Over the past few months, I have been following Instagram influencers who make it their daily mission to challenge society’s beauty standards. Someone in particular who stands out to me is blogger, Mik Zazon. Mik is dedicated to creating content in order to spread body positivity, and she actively encourages other women to give permission to show up as they are. She speaks loudly and with passion about normalizing normal bodies, and for that, she is a leader. She leads by example by unapologetically loving her body and sharing her experiences. While I cannot speak further to her experiences, her posts did fuel me to address my own battles.
While I cannot say I have yet fully mastered unconditionally loving my body, I have put work in towards consistently showing up for myself in small and meaningful ways. I have experienced challenges mentally and physically, ups and downs with my feelings and thoughts about my body, and a roller coaster of regression and progression when it comes to my body weight and overall fitness progress.
What do I mean when I say that I show up for myself in small and meaningful ways?
- I remind myself that progress and success is defined and executed differently by others. And, that how I define and execute my progress and success is only to be compared to what I am doing.
- Accepting that change does not happen over night, and the conscious effort to change is still considered a step in the right direction.
- Giving myself permission to slow down and take a break. Taking time to relax and putting away my to do list is also a form of showing up for myself.
Mik’s message about normalizing normal bodies has re-shaped how I think about myself, and she encourages me to accept the body that I have grown into. Similar to Mik’s experience, she also went from a competitive soccer player to not performing in the same capacity and intensity anymore, and I too, have watched my body form into something unrecognizable. My muscle tone and body weight has changed, and I am out of breath walking up a flight of stairs. These changes scared me, and I struggled to find a fitness or health plan that would bring me back to the body that I knew and loved. But, the truth is, I was bending backwards, eating meals at weird times, in large or small amounts depending on what diet I was on, and I was trying so many exercise plans that I had no consistency. And, without any consistency, I was seeing no progress, and without any progress, I felt defeated. It took a lot of time, and money to recognize that I was chasing my past, and that I had to yet accept and love my present self.
Normalizing normal bodies is a statement that I live by because it teaches and reminds me that who I am today, tomorrow or years from now is a person who is more than just her body. I am a leader, a fiancé, a dog mom, a daughter, a friend, who is on a path to living a healthier lifestyle. A lifestyle intended to fit my needs, my capabilities, and to be deemed successful by my standards.