Though I may not know you, I know how you feel. It's how I feel, too.
You wake up, and you aren't at the place you thought you would be.
Your hips are wider than you'd like.
Your thighs jiggle when you walk, and you wish they would stay in place.
Your happiness is dependent on the change you're expecting to see, but you don't see it.
So you're not happy.
That unhappiness oozes out until it affects every part of your brain, and all you can think about is how much you hate what you are.
Because you're ashamed of your own self, you fight to change.
You eat more salad.
You hike more mountains.
You fight the urge to take more dramatic steps towards what you think is the "ideal image."
You look in the mirror.
You don't see what you want.
My friend, you need to learn to love yourself now.
In the process.
In the progress.
Though you don't see it yet, your body is becoming stronger.
The mile you ran last night?
Your body is learning to handle the pounding of your legs on the pavement.
The swapping of a batch of cookies for something more nutritious?
Even though it sucks, your body is learning that it cannot and should not survive on a ridiculous amount of food- whether it be six meals or only one meal a day.
You are growing both physically and mentally.
See these footsteps as progress.
Here's your challenge, though: don't continue looking to the end of the exercising process, all the while avoiding looking at yourself in the mirror today.
How can you expect to automatically love yourself at the end of whatever road you're on when you couldn't even love yourself on the journey?
Learning to love yourself is like learning to run a mile without walking.
In the beginning, it seems impossible: how can you run that long without taking a break? How can you love yourself when you don't even like your image?
It's accepting that you won't be perfect at it right at the beginning, but it's giving into the endurance required to keep practicing.
The more you practice, the better you become. The more you run, the stronger your legs and lungs grow. The more you care for yourself, the more you see that loving who you are today positively affects your heart and your attitude.
When you look in the mirror, remind yourself of the life you get to live.
A life of courage, admitting that maybe you need to change some things.
A life of adventure, actively moving forward instead of cementing yourself in shame because of the way you think you look.
A life of beauty, seeing that no matter where you are progress-wise, you are beautiful, and you are worthy of being called beautiful because of Who created you.
A life of joy, knowing that your identity does not lie in what you look like, what you wear, or what you feel.
It lies in who you are.
Keep pushing forward in the process. Notice the progress. Love the soul that lies in the body you are desperately trying to change.
No matter where you are in your journey, though, remember: you are fearfully and wonderfully made.