It seems like the theme of the year is following up on old posts. Today lets follow up on this post. The post where I basically trash my self esteem and body in every possible way. I think I spent probably another year and a half after that post feeling exactly the same way. I was still posting photos but making sure to caption them pointing out my flaws. I did this because I felt like if I said it, no one else would say it, and also if I said it, then it would give everyone else permission to feel okay thinking the awful things they thought about me.
I think the biggest changing factor in all of this was when my trainer Cheryl told me one day I looked good. I don't remember my exact response but it was something like, "well my thighs are still huge, and I'm not small like you, and if I could just get this arm fat to go away." She was visibly upset. She told me that first and foremost I need to learn to just say "thank you." That when she complimented me and I responded negatively it was frustrating to her, and caused her to not want to compliment me again. I walked away from that moment frustrated. Couldn't she see that I might be much smaller now but I didn't look "good?" My thighs still have this weird cellulite back fat thing going on. They jiggle when I walk. My belly is full of loose skin. My back muscles aren't visible. Etc. Etc. Etc.
A few days later she complimented me again. I paused for a moment, took a breath, and then said, "thank you." She high fived me and told me good job accepting that compliment.
I tried this tactic with others. Accepting the compliment, saying "thank you," being polite about it. However, in my head I was still mentally berating myself, my flaws, all of the hidden stuff they couldn't see. Then one day I saw this:
I had two realizations at once. One was that I had many friends getting healthy, and losing weight, and I was always complimenting them. Even though they were no where near their goal that didn't diminish the progress they had made. Two. I had been busting my ass. I was in the gym often. I was eating better then ever. I may not be the most perfect specimen out there, but dammit, I was doing pretty good. I would never take back a compliment I had given another friend in the middle of their journey, just because it wasn't complete. Perhaps I should start looking at compliments I received differently.
I'm better with all of this now. When someone tells me I look good, I usually fire back something funny like, "heck yeah, I'm a badass." My trainer laughs at me now. Sometimes I'll try and flex and say, "wait, you've got to see these guns." I know I'm still not a bikini competitor, but you guys, I've done a lot of work, and I kick ass for it. I've lost 78 pounds. I've lost at least 15% body fat. I can run a 10k. I have three and a half visible abs. I'm not doing to bad over here. I still have days where I pick myself apart. Let's be honest, we all do that, we always will. However, I have more days of building myself up then I have of tearing myself down. When I take pics now I focus on my muscles, or how tone my legs look. I don't focus on the arm fat, or cellulite. I still do progress pics often, just to remind myself of what an incredible change I've made. I will probably do progress photos for the rest of my life, to keep reminding myself that I'm not her anymore.
All of this fitness stuff has changed my mentality also. I'm just happier in general. It's harder to spew up a negative comment when I'm feeling high on life from a workout. I can tell when I miss too many days in the gym. I start to tear apart every single spec of fat on my body. The easiest fix for that is to hit the gym, or go on a run. I feel like I'm nicer now. I feel more confident. I feel more worthy. I LIKE myself more then I ever have. That's important. How can I teach my kids to love themselves if I don't even like myself?
I think we all need to work on taking compliments. We don't say thank you enough. We don't hear the compliment and really let it soak in. We brush them off so fast our brain doesn't have time to store it away and soak in the positive reinforcement.
I also think we all need to be better at giving compliments. We don't give compliments enough. Everyone loves to receive a compliment, but too many people seem above actually handing out a straight forward compliment. Not a backhanded compliment like, "even though you spend too much time in the gym you still look good." Not a compliment that is about yourself also, "oh you are just like me, with such tone legs." Just a basic, real nice compliment. I am working on that. I try hard now to give out real compliments. To mean it. To give them to my kids, to my husband, to my friends, to strangers at the gym. I leave reviews now when I think someone has done a stellar job. I want to make sure people know when they are being incredible. I compliment chefs, waiters, my hair stylist, all kinds of people now. I think giving compliments, helps me be better at receiving them.
I think I've moved light years past that girl from 2013. I'm happy. I like myself. I'm doing a fantastic job of being fit. I might just make it after all.