Traveling Man: You don’t have to like my body, I do – and some days that’s still hard

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No one’s body is your damn business unless you were truly invited in to that conversation.

Let me explain. While I may share with you about overall health and stress and exercise and nutrition – this is not an invitation to comment on my body.

When you’re out with others and you notice that they are eating differently than you, this is not an invitation to start commenting on diet preferences and question your eating choices or the choices of others. It’s ok to be curious, but you also can keep it to yourself.

You’re allowed to stay in your lane and mind your own body.

That’s a hard stop.

For the first time in a while, I received a direct message about my body size and there was never a thought that I needed to respond directly to it. However, my first thought was I need to call this bullshit out.

Often, we tell people to not react to negativity. I really think this perpetuates the idea of toxic positivity, which you can read about here. I don’t think I reacted, I gave myself a chance to pause and think about what this is bringing up in me.

I think my response is pretty clear. It’s no one‘s business to make comments about your body even if you’re sharing information where your body is present.

  • Our bodies are capable of so much more than being small.
  • Our bodies are allowed to change, just like our goals.
  • Body size does not dictate health.

I’ve hated my body. I’ve been excited for what my body can do. I’ve been frustrated by my body. I’ve been angry at my mind.

The biggest thing that I have learned over the past decade is that self-love and acceptance are not dictated by my body size or shape.

I know many of you can relate when I say that there have been times when I’ve looked at photos of myself when I was smaller and I remember thinking how big I looked.

In these moments I’ll try to pause, and think about what else was happening at that time. Was there a purpose or a reason for how I looked?

The time in my life that stands out to me the most is when I competed in bodybuilding, more specifically bikini competitions. I wanted a change. I had had a stall in my own weight loss journey, and I had no idea how to pivot.

This is not to say that you should use competing as a weight loss tool. Competing is an extreme, and the size that is achieved is not healthy or a sustainable. Many often experience body dysmorphia, disordered eating patterns or eating disorders, as well as hormonal disruptions while prepping for a competition as well as after they’re done competing.

I recognize that the challenges that I faced that could be associated with competing were not a direct result of competing, but my overall weight loss journey and mental health.

I took the leap to compete because I saw it as a way to challenge myself and learn something new, break stereotypes and myths that muscle on women isn’t sexy or beautiful. Most importantly, have space to focus on me and build my confidence.

When I look back at photos I think wow I am so small then, but then I remember what the training look like and my diet and the purpose. I then think about all of the changes that I have made in myself physically and mentally since those moments. I think about how different life is now.

In the past almost 5 years since I last competed, I have left one career to start another. I obtained another degree. I’ve taken the leap and applied for a second masters. I have three certifications and I’m almost done with a fourth. I’ve increased my strength and muscle mass, which ultimately means I have changed my body shape and size – I probably will never be able to be as small as I was then and that’s ok because my body is doing things I never thought it could do. I’ve worked to grow my mindset so that I can be empathetic and accepting of myself just like I am my clients.

So my waist is a little thicker and so is my ass. My biometrics are still great, I’m always working to improve myself mentally and challenge myself physically. I feel confident most days, I’m better at listening to my needs.

This isn’t a post about focusing on the positives, but focusing on reality, which means there have been some negatives, but also some positives that outweigh those negatives.

When you reflect on yourself and the journey that you are on or have been on in the past, what’s changed?

When you think about yourself a year ago, five years ago, 10 years ago – what has happened to you in that time frame and how do you feel now about it all?

What’s been in your control and out of it?

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Even on bad days lately, I am still happier than I ever have been.