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 Jes! I am the earth loving, natural parenting, Jesus loving weirdo your mama might have warned you about! I am the owner of an organic, chemical free skin care product line, called HBC Organics.