For those of you who have been following my blog for the past year (thank you very much!), this post may look a little familiar to you. It is something that I wrote last year after struggling from severe body image issues. As bathing suit season quickly approaches, I find myself feeling this way again and I think it is important to share with you. Please comment below if you have ever felt this way. I’d love to hear from you.
My Struggle with Being Perfectly Imperfect
It wasn’t until late last year when I realized that I was sick. No, I wasn’t sick in the way that most people would describe sickness. I didn’t have the flu, a cold, strep throat, or cancer. Instead, I was plagued with the sickness of hating my body!
I have had clients say to me that I am “lucky that I have never been fat or had to deal with body image issues” and I have wanted to scream from the rooftop about the years of calorie counting, obsessing and constant working out. They were right, I have never been “fat”, at least not to anyone else’s standards (although I did gain the “freshman fifteen” after graduating from college). However, there have been many times where I would look in the mirror and see a fat person, a person who wasn’t good enough.
I guess it all began in my teen years (let me preface this by saying that I have the most wonderful, supportive and loving parents and none of this was because of them. I completely blame it on the media’s portrayal of what a woman should look and be like). In high school I was a cheerleader and later became a dancer in my college years. I remember even then, at a size 0, thinking that I wasn’t thin enough. I would dance all day and still do crunches during every commercial break to get those “perfect” abs. My stomach was never flat enough, my thighs were never small enough.
My illness was only exasperated into my adult years as I became a personal trainer, got engaged and began planning for my wedding. At this point I was working out twice a day and eating about 500 calories. I would be in a class at the gym, going on my second hour of exercise, and shaking terribly. I had constant headaches and fatigue (not to mention the candida and leaky gut that followed for years to come). I didn’t care. I was going to be “perfect” for my wedding. The day that I got my dress altered the seamstress said to me that I had “the smallest waist she had ever seen” and that she was going to have to take in my Barbie Doll wedding dress even more. At the time, I thought this was the greatest compliment that I had ever heard. Little did I know that my body was crying for help.
The constant body image issues only continued throughout my career. Being a fitness professional can be brutally hard on your ego, especially when comparing yourself to every air-brushed beauty on fitness videos or magazines. There have been times where I haven’t wanted to film a video because I wasn’t skinny enough and crazy enough, there were times where I wouldn’t even buy workout clothes because I wanted to have the “perfect” figure first (are you kidding me?! To buy workout clothes?!). When I didn’t sleep for three weeks before my website photo shoot because I was obsessing over my weight, the carbs that I would eliminate from my diet and how I could make my abs look chiseled, I knew that I had a serious problem! This was when I decided to change my life.
It was finally during the last few months when I realized something (light bulb moment)…..no one is perfect!!! Every flaw of ours makes us unique, special, beautiful and imperfectly you. I am done with feeling like I cannot share my gifts because I’m not what media thinks I should be. Sure, I would love to have a 6 pack, a great butt, a perfect smile, grow a foot taller or erase the bags under my eyes. However, all of my imperfections make me who I am! Can you imagine a world where everyone was cookie cutterly (is that a word?) perfect?! How boring would life be?
So, let’s take a stand! Let’s love ourselves not despite our flaws but for our flaws. No more calorie counting. No more dieting. No more excessive exercise. No more missed opportunities. Let’s workout and eat right to be healthy and happy. Let’s decide that it’s enough to be #perfectlyme!!!