I briefly touched on this in my post yesterday and wanted to elaborate on it.
When I first started working out about two years ago, all I wanted was abs. From what I gather over IG, this seems to be a fairly common want. Don’t get me wrong, abs are great! But there seems to be this certain fixation on them. Anyway, I wanted abs. I thought that once I had really nice ab definition that I’d be confident, even happy for that matter. Once I finally reached this point of having abs and what I felt like overall was my “goal” body, I wont lie, I was happy. My self-confidence was way higher than previously and I was really proud of all my hard work. The only problem with this was, well, abs are fickle. No one has abs 24/7. Not to mention that you shouldn’t be basing your self worth off your physical appearance, much less abs. But hey! What did I know?
For probably a year and a half having abs and the “perfect” body is what I strived for. I wanted to be toned, defined, have lean muscle, etc. Getting a booty? Who had time for that when abs were going to be visible (ha, how things have changed). Anyway, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t until after I fell and fractured my jaw that my perspective changed. And if I’m being REALLY honest, it was months after my fall. The day I fell I was finishing up a cut (aka I was in a caloric deficit). I was the leanest and most defined I had ever been, and yeah, I did love how I looked. As most of you know, after I fell, I lost a lot of weight, 13 lbs to be exact and it took a lot of work to get to where I am now (read more about that in Cosmopolitan here). But I had mixed feelings about when I first fell. I was like, okay I’ve lost all this weight, but at least I’m lean? I also realized though that I was not at a healthy weight and that also I had lost a lot of muscle definition. My “new” body while lean, was not looking too good (lets be real here). In order to gain back the weight, I had to go on a bulk. I was eating around 3,000 calories a day to gain back the weight. Once I was back to my original weight, my only goal was to get back to where I was pre-fall. Lean, defined, toned. You get it.
So, I started to cut. I cut, cut, and cut. I wanted so desperately to get back to where I was before I fell. I was like, “I put in so much work for all those months before I fell, and now I have to start from scratch.” It wasn’t until I fully exhausted myself mentally, physically, emotionally from trying to reach my previous state that I was like, okay, this NEEDS to stop. I was so miserable. All I was fixated on what getting my abs back; being super defined again. It consumed me, and it wasn’t fun. I finally decided no more drastic measures. I would remain in caloric deficit to slowly get me back to where I was before but no more crazy carb cutting.
I slowly got back to where I was before I fell but during this time my mindset had shifted. I think in the past I was worried that people wouldn’t like my photos, or want to follow me if I didn’t maintain a certain physique (kind of stupid). I also was looking for and finding confidence in the wrong places. I only felt good about myself when I had abs (really stupid). I think what changed is that I started seeing all these women on IG who were toned and defined, but they were also strong. You could tell they had achieved that body not through dieting but through periods of bulking, cutting, maintaining, etc. I was like, okay if I want to look more “solid” and be stronger than I need to eat more! None of this caloric deficit stuff (yes, there is a time and place for that, but not 100% of the time).
I think there was one other main factor that shifted my perspective. I had grown accustomed to following so many fitness accounts on IG that for a while I kind of became consumed with the idea that a certain body is what gave you confidence. Well, when I started following other women on IG outside of the fitness realm, I was like, wow, these are beautiful and confident women and they aren’t working out 6x a week. That may sound silly but when you are accustomed to only seeing a certain genre, your thoughts are shaped around that.
Long story short (but not really because that’s impossible for me and this blog post is already lengthy)…all of those factors really shifted my perspective of what I gained my self confidence from. Of course there are still days that I wish my abs were more defined, but now I’m like, I don’t want to lose my booty so I don’t really care about cutting carbs lol. More importantly though, I also realize that self-confidence comes from within– my attitude, how I view myself, how I carry myself. And if I embody a positive attitude and one of self worth than in the end it doesn’t matter if I have the “perfect” body or not.