Earlier this year, I opened up about my battle with negative body image. It was scary to share such a vulnerable part of myself, but it also was therapeutic to put my feelings into words. Now here I am six months since that post. A lot has changed for the better!
The biggest lifestyle change that I’ve made and committed to is running. Gosh, it probably sounds ridiculous to say this but running has quite possibly saved my life. Well, my mental health at least. Becoming a runner throughout this year has provided me a sense of accomplishment, which in turn has boosted my confidence and sense of self-worth. I mean, I went from being able to barely make it three minutes on the treadmill to finishing two 5k races this summer. One of which I placed first in my age group! Now, my workout days are my favorite days. I feel at my best when I’m on the treadmill. My body is strong and continues to prove me wrong when I challenge and push myself outside my comfort zone.
Another added benefit of running regularly? Weight loss. While my issues with body image didn’t start or stem from a simple desire to lose weight, it’s still an added benefit. I’m happy (and proud!) to share that I’ve lost seven pounds since May! Numbers have never been my focus or motivation; instead, I’m glad that my clothes are fitting better and I just feel better overall. More like myself. More confident. That’s all I could ever want or hope for.
Unfortunately, I’d be kidding myself if I thought/said that my body issues are no more after only acknowledging them six months ago. Ha ha. YEAH RIGHT. Even with all the positive physical progress, I still struggle hard with the mental/inner-voice side of things. I know that I just said that I feel more confident these days, and I do. But, when I have an off day I have a really off day. (Kind of like right now while I’m writing this post!) So basically throwing all that confidence out the window. Still berating myself in the mirror and saying ugly things. It’s not pretty. Even though I feel okay, some days when I look in the mirror it just doesn’t show or come together. And, I recognize that my initial reaction shouldn’t be to verbally abuse myself. Nasty habits die hard. I’m not perfect, and I’m definitely a work-in-progress.
That said, when I have an off day I’m working toward replacing those negative feelings with positive affirmations. Even if I don’t feel okay head-to-toe, if I can compliment myself on one thing – no matter how small – I take it as a personal win. Everyone also tells me to try the trick that if I wouldn’t say something to my friend then I shouldn’t say it to myself either.
Well, thanks for letting me share a little progress update on my battle with negative body image. It might be something that I always struggle with, but I’m upbeat with the growth that I’ve made in a relatively short amount of time. I hope that being open and transparent about my own experiences can start an honest and positive conversation. I’m always here if any of you want/need to talk!