I think I’ve been debating with myself for about an hour about whether or not to post this. It’s always quite nerve wracking baring your “naked” self to others, particularly on social media, but I can’t help but feel the need to share what I have learned over these past few months.
I, like many other young girls (and boys), have spent the majority of my teenage years measuring my self-worth through my weight and appearance in general. Name any fad diet or exercise regimen and I can guarantee you I have tried (and failed) at it.
I would restrict myself from eating certain foods, become grumpy and resentful and then binge eat like crazy. As a result I became severely demotivated and lacked the will to even attempt to exercise, which I had always known to be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. I would then gain weight again, resolve to go on a diet and the whole cycle would start over again. In addition to this, I have never been a sporty individual (ask my friends, I truly suck), so gym really was my main source of exercise.
From about grade eight to September of last year, I would obsessively weigh myself just about everyday, seeing myself go from one end of the scale to the other.
I was deeply unhappy and desperate to find a quick fix to solve what felt like would be an issue I would have to deal with for what felt like an eternity.
2016 was one of the toughest years of my life. I had made the decision to discontinue my degree at university and this left me feeling somewhat devoid of purpose (which in hindsight, seems ridiculous to measure my purpose through my choice to study) and further exacerbated my feelings of resentment toward myself.
Until one day, after eight months of allowing myself to remain unhealthy, (both physically and emotionally) and using “first year spread”/my discontinuation of my course as an excuse, I finally made a decision that has changed my life forever.
I decided to commit to treating my body (including my mind) as the temple that it is. I know this sounds like an outdated and overused statement, but this was something that had never come naturally to me, and was going to take quite some time to stick to and adopt as my own personal mantra. What followed was a slow but steady transition into a healthier lifestyle. I began to view food as fuel for my body, rather than the enemy, and I even started to look forward to the gym. I also found other ways to get active other than the gym, which has sustained me during times when gym access isn’t always available. I finally began to view my decision to leave university not as a failure, but as a lesson and experience that has shaped me into the more confident and content individual that I am today.
I am by no means perfect and I still have my days where I feel despondent about my looks and lack the motivation to get my butt out the door and into the gym, but I try my best each day to look at myself in the mirror and remind myself that despite my imperfections, I am sticking to a path of health and happiness and that is enough.
I am also certainly no health and fitness guru, and I’m sure that there will be people that will view this post as narcissistic or self-indulgent, but I want to reiterate that the purpose of this post is to encourage anyone who is reading this to start, today, right now even, learning to love yourself. Take it in baby steps, do what you can when you can (even the smallest contribution to your health and wellbeing is a contribution nonetheless) and don’t give up. I promise you, some amazing things will follow as a result.