I am not certain that I have the mental clarity for this blog post tonight, but I have a feeling that there will never be a perfect moment to talk about this topic. It is rather like seeing something out of the corner of your eye. You cannot see it clearly, but you know it is there. So I am just going to throw it out here and let the words fall where they may…
It is no secret that I have struggled with my sense of self-worth, my body image, my self-confidence for a very long time, like only for all of my life. I have come a long way over the past few years. Training with Michael has made such a difference in my life. While I was desperate for change and spinning my wheels trying to get there well before I began training, I definitely see that first day I walked into Progressive Fitness as a turning point, a milestone. I can point to that day and say, “That is when my life began to change.” Change isn’t always easy, and changing my life has required a lot of hard work at times. I’m not complaining one bit! I am a different person in so many ways, and I’d like to think that I am a better person.
My body has changed physically, but there have also been changes to my thinking, my attitude, my sense of self-worth and confidence and the way I look at myself, my body. I have become much better at listening to the positive and the truth rather than the lies spun by the media, by others, and by my own inner demons. Except sometimes I sill struggle to believe the truth.
There are days when I feel chubby, and those are the days when I have to fight against the urge to panic over the number on the scale or the fact that Michael would like me to gain a few pounds. The panic abates when I realize that my clothes still fit, even though I am ten pounds heavier than I was last year. But then the knee sleeves will be difficult to pull up my legs one day or my belt will need to be let out a notch or I will catch my reflection in a shop window as I walk by…and the negative thoughts come rushing in.
It has been a long time since I’ve had body measurements done. My purpose in training is no longer to lose weight, so the measurements really aren’t of great importance. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can hear inside my head what Michael would say about it if I mentioned it to him. I know he would be right, but I can’t help but wonder how my body has changed since I became a power-lifter. I would like to think that some body parts would be slightly bigger because of muscle growth, but I know that I have doubts, thinking that my body fat percentage has likely increased.
Okay. I’ll be honest. Sometimes I just think I am getting fat and flabby again in all the wrong places. The common sense side of my brain tells me that I am not fat. I am not flabby, except for a bit of belly bulge, which I will admit bothers me quite a bit. I am strong. I am getting stronger. I am wearing the same clothes that I was wearing a year ago. I am healthy. I am in better physical shape than I have ever been in my life. Despite the last few weeks of crappy eating because of the renovation, I eat pretty darn well. Get a grip, Angela! (I am always frustrated with myself if I use my full name to speak to myself!)
How is it that a healthy, strong woman, who has experienced such amazing things over the past two years, can still fall prey to negativity and lies about her own body? Is it hard-wired into my DNA? Does it ebb and flow like a cycle of hormones? Can I blame it all on media and society? Whatever the case, it is frustrating and stupid and silly. I cannot believe that I am still waging this internal war, although I am at least glad to say that the battle is less fierce and of shorter duration. Perhaps that is where the real growth has been made…in the ability to anticipate the attack before it cripples me, to recognize the strategy being employed, and in being mentally strong enough now to stand up straighter in the knowledge of just who I am. Wonderfully created.
I don’t like pictures of myself. I don’t believe I am very photogenic at all, in any way, shape or form. The ugly photo (the one on the left, in case you can’t tell) was taken that first day I walked into Progressive Fitness a little more than two years ago. The photo on the right was taken in August, just a few months ago. I am not fat in the more recent photo, yet I am pretty much the same weight now as I was then. Isn’t self-perception a crazy thing! I look in my mirror and see both versions of myself at the same time. I see my leanness, my muscles, my confidence, but I still see the self-loathing, the insecurity, the extra pounds and fat. The old me is like a ghost image burned into my retinas.
I have no moral of the story to conclude with tonight. I warned you that my thoughts weren’t quite all present and accounted for! I guess I’m just struggling a bit lately, although I am the sort of person who will stubbornly put on a good front and pretend that everything is just fine. And the truth is that everything will be fine! This is just a little low mood and I will get through it, but pretending all is perfect doesn’t help me or anyone else.