Progress is fun because you get to see yourself through the looking glass. Reflecting on an image of where you were and how far you’ve come.
Really think about that.
Time seems to move so slowly when we want something. Especially if you want it REALLY, really bad. Moments drag when you remember you still have so much waiting to do, so much time ahead of you before you get what you want.
But then suddenly—one day you are there. And it happens out of the blue. You’ve almost forgotten the feeling of yearning for it; The feeling of not having it; The feeling of never thinking you could get there.
Gratitude kicks in. Amazement kicks you. You’re proud and you want to share that pride.
How does someone celebrate progress? Well, pictures help. Back to back images of the change you’ve made.
Your mind probably automatically went to fitness pics, right? Weight-loss, muscle gain. But I don’t celebrate that kind of change in my life.
And I’m torn because goals are something to be proud of, and I know many people truly believe that working hard for their body progress should be celebrated.
To understand my point of view, I’ve got to take you a few years back when I had my own body goals. I’ll try to speak about it unbiased. My life was very different than today, and my point of view about body image was vastly different as well. I thought it was ok to want to change my body.
I would think about my body goals moments after waking and much of my day was structured to reach that goal. My morning smoothie, fluid loading with water, pilates, HIIT workouts, the gym, morning push ups—things like that. I wanted abs, strong arms, thin legs and agility.
I planned my meals, my workouts and compared myself not only to those around me but to my past self: I just wanted to be better.
Again, objectively, I’ll tell you what my thoughts were when meeting (or even seeing) another girl
“I’m skinnier than her.” I would get sick satisfaction from that. And if they happened to have a fitter body than me, I’d feel like shit.
When food, fitness, or health came up in conversation, I was like a kid in a candy store (twisted idiom for this topic). I’d light up and feel like I could school anyone on the topic. I liked showing off my muscles to guys, I liked teaching women how to eat to lose weight.
Alright, let’s bounce back to the present. I am the polar opposite now and very passionately so. Why? Because today I am recovered from an eating disorder. In the above description, I was in the depths of my disorder.
Back to explaining why I respond the way I do to body pictures. It was really shitty the way I automatically grouped woman into two categories: skinner or heavier. It was exhausting to wake up and feel like I had to start my exercise routines all over again when I had done so much the day before. I filled up on water with the pleasure of knowing I could potientally skip my next meal if I got full enough. I thought I was better than the girls who were uneducated about the ingredients in their food. God, I sound like I was such a shitty person. Those aren’t things to be proud of. But I wasn’t a bad person and neither are others who may still have those very unfortunate thoughts. We just have to recognize them and change it.
At that time, I picked the wrong thing to pour my worth into. The pictures I took of my abs made me happy. The scale made me happy. But you can’t keep that kind of lifestyle up. It sounds perfect on paper (why cant everyone do that, right!) But life gets in the way.
Work would make me too tired for my pushups. I would be too hormonal to say no to cake. I would be too self conscious to go to the gym. And then my flawlessly planned routine would be destroyed. And I hated myself for not having the willpower to reach my goals faster. I felt Iike I was neglecting my body. And with that, went my confidence, my self-love, my worth.
There are two definitions of health. There is the “fitness/squating fad, clean-eating, body obsessed health” and then there is the “comfortable in your own skin, knowing balance for your mind/body and soul health.”
If you have a goal to be healthy—I hope you reach it. But, if it involves telling me how many pounds you lost—then thats the “bullshit healthy” and I don’t want to hear about it. If it involves showing me pictures of your abs four months ago, compared to your more sculpted abs today, then again, don’t mind me if I just stare at you unamused. I don’t care about that kind of progression.
It tends to demean your past body, and with that, all body types who may still look like that. I just don’t like comparing bodies in any type of negative way. They change from and there should be no shame or guilt in going up or down. Your vessel always deserves love.
But like I said, progression is fun. And it gives us the ability to be proud. So how can I look at my progression? My recovery progression, the real kind of “healthy” progression…
CLICK EACH PICTURE FOR THE CAPTION AND AN EXPLAINATION OF MY PROGRESS.