I don’t think I ate chocolate or french fries or anything. I remember eating these ham sandwiches on low-calorie bread and 70 calorie yogurts. I remember eating plums and strangely enough I don’t remember many vegetables.

I do remember how it felt when I lost 25 pounds in one summer. I remember the awe in people’s eyes. I remember them saying I looked great and I remembered how it felt to finally, finally be a skinny girl. I remember it so clearly that I have tears in my eyes because I want that again.

Then came the fear. The fear of food. The fear of going to school and someone offering me a cookie, or hanging out with a friend and them offering me a slice of pizza. I was no longer in my own, protected world of starvation and running and I was terrified. Every day I spent hours thinking about food and the temptation and about getting fat.

I lived like that for years and then one day, my junior year of high school I realized I no longer had that resolve to say no. And so I ate.

Since then, four years later, it has been a diet roller coaster. I will get down to a great weight and then blow it. I will love my body and then I suddenly have no will power.

Recently, I haven’t been able to run and that has resulted in a severe depression that has led to me eating. I have once again allowed myself to dip into an unhealthy weight and once again I have to claw my way out of it.

It doesn’t matter how many times my dad tells me I look great, or the guy I’m dating tells me he loves my stomach, or my grandfather says that I finally look like myself, or my coworker tells me my body is banging, I hate it. I hate my body. Right now, while writing this I hate myself. I have let myself get somewhere that I never said I’d be again, and it’s scary.

But I know I have the strength to fight this, to get back to being who I am. It begins today and every day, the fight with my self image is real and alive, and I need to win this time, I NEED to win.