I always wanted an hour-glass figure. It was all I could think about. I would binge exercise and go on diets for months at a time.
I spent so much time in the gym imagining how I would look with that figure. I day-dreamed that if I was shaped like a Coke bottle, I would walk the streets, like a runway, and Beyoncé all over everyone.
But, that is not how my body is shaped. I could try wearing a body–shaper, but why, when what I really need is to learn to love my body for whatever body-type I have.
Learning to Love my Body
I did not see the natural beauty of my body.
I look back on pictures when I was in college and think, my body was on point, but in those moments, I was body-shaming myself by trying to be someone I am not.
All I could think about is wanting is a flat stomach, tight arms, and a firm butt.
Although, there is nothing wrong with wanting your body to look a certain way, I did not love my body for what it is. I had to learn to accept myself for who I am and embrace the body that I have.
Here are the moderate steps that I have been taking to focus on loving my body:
- Say five things I love about my body, every day (read my post Anti-Body Shaming)
- When I look into the mirror, I focus on what I love about my body, not what I want to fix
- Step away from the scale
- Talk to friends and family about my struggles with my body image
- Blog about my health journey
Attaining a Healthy Body Image
Anytime I went on a diet, it involved me and a group of my friends talking about getting snatched for the summer and needing to lose weight.
When I was in college, I had a group of friends and we decided to do Weight Watchers. We would do Hip Hop Abs by Shawn T., cardio at the gym 3-5 times a week, and drink diet Coke with Captain Morgan to not waste points.
My senior year, I lived with my friend who was workout instructor on campus at the gym. I was in the best shape of my life! I faithfully took yoga and circuit classes, did cardio and my personal trainer roommate, kept me on track with healthy meals.
Even in seeing results, my healthy habits never stayed with me because I had an unhealthy mind.
Handling stress has always been difficult. I would almost immediately break my diet and fall into a hole of fried chicken and pasta.
Instead of starting a diet right away, for the past 3 months, I have been spending time reducing my stress, loving myself, and taking small steps in my weight loss journey. This has taught me my worth, that I am beautiful no matter my size, and the importance of being healthy over being fit.
Everything in Moderation
I have been reducing my stress in moderation by doing the following:
- Completing The 4-7-8 (Relaxing) Breathing Exercise
- inhale for 4 seconds
- Hold for 7 seconds
- Exhale for 8 seconds
- repeat 4x in a row/2x daily
- Writing my thoughts down when I am angry
- Not taking work home
- Spending time with the people who love, support, and motivate me
- Being active in my self-care and self-love journey, by doing things that make me happy (taking long baths, giving myself a pedicure, dancing around my living room, blogging, and spending time with my daughter)
Here are some small steps that I have incorporated in my daily routine to develop healthier habits and to lose weight (check out my post A Healthy Mind: the story of a thick girl to read more):
- Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar, mixed with Spring Water, honey, and lemon, every other day
- Doing something physical for 30 mins. 3-4 times a week
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Taking the stairs instead of elevators and escalators
- Wearing layers of clothing when I clean my house to help me sweat
By focusing on doing everything in moderation; loving my body as it is now, reducing my stress, and taking small steps towards my weight loss journey, I now see the value in taking care of my beautiful body that deserves the best.
If you are struggling with weight loss, your having a positive body image, or have no idea how to even start working out and clean eating, try adding these minor changes to your lifestyle. You will see results and it will push you to want more.
Moderation builds healthy habits.