Well hello there new friends! My name is Erica and over the last couple of years I’ve been in BAMF-Beast-and-all-around-BADASSERY mode and have been successful in losing 100 lbs. And while there are a myriad lessons I’ve learned (mostly the hard way) during this process, the one I want to talk about today is the idea of an “After” body.
We’re all guilty of it. We look at magazines, at movie stars, and at those skinny b–witches at the gym. What am I talking about? Body shopping! We’re at the gym, getting our lift on or hitting the elliptical and we catch a glimpse of that perfect gym Barbie doll…and then we think to ourselves, ”Man—if I only had her legs, I’d be happy!” or ”God Becky—look at her butt! I wish I had a butt that small/big/strong”. I’m often guilty of building my ideal self…I’ll look at the women at the gym and piece them together, designing what my perfect body would look like. I’d have strong, lean arms and a round, strong butt and of course a flat stomach with a six-pack, and sexy traps (but not like that girl, because she’s a little too brawny….more like her over there in the size 2 lulus).
I have an epiphany to share with you that has rocked my world. YOU, yes YOU, are someone’s perfect “After” photo. You, yes YOU, at the gym, sweating profusely with that self-perceived fluffiness or that flabby arm you constantly complain about. Someone is looking at you, wishing they could have your arms, legs, back, butt, biceps, or [insert your awesomeness here]. They see you working your butt off and they wish they could have your courage, your tenacity, and your badassery. No matter what stage of the health/fitness/weight loss journey you are in, you are already an After picture.
Let me put it this way…at my heaviest, I was a solid size 22 and easily inching my way into a size 24. I’m 5’2 by the way, so for my height that was a loooot of extra weight to carry around. I can remember thinking that if I could just get into a size 16 I’d be happy. I mean, I could shop at “regular” stores and not face the stigma of shopping in a plus sized boutique. I accomplished that goal and then longed to fit into a size 8, surely that would make me happy! I did that and I wanted more…or less, rather. I wanted a size 6…no, 4…no….
See what I’m getting at? Even after the accomplishment of losing the weight, I still body shop. I still struggle to be happy with just me. By reminding myself that I already am someone’s after photo, I become grateful for my present place in this journey. I am thankful that I’ve had the courage to develop goals, the dedication to do the work to achieve them, and to now have the opportunity to share my journey with others. What’s important here is that we realize that we have a responsibility to ourselves and to our fellow health-journey-enthusiasts to accept ourselves wherever we are at, love our inherent badassery, and to be role models to those who are also struggling with image issues.
By the way…yes, people are staring at you when you’re at the gym. NO, it’s not because you’re bloated or red or sweaty. It’s because they look up to you. They want your body, your athleticism, and your awesome athletic apparel 🙂 Sorry—shameless plug, but for real, T2T is awesomesauce! Embrace the amazing talent that you bring to the gym, the contagious spirit that you probably don’t even realize is present, and that your body is already a masterpiece, capable of more than you can imagine.
Thank you for letting me share a lesson I’ve learned I’m learning with all of you! I know this may fall into the category of “easier said than done”, but trust that I’m right in that boat with you. Little by little our minds will catch up with our bodies’ changes and we will learn to embrace our amazing selves! If you haven’t been bored to tears yet, you can read more about me as well as my other rants on my blog, Sweat Equity Works (www.sweatequityworks.com or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sweatequityworks). And of course, thank you to the T2T team for extending their hospitality and allowing me to share. You girls rock!
(from Andrea… ps, we had 2 other titles for this blog hahahah, and I just had to share!
“Attention K-Mart Shoppers!”
“The Myth of the Before & After Photo”
“After photos are like unicorns. And you’re one bad ass unicorn”)
Three words that would describe me? Ha! That’s a loaded question. Caring, spunky, and driven??? I’m 27 years old and over the last few years I have lost 110 pounds. I put down the pizza and have picked up weights. Heavy weights…lots of them. Over and over again. And I LOVE it! Beyond striving gym rat status, I am a medical social worker currently working with renal dialysis patients. I live near the beach and my daily goal is to laugh so hard that my cheeks and abs hurt! I have two mottos that I live by:
1. Sweat Equity Works. Sweat equity is the realization that you are worth the effort and that you are also responsible for that progress. No one’s going to fight harder than you. #truth
2. Embrace Amazing. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to experience greatness. You’re worth it. #truth