My journey of personal body shaming and wellness
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I'm the last person you'd call a fitness fanatic. In fact, it takes everything in my power to choke down a whey protein smoothie drink or make my way to the gym. It wasn't until this last year I started noticing my motivation was dwindling when it came to overall health and wellness. I started getting sick more, I felt more lethargic, I was spending more money going out because I didn't feel like taking the time to cook a healthy meal at home and my gym time was lacking. Not to mention, my once overall toned body started to look, well, less toned. Then the mental effects of taking a hiatus from wellness began to take their toll. I do want to mention I was hesitant about sharing this section of my post because it is more vulnerable than I like to be on the blog, but I do hope by sharing my struggles and journey with self-love and mental health, it will be relatable to someone out there experiencing the same struggles.
And let me also tell you something, despite being 5'2 with a naturally smaller frame, negative mental thoughts EXIST no matter your size, shape, height or weight. I have struggled for years with personal body shaming and over the course of the last year, I started to notice the negative effects it was having on me mentally and physically. I have struggled for years comparing myself to those who are taller, have longer hair, larger breasts, leaner figures, thicker eye brows, toned abs, muscular legs, the list goes on and on. As a result, I began criticizing myself for not having a body I wanted and then I began criticizing myself for hating the body I have. It's a vicious cycle and it's no lie when they say you are your own worst critic. But want to know what is exhausting? Being constantly negative about yourself. Over the course of the last few months, I realized the time and energy I was fueling into picking apart my physical appearance and comparing myself to others could be spent doing something better. That's when I started to re-evaluate my overall health and wellness and how day by day I could work harder to be a healthier (mentally and physically) and more confident me. And truly feel confident. Let me also jump ahead, I'm not at the end of my journey, in fact, I'm still in the very, beginning stages. But here's what I will share about my journey so far:
WORKING OUT // I discovered I'm a huge fan of group fitness classes and decided that trying to get myself to go to the gym alone after a long day of work and freelance was just not going to happen. I needed to be held accountable, I needed to pay a monthly price and join a gym that would work with me to achieve my results, fitness goals and fit within my schedule. I'm happy to say I've been apart of the Orange Theory Fitness family for over two months now and I'm loving it! I'm already seeing results from my monthly classes and I love the fact I can sign up for classes on the app at my convenience (they also charge you $$$ if you cancel a class short-notice so they do a great job holding you accountable!) Aside from Orange Theory, I'm looking at incorporating a yoga or pilates class twice a week into my fitness routine to round out my weekly workouts with mental health, balance, strength and body awareness.
MEAL PREPPING // When I first started my job, I was so great at meal prepping! In fact, I went weeks on end bringing in breakfasts, lunches and snacks to get me through the day all of which were an abundance of healthy meals and alternatives to sweets and treats. I've started to slack in the meal prepping department and it wasn't until a week ago I added up how much money I've wasted going out to eat instead of stocking up at the grocery story and taking the time to prep. Sure, a happy hour and date night out is fun every once in a while but daily coffees, lunches and dinners add up! In fact, I've noticed on average, I spend close to $85 a week when I stock up on food to meal prep that lasts me a week (three meals a day) versus the $145 I spent in a week when I went out daily for meals. Meal prepping also doesn't have to be time consuming - in fact, a lot of my healthy go-to meals take less than 30 minutes to prep. Or, if I'm feeling ambitious, I'll prep a meal in the crock pot at night and have meals to go starting the next morning! Not to mention, there's so many fun recipes to try when you learn to cook and prep meals for yourself! You can make meals with ingredients you like and eliminate ingredients you don't need. I love feeling in control with what I eat, knowing what I'm eating and how much money I'm saving in the long run.
ROUTINE // I'm such a creature of habit when it comes to a routine especially revolving around sleeping, eating and needing my R&R time. The more I lack sleep or skip a meal, the more upset with myself I feel - my mental balance just feels off. I've been trying to get into a remedy of going to sleep around the same time every night, ensuring I eat at least three meals a day and dedicating at least 30 minutes out of my day to "me time" to decompress and unwind. I've found sticking to a routine and holding myself accountable to maintain this routine has incredible benefits both physically and mentally.
SET REALISTIC GOALS AND REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS // One of the issues I have always faced is setting goals and expectations that feel unachievable, especially physical goals. I also think this has to do with a lack of patience on my part. I always want instantaneous results. But guess what, that's also not realistic. I've been trying to get better at setting "range goals" for myself. To me, range goals are those that range in timing and results. For example, I've recently set a goal to drink more water on a daily basis and this is a daily range goal because I'm able to control the results and meet my expectations on a daily timeline. I also have goals that revolve around overall strength like lifting more weights at the gym or getting a six pack back - these goals are realistic but they aren't attainable overnight, but that's not to say they aren't worth aiming for! They just have a different range in how long they will take to achieve so you have to have realistic expectations.
BE YOUR OWN BEST CRITIC // A critic is defined as someone who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something. I've been working hard to be my own BEST critic meaning I'm expressing unfavorable opinions toward self hatred, comparison, jealousy and frustration. Because bad vibes, they aren't allowed!
Focusing daily on wellness and fitness has made me happier person and it just so happens to make me a healthier person both mentally and physically. Every time you tell yourself no, remember why you said yes. Every time you failed, remember why you started. Every time you feel negativity slip through the cracks surround yourself with uplifting, loving and supportive people to push you back up to the top.
All thoughts and opinions expressed on West Coast Aesthetic are my own and every collaboration is done with absolute integrity.