Since I have started bodybuilding my entire mindset about my body image has been flipped upside down – or maybe I should say it has been flipped the right way up?
For many years I have been guilty of comparing myself to other people. Women in social media, friends, women in magazines, every woman that has walked in the Victoria Secret Show (Facebook kindly reminded me that a couple of years ago I posted a picture of Miranda Kerr on the VS catwalk with a caption stating: Using this picture as motivation!”), and even just random women that you encounter throughout your daily activities.
“She is so thin, she is so pretty, wow look how amazing her butt is, I wish I had (insert every feature known to woman) like her”
I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else and in turn making myself absolutely miserable. It would leave me feeling inadequate and that I was so far away from resembling any of those things that I desired, I would mentally convince myself those things were unattainable. Then came the justification and excuses – “She is genetically blessed, she is naturally thin, she must have had work done, she doesn’t have a real job of course she has time to exercise and eat well – she probably has a bloody personal chef!” and then the excuses for myself “I have hormone issues, my birth control makes me hold and gain weight, I am naturally bigger, I have asthma, I have a slow metabolism, I have tried everything – this is just the way I am meant to look.”
These allowed me to feel better about myself so I could slip back into my little comfortable bubble and gave the justification I needed to just continue on as I was – “Those women are completely unrealistic and freaks of nature” I said to myself as I watched another year of the Victoria Secret Show hung over with my packet of Mars Pods and can of Pepsi.
There is a great motivational quote that has been around for a while stating: “When I lost all my excuses, I found all my results.”
It wasn’t until I started to be completely and utterly truthful with myself that I managed to start getting my butt into gear (literally). I made a conscious effort to actually do everything I possibly could in my power to get healthier and ultimately change my body shape.
But how do you get yourself mentally there? How do you manage to stay consistent and grind daily towards what you want? Especially when it feels like the body I want is so far out of reach.
It’s no secret that I take a lot of photos of myself at the gym or at home or anywhere really. I have done this for a long time and I am really glad I did and still do this. I was scrolling through the photo folder I have in my phone titled “Gym” the other day and I had a huge “AH -HA” moment and I wanted to share with you as to what that was.
Over the past year and half I have collected many photos of myself, at all different angles, different weights, different levels of body fat, different amounts of food consumption. However there is one thing in common with every single photo which surprised me. I am happy. In every single photo I am smiling or have a huge ridiculous grin on my face. I looked back at these and wondered why? Why was I so happy? I can clearly see looking back at these photos that I was still overweight then, I didn’t have any real muscle definition, I didn’t look ANYTHING like the women I aspired to look like. So why was I so happy? Why had I not given up when I was still in those pudgy out of shape stages? Did I really think I looked good in those pictures on those days? My instant thought was to think how blind I must have been.
And then I realised what it was…..I had stopped comparing myself to others. Taking photos of myself finally gave me something to compare myself too, so I was constantly comparing my own photos from week to week. Then working on myself more and comparing a months worth of progress. Then 1 month turned into 3 and then half a year and, well you get the idea. I was addicted. I was addicted to seeing myself change. I was addicted to knowing that the work I was putting in was progressing me to where I ultimately wanted to be. Now I have photos that are even years apart and the transformations are literally breath taking – I literally have surprised and shocked myself in some cases.
Your mindset around your body image can be an incredibly complicated thing – So don’t forget that you are the only person that ultimately controls how you are feeling and what you do with those feelings.
It’s YOU vs YOU and nothing else