I’ve always had an, ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude about pretty much everything. I don’t care what I look like when I go to the store, or when I do ‘no make-up Mondays’ at work, or when I’m at the gym. I’ve never been obsessed with make-up, or clothes, or style. I go on the notion that I will probably never see people again, and keep it moving.
I have struggled with body image more recently than I ever have before. As a gymnast, I was judged every single day. It’s the reality of the sport. I know people who struggled with eating disorders. I know people who have lasting issues with food. Our [athletes] relationship with food, regardless of having positive role models, coaches, and friends, has been skewed.
I gained weight in college, but again, I never really thought too much about it. However, after gymnastics ended, and I no longer work out 25 hours a week, the struggle of maintaining a certain body image weighed heavy on my mind daily. The further removed from the sport I got, the more I seemed to care about how I looked. I had a disconnecting relationship with what I was, or wasn’t, eating. I didn’t eat for fuel, and I really didn’t enjoy eating at all. Then I began to understand the concept of enjoying food and different ways to exercise.
This year I have really begun to understand and appreciate the fact that food is there for us, not to be used against us.
Not only does being an athlete in a sport where you wear leotards and wedgies are a daily occurrence affect your mindset on body image, but now social media has taken it and what is considered beautiful to a whole new, low level. We are expected to look a certain way, bounce back from CHILDBIRTH in a certain amount of time, and eat all natural/organic products all the time.
Bitch, no. That is not realistic. I have to continue to remind myself that how my body is, is how it is. It’s strong, it’s healthy, and it works for me. It takes a lot of work for me to feel good about it. It’s a process. It’s dedication. It’s learning. I have learned to appreciate myself with my gray hair, cellulite, and wide hips. Those things about my body will never change (it’s genetic).
I take care of myself the best way I know how. And that’s with wings and fries almost every Sunday during football season, and copious amounts of red wine when I’m having a bad day, week, or month. I appreciate food for what it does for me, and I also LOVE eating cookie cake whenever I feel like it.
I will never be the young girl that weighed 100lbs soaking wet again, and I’m becoming okay with that. It’s a process and it is not pretty, but it continues.
You will never be what you see on social media, so stop trying to attain the unattainable. You are always going to be in your body and your mind. You can attain the best version of yourself. It takes time, care, strength, a hell of a lot of self-control, and discipline. Take care of yourself the best way you know how and appreciate learning how to do that along the way.