Hi friends, happy Monday! I hope you had a nice weekend. We are having a great time in London and I’m excited to fill you in upon my return. But today, I am very, very happy to introduce Deryn again to the Little Honey Bee. Maybe you remember the last time Deryn stopped by (funny enough, when I was away in London) or better yet read her amazing blog – Running on Real Food.
Deryn began an inspiring blog post series last week called REAL Stories: Relatable Everyday, Amazing, Ladies and I am so honored she asked me to be a part of it – if you missed my post, check it out here. Our goal is to start a #realmovement all about supporting each other, being true to ourselves, maintaing a healthy balance while working hard, eating real food and loving our bodies.
Deryn is a huge inspiration of mine: in the kitchen, at CrossFit, traveling and in the total pursuit in becoming the happiest and healthiest version of me. Her passion for living a healthy, balanced life and loving her body inspires me everyday and I know she will inspire you too. Enjoy!
I weigh 180 pounds and I love my body. That being said, I rarely think of my body in terms of how it looks, but rather, what it can do.
I’ve weighed 180 for as long as I can remember weighing myself, never fluctuating more than a few pounds above or below at any given time. This is the weight that allows me to continually get stronger, to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle, and to enjoy a state of food freedom, eating right most of the time and enjoying life the rest.
Now that my weight is out in the open, I can tell you I haven’t always been as comfortable with that number as I am today. In fact, this is the very first time I’ve ever acknowledged it in public, or even to those closest to me. Fear made me keep it to myself because I didn’t want to be judged, and I didn’t want my weight to outweigh my perceived level of health and fitness. I’m fit and strong, I eat right and I train hard, but you wouldn’t always know it from looking at me.
It’s been many years, but that number used to make me feel less than. It used to make me obsess over calories and it used to control how I ate. That number was in charge of my self-esteem and confidence.
About 5 years ago, I was looking at some photos of my younger self and thinking, “wow, I looked really good back then!” However, I was also recalling how hard I was on myself at that time. I’ve never necessarily had a negative body image, but my body was something I thought about constantly. I wrote down everything I ate, regularly thought about losing weight and was always striving to reach a particular weight by a particular date. I ate Lean Cuisine, drank diet pop, stocked up on low-fat packaged foods and was generally sucked in by the typically health food marketing we see attached to nutritionally-void processed foods today.
It’s been over 5 years since I’ve counted a calorie and now my passion for wholesome food matches the passion I’ve always had for fitness. Fitness was never something I had to force myself to do; I’ve always loved it. I think growing up with competitive swimming instilled a lifelong love for fitness that I’m very grateful for. Currently, I CrossFit 4-5 times a week, run, practice yoga and love hiking with my husband and two dogs. I believe that getting sweaty as often as possible is key to a happy and healthy life. There is nothing more empowering than doing something your body couldn’t do just weeks ago.
Of course, I still believe in working hard in the kitchen and the gym, but you have to reach a point where you truly enjoy it and couldn’t imagine living any other way. A healthy lifestyle isn’t meant to be a struggle, it’s meant to be a joy! I feel empowered, not deprived when I reach for healthier options. Junk food shouldn’t be a reward for working hard at the gym, reward your body with nutritious, real food and feel yourself thrive.
Here are a few tips for accepting, and loving that incredible body of yours:
- Be grateful
I have my health; I wake up breathing everyday with a fridge full of nutritious food, I have access to some of the best water in the world, I have a roof over my head and a warm bed, a great job, hobbies I’m passionate about and people that love me. At this point in my life, it’s unacceptable to be hateful towards a strong, healthy body. I’m grateful for my body and my life every single day. Try writing down 3 things you’re grateful for everyday; it can really put things into perspective.
- Read books about yoga, meditation and spirituality
Discovering yoga and mediation was one of the best things I ever did for my body image. I went through a few periods of depression when I was younger and at that time I started reading about yoga. It completely changed my life. It taught me about positive thinking, patience, the power of intention and finding inner peace.
- Change your goals
The joy of finding a passion for fitness is that it that it changes your goals from numbers on a scale to numbers on a barbell or clock. If you do need to lose weight, try setting goals that are based on health and fitness, rather than the scale.
- Review your priorities
At some point, I decided that the most important things to me were family, happiness, and life experiences and I refused to spend even one more moment being unhappy with how I looked. Take a few minutes to sit down and really think about what’s important to you. This is another good way to put things in perspective so you can love yourself and enjoy your life.
- Eat whole foods most of the time
I whole-heartedly believe in the incredible power of real food. I’ve found food freedom from eating a whole food, plant-based diet, about 90% of the time. The rest of the time I’ll be enjoying a few beers on date night, eating chocolate and cherishing holiday meals with my family. That’s what real health means to me.
What we eat affects us on every single level of our lives and eating right is the single most important thing we can do for ourselves. If you eat whole, real foods most of the time you will never have to worry about calories. You will be nourished and satisfied. Eat real food when you are hungry, listen to your body and feel yourself buzz with the energy of nutrient-dense foods.
- Sweat every single day
Work hard, lift heavy weights, challenge yourself, try new things, go dancing, stretch, run, get sweaty and have fun with your body, every single day. One day you might not be able to do those things, so do it now, don’t wait another minute!
- Focus on body parts you’re proud of
I’ve finally, truly accepted my body and I can even say I’m proud of it. It will never fit into standard ideals of beauty, but I love my strong shoulders, I’m proud of my big, crazy quads and my calves are awesome, but none of that is even particularly important to me. What I’m really interested is my deadlift, my clean and jerk, my back squat, my 10km and just getting better everyday, both mentally and physically, so I can live my life to the fullest.
To sum this up, there are a few very important things I’ve learned about body image in all of my 31 years. I know that you are beautiful and I know that if you don’t appreciate your body now, you will look back with regret when you are older. I know that life is incredibly short and you don’t want to waste it with negative self-talk, depriving yourself or counting calories. Love yourself now. Be happy now. Smile and laugh as much as possible now.
I know that no one is going to remember how much you weighed, or how you looked in jeans, but rather they will remember how you made them feel. They will remember kindness, before your dress size and your smile before your outfit. How do you want to be remembered?
Please join the conservation on social media with #weareREAL. I want to know what health means to you and I’d really love to hear your thoughts on all of this! Thanks for having me, Amy. Be sure to tune in to the rest of the REAL Stories Series on Running on Real Food.
Anyone else tear up? Thank you so much Deryn for beginning this series and sharing your incredible story! Please join the conversation #weareREAL and share your thoughts on health, real food, and loving your body. Be REAL.