Poor body image is a very real thing, but it's something that is rarely discussed. We talk about all kinds of things, from eating the "right" foods to training harder...all to feel better about the skin we are living in. But what is rarely discussed is how we truly feel about our bodies even when we have done everything right, achieved what we thought was our dream body composition, and possibly even being recognized as "fit" in a magazine or on a stage...or even by a random stranger at the store.
In the early winter of 2013, I did a photo shoot for outwork apparel. I modeled all of their new women's clothes so they could have images for their site. My husband thought it would be fun for me to do a few bathing suit shots and training shots since my hair and makeup was already done...that only happens once or twice a year. In thinking ahead, he purchased a one piece GUESS black bathing suit- it's the one in my picture. I hesitantly agreed to putting it on and taking a few photos. I wish I could share what went through my mind as I stood in the mirror staring at myself...my 5'3", 135lbs body looked shoved into this suit. My shoulders were overpowering, my lats almost busted the seam and my non pregnant baby pooch was something I was not going to be able to suck in. It was awful and I couldn't fake feeling beautiful. Needless to say, that photo shoot had a ripple effect and I was determined to get lean. Fast forward five months later and I was the leanest I had ever been. I dropped 20lbs and for the first time in my competing history- I had vascularity in my quads. But that look faded as the competing season came to an end and the added ten pounds made me feel soft, fluffy, and uncomfortable. No matter what body I had, I never felt good enough.
And this is when it hit me like a brick in the face. I can tell myself all I want that I am enough, but unless I truly believe it...I will never understand what it's like to feel it. I made the decision at the time to stop the madness of weight gain and weight loss. I made the decision to stop training for aesthetics only and I made the decisions that how I feel about myself is up to me- not my reflection. I realized I am my reflection...what I see and how I feel should not be two different people.
It's been a long road and I have spent a lot of time working on this mind of mine- two years to be exact.
Does this mean that I never have moments of feeling like I am not enough...absolutely not. I will always have those moments, but I work through them with logical thought and I evaluate why I am allowing myself to feel that way- rather than blaming it on the things everyone talks about...the food, the training, and everything else that has nothing to do with my heart and my spirit.
I am at the smallest muscular frame I have ever been since I won my pro card. If I stood on a stage today- I would absolutely get smoked and I feel damn good. When I stopped training to measure up to what a judge was looking for or to beat the woman standing next to me...that was the day I took my power back. That was the day I learned what it felt like to be enough. And maybe my body will still change throughout the years as I continue to emotionally evolve...this is a continuous journey for me.
I put this suit on so you can see what I look like today. I don't look like the person I did two years ago, but that's not because I wanted to fit into this suit...it's because I'm not the same person. And although I no longer look like I could win a boxing match... I have fought like hell to become who I am today.