Much like most of you we have all seen the before and after pictures from the quick fix products on the market. The electronic ab stimulator to give you the six pack of your dreams, the waist trainer to shove your organs around into unnatural places but give you the tiny waist to fit what you think is expected, pills that will accelerate your metabolism and help drop pounds like a bad habit…..which coincidentally bad habits are really freaking hard to drop. Here’s looking at you Ben and Jerry’s you delicious assholes.
There have been plenty of people blowing up the before and after pictures by showing what stance and lighting can do to make a person appear dramatically different. However…we put so much emphasis on before and after. While I do love the before and afters on HGTV and seeing what someone can upcycle…..we are humans. Before what and after what. You are leading a long life and there are going to be many events contributing to your appearance. You are going to have highs and lows that will affect your relationship with food and alcohol and drugs and everything else in between for the better and worse.
We are all magnificent little disasters that get to fall, and mess up, and fight, and shame eat candy bars in the safety of our own cars and pretend it didn’t happen because no one saw it. It’s all going to happen and it’s okay. There’s also going to be times that you are going to reach personal bests, you’re going to be on point with feeding your body for fuel and not for the love of cake and beer. Yes cake and beer together, don’t knock it until you try it (but be smart about your pairing don’t be a savage).
After all of this let’s get to the point. My sister in law encouraged me to try a clean and lean eating challenge with her gym. I need something to push me back into really focusing on my nutrition so I can stop trying to out exercise a bad diet. Which by the way – is legitimately impossible. Trust me. I accepted the challenge and signed up. I’ve committed to taking it seriously. Then they asked me for “before” pictures and my heart stopped. I run past the mirror when I get in the shower because I hate how I look naked. I can give you the number off the scale – no problem, I can take the measurements no problem. Images of my showing every inch of my body I work overtime to hide and draw attention away from.. Dear sweet baby infant jesus up in heaven in your golden fleece diapers….please no. You know what a huge part of making a change in your life is? Getting uncomfortable. What is that stupid motivational quote…change happens outside of your comfort zone? Uggh.
So without further ado, here is me right now, as I am. Before the clean eating challenge, but after many years of life and adventure and ups and downs and failures and successes. This body is strong and capable. It has crossed 5 ironman triathlon finish lines, completed tough mudders, completed marathons and half marathons. Those legs can press upwards of 450lbs, and squat grown ass men at the bar. My arms have been getting stronger by the day and in the gym I feel strong and beautiful. So why when I take my shirt off does all of that melt away?
Remember that no matter how big or small you feel that you look. No matter how strong or weak your body is – not do define yourself by before and after. Define yourself by where you are right now. Every battle you have fought to get here, and every goal you have set for yourself in the future.
We are all some beautiful sons of bitches. Even if we don’t always feel like it or believe it.