I struggled for a lot of years worrying about how my body looks rather than how it performs. There were sleepless nights and embarrassing days. It can be debilitating. My negative self image was perpetuated by what I saw in the media and by my friends…Probably more so what I assumed my friends thought of me and being scared about that. For years, I felt like this until finally I belived it. It was that thought which pulled me farthest from what’s most important: Appreciating what my body “can” do as opposed to what it looks like.
That’s why we fall in love with CrossFit. The workouts are new each day testing us to become better. By even starting the workouts, CrossFitters are choosing to accept a challenge and that take strength. It’s an addictive feeling that has us come back until finally we experience the lasting value that comes from caring about improving your capability as a person.
That said, CrossFit is just one piece of the puzzle and only an hour of our day. Buildilng a positive body image is on going work that we can practice anytime. Here are 3 Tips you can use to start…
Tip 1 – Respect your story… I am a summation of all my choices in life just as yours have brought you to this point. I have a strong understanding of my own personal history and I accept and respect the adjustments that I have had to make in response to challenging life experiences. For instance, my wife and I bought a house 3 weeks before our first baby was born and after 4 weeks, we were both back to work. Since then, I have gained some weight as diet and exercise practices were totally random. Years ago, I would have struggled a lot with this weight gain, but what’s the value in beating myself up when I know I am learning to be the best dad I can be right now? There’s give and take in life. Our health is ongoing. Respect your experience and spend more of your time working on future health goals.
Tip 2 – Practice Daily Body-Positive Actions… Every morning I look in the mirror and say, “I love you” to myself. Could you do that without laughing at yourself? I definitely could not at first and then it got easier and as time went on, I started asking “Why? …Why do I love myself?” I’m lucky to have a 30 minute drive in the morning to think about my day and what I want to get otut of it. My commute is a blessing as I know a lot of us don’t have time so maybe for you it’s 2 seconds in front of the mirror or ripping your shirt off in a workout, but these are the sparks that build us up. The moments that make us confident and leave less room for thoughts on changing ourselves, and make more room for being proud of ourselves.
Tip 3 – When the going get’s tough… It’s easy to be positive when you feel good and it’s really hard to be positive when you don’t feel good. I find this can change day to day or hour to hour in regards to body image and a lot of it depends on recognizing what triggers our negative thoughts. Practicing Step 2 starts your own personal habit of naturally responding to negative stressors in life as positive “Challenges”. However, this takes time and to increase your rate of success, we need to have a plan for the “hard days”. I mean when you have a 12 hour work day and no meals prepped so you binge later on in the evening kind of days. This can for sure lead to negative thoughts later on the next day or that night. This is avoidable! Make a plan for whatever it is that sends you down the rabbit hole and increase your daily success.
So when you come into the gym next time, know that I respect what you are doing and am here for you. We all have a story and it’s not over yet! Celebrate what your body can do and we will see you in the gym!