I think I have said that I was going to get abs every year since I started high school. The fact that I had that mindset alone when I was fourteen is sad and deserves its own article. However, here I am, a senior in college and still missing that ever-adored six-pack that I've crave each time I go on Pinterest.
My mindset has changed though as my weight has fluctuated through the years. It has gone up and it has gone down and it has stayed the same. You can tell when I am stressed by looking at the number on the scale at the time. All the while, I had this vision in my head of what I could be, and if I could be that, then finally, I would be happy. Finally, I would be accepted. Finally, life would be good.
I would measure my worth against how much I weighed and if I was heading closer to the goal of having a flat-as-heck-stomach. If I was having a particularly bad day or a week, I would beat myself up, pulling my confidence down in the making.
This cycle had been going on since I was fourteen. Fourteen years of looking at other people and comparing that to me and how I measure up. I put my weight on a pedestal and had that be the ruling factor on how my season was going to be. Which obviously, isn't healthy mentally.
While I am all for eating healthy, working out, and feeling good, too much can negatively impact your mind and body. Same as eating too much junk food, it can result in a downward spiral of your health and mind. There is a balance that needs to be made. A balance that is hard to find and takes quite a while to retrain your brain to accept.
The magazines like to show one extreme, society likes to tell us another, and other human words dictate who we are and who we need to be. For the longest time, I didn't realize that everyone got rolls in their stomach when they sat down. It sounds stupid, but with all the TV, social media, music, magazines, etc. I just thought if you had abs, it didn't happen. It wasn't until I turned twenty that I really realized that no, everyone has rolls. Abs don't exclude that. Literally, when you sit down, you will have some type of roll.
Taking classes in marketing has also shown me how much the media manipulates us to feel a certain way, to buy their product, and continue to. It's how they get us to buy diet drinks, underwear, and bras, clothing, subscriptions, filters, etc. Once you learn about it and realize it, you see it everywhere.
So now I am self-aware of it all. Do I still want abs? Sure. That would be cool, but obsessing over that picture isn't healthy. Now, not that that goal is unattainable. If I really tried, worked hard, and was determined, I could probably get some abs within time. But is that a good way to fix self-esteem? While it may help, I have a feeling I would still feel just as empty and reaching towards something I could never reach. Kind of like running on a treadmill and going nowhere at the same time.
I've recently realized that I need to love myself where I'm at. Whether I have rolls, a muffin top, or can barely squeeze into my jeans or not. No matter what body type I have, it doesn't matter. It doesn't determine my worth or who I am. Skinny, overweight, or in-between, I am still a daughter of God.
What led me to this revelation? I would be lying if I said just one day I woke up and decided I loved myself, body and soul. In fact, it can still be a struggle, and I have good days and bad days. What has helped me each day in furthering my love for my body has been to not look at the worldly things or what the magazines have to say about me, but what He has to say about me.
What does he say about you, me, and everyone? This is who we are in His eyes:
- We Are Precious and Honored in His Eyes [Isaiah 43:4]
- We Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [Psalm 139:13-14]
- We Are Made New in Him [2 Corinthians 5:17]
- He Takes Delight in Us [Zephaniah 3:17]
These are just a few of the verses that have gotten me to where I am now and every day where I feel doubt about who I am, I look at these verses. Because God sees us, He loves u and has given us all certain features for a purpose. We are made in His image and that will never change.
Whether you have a muffin top or are a Twinkie, your worth isn't in the hands of the world. God's got you. Besides, the muffin top is the best part and people freaked out when Twinkie's were discontinued. Everyone is equal and needed and loved.
It may take a while, but I promise you, you will get to the point of self-love. And that kind of freedom will impact you forever. So will I keep push towards the ab goal? Maybe, who knows. I'll probably start out small such as going to the gym a few times a week. But when I do step towards that goal, I'll love myself no matter where I may be at.