This post is a going to be a little different, a little less ‘informative’ and a lot more personal. A little less fitness and a lot of real life. To be honest, I’m feeling more than a little vulnerable and nervous.
And what’s causing ALL THE FEELS? Well..it comes down to three seemingly unrelated things: cross country, my historically tenuous body image, and last month’s workout video.
Let’s start at the beginning.
I’ve been a runner since I discovered exercise. My complete lack of hand eye coordination basically decided it for me. From the time I was twelve years old until I was twenty-two and put on bed rest, this was my main form of moving my body.
I couldn’t sprint or run super fast, so cross country was an obvious choice. That’s 3.1 miles of hilly torture, my friends. I LOVED it. My competitive nature was brought out as I closed in on the girls in front of me, watching the the space between us lessen until I could gather the energy to pull into the lead.
I vividly remember the ache in my quads and the burning in my chest, my eyes fixed on the girl in front of me as I “closed the gap.” I also remember what I would tell myself as I got closer and closer.
You can pass her. She’s got cellulite. Of course you can pass her.
Ugh. I cannot believe I thought that. But I share this super scary, vulnerable truth with you today because it demonstrates how much I hated my body. Cellulite represented weakness, and if I was going to win, I couldn’t have it. If I was going to win, I would have to be the thinnest, faster girl on the trail. I repeated these thoughts to myself over and over while racing. And 3.1 miles is a long way to hear that idea on repeat, lovely.
Throughout high school and my early college years, this belief permeated my every thought (note the exceptionally skinny legs and arms) about myself and those around me.
My body image was completely based off of my thinness and lack of that dreaded cellulite stuff. I always wanted to be smaller and worked out to “burn off” any fat on my body. Only by doing this could I find a reason to like myself.
Fast forward…to last month
I was getting ready to film an awesome complex workout, and it was hot as hell in Austin. Instead of donning a pair of Lululemon yoga pants to cover up my legs, I grabbed oldest, grubbiest pair of spandex shorts (cuz isn’t that a great plan).
It was right there, front and center, on my screen. I stared at the image filling up my screen and had no idea what to do. That fucking cellulite was all I could see.
Cross country flashbacks filled my head, my hands started sweating, and my face turned bright red. For hours, I considered deleting the video and re-filming it; nobody would be the wiser. I could still be that thin girl that ran really fast and hated her body.
But that’s when it hit me.
I’m not that girl anymore.
I don’t hate my body, but more than that, I don’t spread hatred or judgement about ANY woman’s body. I want every woman to love herself wherever she’s at, even if she’s trying to change herself for the better.
The cellulite on my legs is as much a part of me as my brown eyes. It represents my newly found self-love and acceptance, regardless of my body fat %. It represents my victory over a ten-plus year battle with a devastating eating disorder. It represents my love and respect for every woman’s body.
As soon as I realized this, I knew I couldn’t redo the video, even though it scared the shit out of me to post it live. I NEED that video to be out there as a testament to how far I’ve come and a beacon of hope for those still struggling to love themselves.
There is another way to live that doesn’t equate your self-worth with some number.
And trust me, it’s a much better way to be.
Comment below with something you love about yourself!