The Difference Between a Perfect Body and a Strong One

Close your eyes and imagine someone who is in the best shape of their lives. Alright now imagine an "average" person who is realistically in the best shape of their lives. What do you see? Is there a difference between the two? For some crazy reason, we have this image of how someone who is "in shape" is supposed to look. They have visible muscles that can cut glass, a thigh gap, toned everything, zero cellulite, and a tan. (Why are they always tan?) Well, excuse me while I hop up on my soapbox and throw my two cents in the mix.

The Way You Feel About Your Body > How Anyone Else Feels About Your Body.

It wasn't until I ran my first marathon that I truly understood how warped my perception of what strength should look like was. When I started running I was salivating over the prospect of obtaining a tiny waist and a thigh gap. I'll admit it! I've always wanted to be a sample size because I was convinced that if I could be a sample size, then I'd feel beautiful and worthy of someone else's love.

Well, I've been running for years now and I wear the exact same pants size that I did before I started running. I may not have lost a substantial amount of weight but I look and feel very different. I have endless amounts of energy and now I have this noticeable muscle definition that I notice when I walk around or see pictures of myself. 

It kills me to see women post pictures of their "cheat" meals justifying why they get to eat. It's a f*cking donut. If you want a donut, have a donut! Should you eat a dozen donuts? Probably not. Should you eat a donut every day? Probably not the healthiest choice. Healthy lifestyles are all about moderation and if you feel the need to explain why you are having some delicious treat, that's a problem. Guilt isn't something that should be served with food. Food is fuel, you need it to survive!  

I had a huge "AHA!" moment when I was visiting my hometown recently. It was 80 degrees outside and my friends and I were headed to the beach. ALL I wanted was to be in a bathing suit. I can't remember a time that I didn't put my bathing suit on, look in the mirror and immediately feel self-conscious and defeated. But this time around, I put my bathing suit on, looked in the mirror, told myself that I'm beautiful, and we took off wearing nothing but bikinis and our smiles. No cover-ups. No negative body language. No all-consuming fears that someone would tell me I was repulsive.  

And it was absolutely liberating.

I'm stronger than most people I know and I still have cellulite and love handles! Does it bother me? Yeah, a tiny bit! I'm human! But now instead of thinking, "What if someone judges me" I don't give a single f*ck because I'm at a place where the only love I'm chasing is my own.

I want to share this photo that has gone viral of Rachel Hollis, creator of The Chic Site, in a bikini because this woman is a BEAST! She's a marathoner and a mother with a banging body and has every right to feel proud in a bathing suit. It kills me when I hear people critique their own or anyone else's body. Why do we do it!?? Why do we feel compelled to tell ourselves or someone else to look a certain way? Life would be so much easier if every time we had to be in a bathing suit we weren't overcome with dread. Love where you're at and strive to consistently work to put your strongest foot forward. It's that simple because anyone who's judging or throwing shade your way? They're not worth your time and their opinions don't deserve to be heard.

So the next time you are heading to a body of water and you're dreading putting on a bathing suit, ask yourself this:

"WHAT DO I REALLY WANT?".

Do you want to look a certain way or feel a certain way? Maybe you want both! YOU CAN HAVE BOTH! Here's the best part about getting active in ways that empower you, the body comes with the work! I look toned and healthy thanks to running and cycling and I'm having fun doing it! Set a realistic goal that is more than just weight loss or a pants size because losing weight is so much more rewarding when it's married to something bigger like strength. But start with what you have and start by loving where you're at.

Do something incredible and that strong body and beautiful confidence are just an added bonus.  All you have to do is take the first step and put one foot in front of the other.