Submitted by Carrie Riggin — Columnist
If you havent noticed, I tend to write about fun fitness topics like steps to rock hard abs or how to squat your way to a better booty. With this column, though, Ive decided to address an issue that a lot of women including myself deal with: being content with where you are in life and with your body. With bikini season right around the corner and the stress and anxiety that comes with it, I figured there wasnt a better time.
For those who dont know, my health and fitness passion stems from a six-year bout with an eating disorder. College, what was supposed to be the happiest and most fun years of my life, turned into years of isolation, self-loathing, starving and more than anything, sweat (and tears) in the gym sometimes four hours at a time. Looking back, it makes me sad knowing that I threw away relationships, opportunities and what could have been life-long memories due to this state of perfection I was trying to achieve. That state really doesnt exist.
Was I thin? Yes. Was I happy? No. I always told myself that, 10 pounds from now, Ill look hot and finally be happy. Well guess what, it doesnt work that way. Once I lost the weight, I was more unhappy than when I started my downward spiral I didnt think that was possible. After years of soul searching, therapy and support from family and friends, I learned that happiness, whether you associate it with your body, professional success or other tangible life aspect, is not a destination, but the journey (as cliché as it sounds).
As you can see, Ive always let the number on the scale determine my quality of life. It sounds so silly to some people, but it was a scary reality for me. Today, I am healthier (and probably 15 pounds heavier) and happier than I have ever been before. But like many women, I still fall into that trap of feeling I could lose a couple pounds. Its literally a daily learning process.
To combat the negative emotions, I often have to step back, take a deep breath and remind myself that life is so much more than a jean size. Even if you have 100 pounds to lose, 10 pounds or just want to tone up, Ive learned that there is always tomorrow; always a chance to change your habits, your eating, your life. But in the moment, be content. Be content with your body and the fact that it allows you to breathe fresh air every day, eat great food, laugh at the little things and love your family and friends.
Life is a journey and so is fitness. Theres always something more we can be do. Always another level of perfection to achieve (although I dont recommend going there). But realize that in the moment, you are making bold strides to get there and that takes courage. Be proud of yourself and every step you take towards your goal. Be confident in your body no matter what it looks like. I guarantee that once you relax, treat your body with the respect it deserves and be content with where you are in your fitness journey, your goals will become that much more real and that much more achievable. Friends, thats what leads to success.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Stay strong, and just be content.