It’s pretty crazy how much things can change in a year. Oftentimes change is thought of as a bad thing. It’s new, unknown, and scary. But sometimes, in order for us to grow and blossom, the change needs to happen.
“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes” – Hugh Prather
Once upon a time, I went to the gym for an hour and a half six days a week. Every food that went into my body “clean”. I had virtually no body fat. I was mentally and physically exhausted all the time. I’d encourage my personal training clients to practice self-love, but neglected to practice what I preached. This continued for years and years. But I saw nothing wrong with the way I was living. Now, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t by any means purposely starving myself or purposely exercising obsessively. I’ve had firsthand experience with eating disorders, and this wasn’t one. Health and fitness was (and still is) my passion. However, I let it go too far. It was an unsustainable lifestyle and I wasn’t truly happy. Scrolling through Instagram, I would see all of the “fitness models” and “Fitspo” accounts and immediately get down on myself. I would think, “I want abs like that” or “I want arms as muscular as hers”.
I was never good enough.
Then just about a year ago I started accumulating little injuries. First it was my shoulder, then came my knees. My body didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel right. My body had finally said, “Enough”. Long story short, I ended up having to work with a dietitian to put on weight. I had to take a good chunk of time off from the gym. And it was scary. This was a huge change for me. Working out was a part of my daily routine, and I wasn’t used to eating so much food. I was thrown through a loop. I started to gain weight and started to listen to my body. It was craving self-love, and I had be neglecting it.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha
Fast forward to present day. I am now approximately 15 pounds heavier than I was in April. I eat a wide variety of foods – from broccoli to ice cream. Yes, I work out 4 days a week, but listen to my body and take more days off if needed. I’ve learned so much about myself in the few months. The gym is still a part of my life, but it is no longer my life. When I scroll through social media, I no longer feel inferior. I can see through the illusion that others are painting. That girl who looks super ripped and shredded and toned? There’s a good chance she isn’t happy. I know because I was that girl once. And you know what? I’ve never been happier in my whole life. I have great friends, my body feels SO strong in the gym, and I love my graduate work. Everything has fallen into place.
I tell you this story because I want you to be mindful. Whether it be while scrolling through Instagram or while comparing yourself to someone in the gym. There may be more to the story than meets the eye. Everybody has to endure their own hardships and trials. It’s a part of life. Instead of comparing yourself to others, “stay on your own mat” as they say in yoga. Focus on your own self-growth and self-love. Workout and take care of yourself because it makes you feel good, not because you feel pressure to. Not because some Fitspo account tells you “excuses don’t burn calories”.
So take it from me: cut yourself a break and don’t take yourself too seriously. Yes, you can still set goals for yourself. But when you set these goals out of self-love, you give your body the respect that it deserve
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina.