Because of my size, there were a lot of basic things that I couldn't physically do as a child. I never learned how to do a pretty cartwheel, handstands were laughable, and monkey bars were downright embarrassing. I did play sports though, and softball would eventually be my ticket outta town that would lead me onto a path of a college degree alongside a soon-to-be changed body. I then spent my 20's on a path of self discovery in the world of fitness and nutrition.
At 33, my mindset and physique have seen their fair amount of 180 changes:
-I once ran marathons and ate everything in sight to fuel for the next race.
-I starved myself for months leading up to my wedding for "the perfect day".
-I white-knuckled my way through very restrictive eating challenges to find my way to the smallest weight I'd seen since childhood.
And now I can happily say that I have a moderate mindset - one that fuels my body with the right foods, but certainly does not fear the idea of a cupcake. I indulge mindfully, and I always do it without guilt.
I've also found that building strength has given me a new kind of confidence. I've stepped away from the barbell over the last few months to work on a new program preparing me for a kettlebell certification this fall. In this program I've worked on my functional strength, giving me a much stronger foundation to build on in the future.
Last weekend my (em)POWERHOUSE crew and I participated in a local obstacle mud run together as a team. We appropriately started with mimosas, ensuring that we eliminated some fear factor of any of the obstacles. Are we doing it right? WE SURE ARE!
We dominated some, we skipped some, and we made fools of ourselves at a few, too. But I walked away more proud than ever because during the race I successfully made it all the way across the "Rings of Fire" without dropping into the water below. I had previously made it my goal to use grip strength to swing my way across the entire obstacle.
I did it. And while there might be a lot of other bigger and stronger feats out there, THIS feat made my 12 year old obese and overweight self more proud than ever. It made me forget about any insecurities that I might have about my body. It made me forget that my knees hold me back from a lot of activities. It made me REMEMBER why strength is so important in our every day lives.
Sometimes we spend endless amounts of time focusing on our scale weight or the aesthetics of our bodies or the way we look in pictures, but we forget to appreciate the amazing amounts of strength that our body will develop for us if we will allow it.
We are capable of achieving so many things on a day to day basis, but we don't always credit those accomplishments because we're too busy thinking about how to lose a fast 10 pounds before an upcoming trip or avoiding wearing shorts in the summertime because of the cellulite on our legs. SERIOUSLY? Oklahoma summers are hot. I'm pleading with you - WEAR SHORTS! #teamnopants
YOUR BODY CAN DO AMAZING THINGS WITH STRENGTH. Don't get me wrong - fat loss goals are completely okay. Scale weight goals are also okay. But rather than using negative reinforcement throughout the journey, what if we start celebrating what we CAN do?
Did you pick up a heavier dumbbell? Did you grab a deadlift PR?
Did you carry the biggest bag of dog food to your car all by yourself? Were you able to take the stairs instead of the elevator? Did you make it all the away across the monkey bars?
WHATEVER it is, celebrate THAT shiz! I sure did.
Engage. Empower. Elevate.