Strong, Not Skinny

Hey there, lovelies!

Today’s blog post is all about self-love and healthy forms of motivation. The message that I want to put out there for other women is to be healthy and strong, not skinny and weak. There are so many ways to maintain a lean and mean physique in a way that strengthens and nourishes your body. That being said, even if you’re someone who loves to work out, I think we all have moments when we slip into some dangerous thoughts and negativity regarding anything from lack of motivation, to lack of noticeable progress, or (maybe most dangerous of all) what the scale or the mirror tells us. I’ve been there… I still go there sometimes, unfortunately. But I’m here to share the things that have turned my attitude around in ways I never could have imagined.

First, some background: I know I’m not the only girl out there that’s struggled with her body image and I know that a lot of you can probably relate to what I’m about to talk about. I’ve been down some dark and dangerous roads in the ways I used to treat myself, all because from a very young age I would look in the mirror and see someone who I thought was ugly, worthless, and just plain wrong. For a long time I didn’t properly take care of myself, in part just because I was young and didn’t really understand how yet. Heck, I’m still learning! 😉 But with time and a whole lot of help from God and loved ones, I conquered some of the most aggressive demons I had been facing for so long. I realized that I had been hurting myself in more ways than one, and hurting those who cared for me in the process… I didn’t want to do it anymore, I couldn’t keep hurting myself and those I love. I found that I was desperate for more information on how to properly take care of myself, and I found ways to fight those negative and harmful thoughts that still attack me today. So all that being said, below are the things that have helped me to overcome and thrive.

  • Redefining Myself – Trying to See Myself Through God’s Eyes

I remember one night I was crying on my sweet husband’s shoulder, asking him  why I was so broken and wrong… downer, right? He responded, “If only I could make you see yourself the way I see you, or, better yet, the way God sees you.” In that moment something clicked. I knew that God loves me and that He made us in His own image. I remembered my Mom quoting Psalm 139 where it says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I knew that God doesn’t make mistakes, He didn’t mess up when He made me! Looking back now I’m somewhat ashamed that I even truly thought that the way I turned out was a mistake… but it’s honestly what I thought. I could feel a burden lifting off of my shoulders as I realized that I could be free from this horrible weight of self-hatred if I could try and see myself through His eyes. So what do I do? Every day when I look myself in the mirror I reaffirm what I know to be true: that God loves me and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The same is true for you! ❤

  • Do It For The Right Reasons!

I’m sure you’ve also had that moment when you come home from work or school, you’ve had a long day and you know you still have a lot to do… including working out. If you’re like me, you start to spiral out of control and get more and more overwhelmed until you’re in a really negative place mentally and emotionally. I remember one night in particular when I was exhausted and down, I looked in the mirror as I changed into my workout clothes and BAM! The thought of “yuck, of course I have to workout to fix that!” came into my mind and I found myself pushing through a workout that I was much too tired for, only to finish it feeling resentful toward myself for not doing a better job and not working out harder. Not cool, not cool at all. As I talked with my hubby about it in all of my anger and frustration that evening, he made another really good point (I swear, I’m married to the sweetest man alive!). He said, “Have you ever thought that maybe you’re doing this for the wrong reasons? You workout to ‘fix’ what you see to be wrong with your body instead of working out to take care of it and strengthen it. You have to do it for positive reasons!”. He was exactly right, negativity only breeds more negativity. You’re never going to find yourself enjoying your workouts and taking care of your body, soul and mind if you’re doing it for toxic reasons you’ve gotten stuck on in your head. The next day when I went to workout, I felt once again like a huge burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. I decided to listen to my body and train according to what I knew I could handle instead of pushing myself to an unhealthy extent. I felt refreshed and genuinely proud of myself at the end of each session, and I couldn’t wait for my next workout! With this new mindset I could challenge myself and make noticeable progress in a healthy way, knowing that it was okay for me to have an off day now and then. This, my friends, is a huge part of what makes a healthy lifestyle sustainable!

  • Don’t Listen to the Scale or the Thigh-Gap

I personally have a rule that I do not step on a scale to track my progress. Of course, there are reasons why you may need to track your weight (maybe your goal at the moment is to lose a certain amount of weight for health reasons or maybe you’re tracking your weight in pregnancy, etc.) and that is totally fine! In my case I personally avoid the scale because I’ve seen the power those silly numbers can have over me and it just isn’t necessary. The same goes for trends and #bodygoals like the thigh gap or any others you can think of. I’m a short girl, I’ve got short legs, in order for me to have a thigh gap I would need to have pretty much no meat on my bones! No thank you, I’ll stick to having my muscular thighs that touch together. 😉 What really matters is how you feel and whether you’re happy with the progress you’re making according to the goals you’ve set for yourself. Which brings me to my next point.

  • Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

This is a topic that I’ll be going into more detail about in another post coming soon, there’s a lot that I want to share that I think will be really helpful! For this post I’ll say that you don’t need to push yourself to extreme lengths to get results and maintain a fit and healthy body. Working out 3 or 4 times a week, for example, is far more sustainable, realistic, and better for your body and mind than pushing yourself to workout every day. More than likely you’re in a situation like me where you work full-time, you have family responsibilities, etc. So set goals that challenge you to work hard and be consistent, but there’s no need to go to the extreme.

  • Don’t You Wanna Be a Badass?

I want to encourage and empower other women to strive for more, to be strong, to be healthy, to be fit, to show that you can kick some butt! A huge turning point for me was when I realized that being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy, it doesn’t mean you’re strong. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be a tooth-pick, I want to be strong, lean and mean! 😉

So there you go, ladies! I have so much exciting content that I cannot wait to post in the near future, including more in-depth information on my workouts, goals, and ways to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. I wanted this post to come first before all of the rest because I really feel like it lays the groundwork for everything that is to come in the future. Thank you so much for reading!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now go out there and kick some butt!                                                                                      xoxo,

Mary.

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