Happiness leads to Healthy Living!
Disclaimer: This is a personal account of my story. I know that every person has their own struggles, and it may not be easy for everyone to reach a point where they can take care of their bodies. It’s a process, so my next blog post will outline ways to start the journey of self-love...but for now, read on!
I struggled in deciding whether to publish this transformation post, but not for reasons you are probably thinking. Unfortunately, whether posts intend to or not, they emphasize solely the physical transformation and even more disturbingly, the audience is comparing themselves to the post. Regardless of what the image is promoting, people tend to see through their own perception, and it’s usually a negative one as it relates to them…again, comparatively. But let me try to flip it, let me show you the positive, let me tell you that your weight does not define your happiness, let me tell you my perception of these two pictures.
2011 vs. 2018. In the older photo (on the left), I see a very well put together female, so no, this post is not about how I felt terrible being overweight, tired, with low self-esteem and lacking confidence. No, no, I was just as energetic, confident, with a great understanding of my self-worth, I just wear more yoga pants in public now. Oh, and let me remind you, I have been in my current body for several years now.
Back then, I took care of myself the way I thought was best for me at that time. I was exploring the world (going out a little too much), still working out while caring too little about my food choices, but living life to the fullest, or at least that’s what I thought. Did I think I needed to lose a few pounds? Sure. Did I still think I looked good and loved my body with those extra pounds? Absolutely! Here is the thing, when we feel good mentally, we take care of ourselves, and we do more healthy things for our bodies that ultimately result in settling into our healthy weight. AHA moment! That is exactly what happened to me. I consciously stopped eating crappy food and started making healthier choices. Slowly, I saw changes, and when I felt that I was ready, I began to create goals for myself that were REALISTIC!
Side note – prior to 2011, just like many of you, I went through yo-yo dieting, becoming really strict, then giving up, then getting angry at myself…so, been there, done that!
Here is the thing, I believe in the power of women, yet so many females I speak with think that if they were skinnier, they’d be happier and not just with their bodies, but with life in general. From personal experience, I can tell you – this is not the case. NEWS FLASH – you might experience short-term happiness, but it won’t last just because you lose weight. Happiness has been proven to be internal. And when it comes to loving and accepting your body, weight plays a very small role in it.
Let me explain: body image is both the mental picture you have of your own body and how you see yourself when you look in the mirror. Self-esteem is how you value and respect yourself as a person. Self-esteem affects how you take care of yourself, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Body image and self-esteem directly influence one another. When you have a healthy body image, you feel comfortable in your own skin and with your body, know how to care for it. The connection is clear.
When someone doesn’t like their body, what do they do? They go on crazy, short-lived fad diets, over-exercise, stop enjoying life, and then when they do fail, they feel extremely guilty for not accomplishing their goals…and so the negative cycle continues. Having a healthy body image means recognizing the qualities and strengths that make you feel good about yourself.
I still have cellulite (probably forever and that’s ok), indulge in my “I just ate three meals in one” days, I can’t lift as much as I want, the list goes on. Essentially, there is still a lot more work to do, but I am fine with it all because I am working toward my goals - without torturing myself, enjoying the process and loving every bit of my body, my curves, every fat cell, and every imperfection!
Change is never easy, it requires sacrifice, dedication and willpower, but it doesn’t have to be torturous! I am advocating for healthy choices that make you feel good about yourself. Reminder: everybody is unique. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” body type that’s right for everyone. So, continue to challenge yourself to be the best version of YOU, to truly be comfortable with yourself fully and confidently.
Edits by the lovely: Anastasia Bogomolov and Marianna Golyak