The half marathon was a couple of weeks ago. It was such an exhilarating, difficult, rewarding experience. I knew I wanted to write about this accomplishment in my life and as I sat down to reflect on what I was going to say, I was surprised in the direction my message went.
I was going to start off saying that my entire life I struggled with body image, but as I seriously thought about the different stages of my life, I realized that wasn’t true. Until I was 18 years old, I played at least three sports a year. I was so active and constantly running, jumping, diving and scrambling that I never really thought about what I consumed and how many calories each meal had and if I was going to gain weight or not. The thought didn’t cross my mind at all. I was the size I was and I was happy about it.
Once I stopped playing sports and went to college, got through my illnesses and got healthy, I started to put on weight. I was no longer active and I wasn’t that aware of what I was eating or drinking. Like most females, and I am sure males as well, I really struggled with body image. At different times in my life, I have been consumed by losing weight, dieting and constantly ripping myself apart mentally for what I have looked like. I ate salsa for lunch (I am not exaggerating) for about a year preparing for my wedding. I thought about losing weight for my wedding dress just as much, if not more than I thought about how excited I was to get married. I thought it was normal.
After training and running for a half marathon—I love my body. Not so much for what it looks like…but for what it has accomplished. It has weathered gradual hills, never-ending mountains, early mornings, unbearable humidity, not to mention miles and miles and miles. It pushed me a step further when my I had decided it was too difficult to run for one more minute. When my head said it was time to stop—my body reminded me to not give up. There were times that my legs literally felt like cement but they really never let me down. It is actually incredible.
I have to be honest, I lost weight during the training process and that makes me happy as well. But losing the weight wasn’t my first priority so it was just like a nice little bonus. I feel like I appreciate and accept my body differently after having put it through the ringer.
My honest hope is that I can continue feeling this positive about myself. That I can remain proud of myself, continue the running and enjoy the pasta I am consuming. I hope I can always love my body for what it has helped me accomplish and not be so damaging to myself because I have never been and will never be a size zero. Is this something I can say with full confidence that I will always remember? Of course not. But for now, it is nice to have a little peace in my mind that I am good with who I am and what I look like. It is also nice to be able to confidently share this with you.
We should all strive to be a little nicer to ourselves. #theacceptancemovement