My battle with self image has been a really long one. I’ve always nit-picked my body in the mirror and compared myself constantly to everyone around me including the heavily photoshopped images we are all constantly lapping up in the mass media. My weight has fluctuated and my journey with exercise has led me to some very unhealthy places, until recently. I’ve dabbled in a lot of home workouts, classes and gym workouts. There have been times when I focused on high rep low weight lifting programs with heavy cardio. I once spent some time with Bas Rutten’s all around fighter workout regimen along with cardio (I was RIPPPEDDD). Sometimes I counted calories to a disturbing degree and sometimes I just cut out all food as much as possible to exert my own control over my weight. After years of this rollercoaster of disastrously unhealthy behavior that seemed to the outside world a girl getting in shape, I’m finally having a bit of success with my diet, exercise and a semi-regular ability to practice real self-love. In order to finally jump over my struggles with weight and my ability to be honest with my inner child I’ve had to remember but one thing: Just take it one step at a time.
I tend to work out hard and crash diet until people start to notice and give me the compliments that I thought that I was waiting for. Soon after these outpourings of love from external sources I would self sabotage and start “treating myself” to the foods that I had cast out and I would begin to skip workouts or yoga bargaining with myself that “I deserved it.” These behaviors should have shown me what I know now, but heck, life is but a journey. The reality of this is that I wasn’t searching for external approval and I didn’t even want to have the perfect body. These were just masks that I wore over the fact that I needed to take a hard look within myself and learn to say those three dreaded words. This ability to love myself was necessary in order to love my body and even to eat only until satiated. It has led me to enjoy working out as a mode to feel good and healthy instead of a dire need to be perfect. And most importantly to me and cowboyfriend, it’s inspired me to be healthy and eat just until I am satiated instead of binging on an entire pizza on a whim.
The revelation of my new life regimen came from Cowboyfriend’s oldest brother who I’ll refer to as the Entrepreneur. He had read a book entitled One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer and was following what the book refers to as The Kaizen Way. This philosophy in the most basic of descriptions entails that you take one small step every day towards your goals. For example, I have always wanted to tone my arms but never has a workout regimen stuck. So I made a vow on the first week to do 10 pushups a day. The next week I added two more arm workouts to target each part of the upper arm muscle. This small goal to tone my arms has turned into an entire resistance workout that targets every muscle in my body and incorporates daily runs; all possible by taking one small step a couple of months ago. Through this philosophy I’ve also begun reading again by starting with only a page per night and slowly cut out all of the sugar that I so lovingly munch on. The belief that one small step can make a difference will put a pin in self sabotaging comparison behavior, you’ve just got to respect the journey.
I have stopped looking towards an end goal for everything that I set out to do, obviously I have an end goal but I stay way from the alluring tunnel vision. Instead one step at a time has forced me to formulate a plan with solid foundation to reach each goal. Loosening my grip on the necessity of “finishing” a task, I’m opening my consciousness to the rewards that come from daily practice. I’m focusing on the present moment instead of a future that I’m working towards, somehow this shift in my goals has allowed me to unlock progress that I’ve never experienced in my figure, my diet and my ability to look in the mirror to say “I LOVE YOU!”. And, you know what? I actually believe myself now.
I can’t always help where I am on the ride, but I sure can look around to take in as much of the scenery as possible. After all, there’s a reason that the driver took this route.