Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It doesn't matter what you look like; it matters how you feel.

Senior year of high school I started working out for a boy. Into the summer, I listened to Jimmy Eat World on my Walkman and ran my heart out. I hoped that if I could look a certain why, that boy would like me.

Continuing into my Freshman year of college, I kept working out for that boy. I hated running. Hated it. But I still did it to change my body.

For the record, that boy never professed his undying love. Ever. He never even took me on a date.

I kept working out, though. And instead of working out for that boy, I started working out for the numbers on the scale. At one point, my boyfriend in Freshman year actually told me I should gain weight. Bless his heart.

Eventually my obsession with working out dwindled. Honestly, I was so poor in college I couldn't afford to eat much, and in turn couldn't afford to burn extra calories at the gym. I didn't have a car so walking to/from and around campus was sufficient exercise.

Then I found Yoga. Or did Yoga find me? I can't be sure. All I remember is starting my practice twice a week at the University drop-in classes and finding myself in love. Yoga gave me cardio, strength training, and peace of mind. Then I added two academic classes to my regime so I could practice four times a week.

FOUR TIMES A WEEK! I can't imagine having that kind of time again for Yoga.

The point, though, is that once I found Yoga I started working out for me. Not for a boy. Not for a certain number on the scale. For me. So I could feel good about myself.

To this day, I still work out for me. Not for a pair of pants to fit. Not for a curve in my hips to disappear. For me. Too many people I know are stressing about losing the "last few pounds" until they reach a target weight. Then there's frustration when those pounds hang on. Did you ever stop to think that maybe your body is trying to tell you something? Maybe those "last few pounds" actually belong to your body. Instead of trying to lose them to achieve a certain weight, it might be time to embrace them. Tone them. Put them into a pair of pants that fit, regardless of their size.

The journey to accepting my body has been a tough one, especially after having a baby and then finding my flabby self teaching Pilates classes a mere 6 weeks post-partum. It's intimidating to feel so exposed. But here's the thing- if you're not truly working out for yourself then you're never, ever going to be satisfied.