I had stepped onto the treadmill and plugged in my headphones. I took a deep breath and began to up the speed and incline. The familiar smell of rubber, sweat, cleaning products, and deodorants brought back memories of when I used to spend hours a day at the gym. I smiled to myself, thinking of the many times I had made myself proud in the gym. The gym was my happy place, a place where I could let go of all of my insecurities, worries, and doubts. In a world where I felt inferior, in the gym, I was strong.
I stepped off the treadmill after listening to my entire playlist. Sweat was rolling down my back, my thighs, and even pooling in my sports bra. When I walked into the locker room, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized something had changed. I didn't feel as inspired as I used to feel after a long run. My mind was no longer on the improvements I might have made today, instead, my mind was wondering if my husband and son were having fun playing in the pool. I took a deep look at myself in the mirror and realized that the person I used to be was no longer there.
She was gone, but in her place was a new person, someone I never thought I would know. A person who had confidence and wasn't ruined by recent body shaming. If you haven't read my post about body shaming, you can do so here.
I can't pin point the exact moment when the old me died, I completely missed that funeral and I'm kinda glad I did. Sometimes change is good, especially when you don't notice the change happening. It was a gradual change. The amount of workout pins I pinned on Pinterest dwindled down to nothing. The athletes I followed on Instagram slowly stopped showing up in my feed. The amount of times I steeped on the scale dwindled.
I walked to the pool area to spy on my husband and our son. They were splashing and laughing with one another, so at peace in the moment. I thought about all the time I had spent obsessing and trying to prove something in the gym. What was I trying to prove? I thought about this question for a while and finally came up with an answer. I was so scared to let my genetics define me and I wanted my clients and customers to look at me and really believe what I had to say. To this day, there are so many people on who don't walk the walk and talk the talk. I enjoyed working out, but I was pushing myself to an unhealthy point. I had fallen into the trap that social media, magazines, and television sets for us. I wanted to look healthy and strong. I was trying to fill voids in my life with exercise and empty comments from people I didn't even know on instagram. I felt like my only purpose in life was to help people, and I thought the only way I could really do that was through exercise.
I scrolled through my old Instagram feed and smiled to myself. Boy did I love having abs, I think everyone has a part of the body that they enjoy, and for me, I always enjoyed having a strong abdominal section. I even created a program called 30 Days of Abs where I taught women how to strengthen their core. I'm proud of these accomplishments and the amount of people I was able to help at that time, but that just isn't me anymore.
I think I can recall when the old me began to die. I tried reviving her a couple times. The first time I was probably about 30 weeks pregnant with my son and I couldn't remember the last time I had exercised on purpose. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I was so sick and my heart wasn't cooperating so my doctor told me to stop exercising until things got better. Things had gotten better but for some reason I didn't feel the desire to exercise, instead I felt the desire to work on my son's nursery and read parenting books. I bought a special brace on amazon to support my back and belly and went to the gym and used the elliptical for 20 minutes. At the end of that 20 minutes I was wondering why I cared so much.
The second time I tried to revive her, I was about five months postpartum. I had purchased a PiYO workout program. My intentions were to help my pelvis heal from a rough birth with my son, but one thing lead to another and I was suddenly falling back into the trap. Then slowly but surely, the forced time I was taking to be someone I no longer was began to dwindle down.
So I would like to say farewell to the old me. We had a great run! We inspired people. We learned not to put limits on our body. Together we shattered the words of people who said I couldn't do something. We broke down barriers and stormed the beaches. We found a way to find peace with our body through the storm of eating disorders. But our time has come to an end. In death there was new life & purpose was formed.
I would really like to welcome the new me and thank her for sitting by quietly until I noticed she was there. The new me is confident and strong. My relationship with exercise has changed. I don't exercise to impress others but to maintain my own health. I now exercise to balance my body, mind, and spirit. I run to clear my head, not to beat my best time. I do yoga to relax and calm my mind, not to see how flexible I can become. I plan my meals for simplicity, not to reach a fitness goal. The arms that once swung a kettle bell now lifts a 30 pound toddler throughout the day. Where developed abs once were is now a softer belly for my toddler to lay his head. Where my mind used lie to me and tell me I had something to prove, knows the truth. The new me found a purpose in becoming a mother.
I still believe that exercise is very important. I still exercise daily and work with clients to help them reach their own personal goals, but my personal goals have changed. I hope that if you're reading this right now, that you realize that you are more than a number on the scale, amount of likes on instagram, or clothing size. You matter and have a purpose in life!
Have you ever suddenly noticed that you changed? I would love to hear all about your story! Please comment below & share this article on social media with your friends!
Has someone ever body shamed you? Read what happened when it happened to me.
Who am I?
My name is Jessica Kellaway! I am the earth loving, natural parenting, Jesus loving weirdo your mama might have warned you about!