Body Image & Being Human

{downward dog with heels raised in a Power Yoga class last month}

I grew up dancing 4 to 5 times a week, plus cheerleading when I entered high school, plus yoga when I entered my senior year. I was always active. I know how to workout, how to condition, how to stretch, how to make it work. When I got to college there was much less physical activity for me, plus a knee injury, plus another knee injury, plus living in New York which meant falling in love with lots of food. Then I met Mike, got comfortable, and the end result is that I’ve put on a lot more weight than I’d like to admit.

I am a classic cliche before story: Freshman 15, Relationship Weight, multiple attempts at trying and failing, etc etc. I’ve been on Weight Watchers, on Juice Cleanses, I’ve shelled out big money for a personal trainer, and I’ve been on such strict diets that I would go to bed literally crying because I was so hungry. It is a constant struggle.

a little more kindness  a little less judgement
image via

But this is the part of the story people don’t always share: There are times when I feel so ugly and so fat that it gives me very real anxiety. If I can’t find anything to wear I will have mini panic attacks and get physically ill. I’ll have to cancel plans or show up incredibly late because I feel hideous and I want the least amount of people to see me. When I worked in the fashion industry there were multiple times I would call out of work because of this. It’s always an intense internal struggle, and I am still not used to dressing for my body. Some days I look in the mirror and see someone beautiful. Other days I look in the mirror and am horrified.

Side note: I once had a boss who forwarded me an email about “how to dress for your large and in charge body.” Yes, really. My Spanish co-workers tell me I have a dream body. My German friends tell me I have a huge ass. So yeah, my body image issues are constantly out of whack.

79aaa4ee7a156bc4caa29809f35441d0I’m working hard to be kinder to myself. It’s harder than it sounds. I struggle to find the balance between eating well (gluten free for 2 out of three meals a day), and working out while still having a social life and being productive at work. I’m meal planning every meal. I’m tracking my water consumption. I’m writing in a fitness journal. I’m tracking my goals. I’m going to try hot yoga. I’m sitting on a balance ball instead of a chair. I know what to do, I just have to commit to doing it for longer than 3 weeks. I need to be loyal to my body and to myself.

My updated work schedule means I have a new workout schedule. I still work 45-50 hours a week, but since the hours are more spread out it allows me to take some early evening or morning fitness classes. I’m keeping my options open during the middle of the week, which luckily I can do.

Mondays: 10am Back to Basics Yoga
Tuesdays: 7pm Intermediate Pilates or 7pm Mat Pilates Boot Camp or 8pm Hot Yoga or 8pm Zumba Toning
Wednesdays: 7pm Power Yoga or 7pm Intermediate Pilates or 7:30pm Hot Yoga
Thursdays: 6:30pm Vinyasa or 8pm Hot Yoga
Fridays: 6:30pm Vinyasa Yoga or 6:30pm Hot Yoga or Rest Day when I have evening plans
Saturdays: Rest Day
Sundays: 11am Buns, Guns, and Abs or 12pm Women’s Vinyasa

Once I’m able to fully commit to a good schedule I’ll be able to add more personal training, weight training, etc. But for now I need to get my body moving and get my mind in the right place.

I am trying to integrate these lifestyle changes into who I am as a person. I want to look forward to my classes – it should be my release and not an added stress. Eating well is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. And now that the wedding date is officially booked it is time I got seriously serious. Go big or go home, AMIRITE?