Shift from Superficial to Performance
Abs. Abs. Abs. One of the most coveted “proof” of being fit in this Instagram perfect world. What. Utter. Bullshit. I want to start off with a little bit of a lecture.
I have learnt the heard way that being on this health and fitness journey should be more than striving towards yet another unrealistic body goal that’s being shoved in our faces by media. At the start of my journey all I wanted was abs, and personally I knew that being that skinny and starving myself so they can pop right out was a meaningless feat.
Throughout this journey you will have ups and downs and that’s normal as with anything else in life. It’s important to note that when you do start on this journey, the aim is be as consistent as possible to rather attempt an overall, long term and sustainable healthy lifestyle as opposed to one with quick fixes for superficial goals.
Once you have solidified a routine, the focus on how you look should simmer. Your feelings should be your focal point, exercise should make you feel comfortable in your own skin, confident and a shift towards performance is ideal and more empowering than flat abs or a big booty.
The way you feel about yourself is way more important than what you see in the mirror because there is no guarantee that you will love yourself more once you see change. The change should start from within as that internal voice will help you in the long term to see that you have way more going for you than just the way you look from the outside.
My focus has now shifted to performance, aiming to be fitter, faster and stronger. Ultimately the best version of me that I can be. Right now, in this moment, within the means that life has given me, within my capabilities and most importantly, focusing on what makes me feel happy right now.
The Truth About my Abs
DISCLAIMER: I’ve never used any photo editing apps though and that is absolute no-go in my books.
Firstly the pictures that I share of my “abs” are mostly taken in the morning, fasted (so I haven’t eaten yet!) with good lighting and angles. They do not look like that all the time and I am 100% okay with it. Does this make me (and 1000’s of others) a fraud? No.
Personally I don’t feel it’s a bad thing to share a moment where I feel good about myself after I smashed a workout or get a glimpse of my hard work and dedication. Flexed or not. It’s still me, my flesh and bones, and my reflection in the mirror. A part of me that I am proud of.
This is my journey and my journey to share, real moments where I am wearing no make up most of the time and have a breakout on my face, some moments where I’m experiencing bloat or an imperfectly perfect picture of me post run, playing with the puppies and cellulite on display.
Our whole life we’ve been told we’re not good enough, so it’s okay to be proud now, to feel good now. It’s okay to want to share your best moments and it’s okay to share your less than best ones too. It’s okay to give yourself credit.
It’s all about perspective and conscious consumption. You are in control of what you share and what you consume.
The Media Strikes Again
Growing up, I was a fan of Cosmopolitan magazine and my teenage years was spent envying the unrealistic image of Victoria Secret Models being sold to us as the “perfect” body. This is where the comparison disease started and now it’s shifted into a more accessible and constant stream in the form of Instagram.
Here’s is where perspective can help. We all know we share our best moments on here. And for us normal ladies sharing our journeys, it’s ok to be proud and share those rare moments we feel good about ourselves. Hell, our whole lives we were told we were not good enough and now when we do share some level of pride in our bodies, its a times met with nastiness. That’s the world unfortunately and all I can I ask is to be kind, encouraging and give that girl working hard on her health, a pat on the back and sincere admiration without comparison.
And if you find yourself stuck in the comparison trap, it’s up to you change your consumption habits. Even if it means switching off and disconnecting for some time; or unfollowing people that are not aligning with your mental health and self-esteem right now. You can always support and admire at a distance later, when you feel less susceptible to comparing yourself to others. It takes practice, but when you get to that point where you can take inspiration without beating yourself down, it’s a truly beautiful place to be.
What worked for me
I’m always trying new ways to love my body, move my body because that is what works for me. Personally I love functional training as I get bored very quickly and running has also become a staple in my routine. Switching it up has kept my journey interesting and has pushed me to try new things and grow out of my comfort zone.
I firmly believe that functional exercises are good for overall strength and helps to build core strength apart from just doing crunches and planks. Again, I cannot emphasize the focus on performance enough. Coupled with dedication to movement because you love your body and not hate it helps to establish the mindset you need to consistently be great to yourself, mentally and physically.
Eating a good clean diet is essential. I’ve cut down on sugar due to some hormonal issues and that really helped me to feel more energized. I haven’t lost any weight but my body seem more defined. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to nurture and fuel your journey, and remember to feed your soul once in a while too. Life is meant to be lived, food is meant to be fuel but also an experience of delightful tastes to make you feel good.
My best advice is to find exercises you love doing combined with healthy food you love eating. That way you’ll stick to what feels good for you and the results will follow.