I believe strongly in body positivity. One of the best voices in this space is Jameela Jamil and her body positivity campaign I Weigh. If you haven’t come across her or the campaign, check them out. It’s all about amplifying body positive individuals and the name I Weigh refers to what we all weigh, every piece of us. Not only our measured weight but the sum of all our parts.
But I no longer feel positive with my own body. And that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? I don’t feel this way because of some elusive body goal portrayed by Hollywood or because I know that this is not the best version of myself.
I was always involved in sports as a kid, but my diet was always a wreck. And my familial genes have been against me for most of my life as well. All that said, I was a decently healthy youngster.
I continued to eat a terrible diet, and in my early 20s, a friend tagged me in an old picture of us on Facebook. We were trying to crush Coke cans on our heads, as teenage boys are want to do, and I had never been more embarrassed in my life. The picture was just a very unflattering picture of me, and not because of the behaviors.
I’m not trying to denigrate anyone, especially my family, but I’ve seen what I could expect in my future if I continued to live my life the way I was. A big belly, health problems galore, and an early exit.
I started doing research, listening to people in the know and found my plan. I slowly transitioned to eating a vegan diet, running regularly and hitting the gym on occasion. And running was a revelation.
I love running. It brings me closer to nature, mental clarity and just feels good. And I’ve gone through ups and downs with it. At my peak, I ran a marathon distance on my 25th birthday and ran 15 miles one Saturday, followed by 12 miles the next day. Both feats were accomplished while training for a 15-mile race through the nearby forest.
About two weeks before that race, my IT band cramped and it took me almost 2 years to recover. I didn’t allow myself to recover properly and it threw me off course. But I bounced back a year ago and started training for another race.
My habits took me off course again. My best friend got married last year and I was in a groove. The wedding was out of town and I told myself I’d take that weekend off and come back refreshed that Monday. I haven’t run since.
So, back to body positivity. I saw myself in the mirror the other day. I see myself in the mirror every day, but I SAW myself that day. I’m overweight, unhappy and my body has been telling me to wake up for a while.
I know myself well enough by this point to know that I can’t give myself an out. If I have a reason it will be slightly more difficult for me to work out that day, I’ll opt out. Path of least resistance.
So I looked up a workout routine and made plans to follow it after work. I go to Planet Fitness so I can go any time of day. If I have to get out of bed to workout before work, I’ll talk myself out of it. Self-realization is the greatest tool we all can possess.
I’m starting this week. The greatest changes are made when you are no longer able to bear the pain of remaining the same. And I’m there. I’m sharing this not only because I want to document this journey, but also because I do better under pressure.
I won’t share the before picture I took yet. Honestly, it’s a little too much right now. To beginnings!
Photo by Guillaume Briard on Unsplash