Move your body because you love your body, not because you hate it.
I played softball, ran track, and even gave lacrosse a try. I was a painfully shy young girl, so when it came to sports, I needed a lot of encouragement from the people around me to ensure I was doing a good enough job. Because I had little support from the outside world, I ended up quitting. If I could tell my younger self one thing about that time of my life it would be, you are good enough. You are just as athletic as those other girls. You can do this for as long as your heart desires and you will be successful. But, my journey took me elsewhere. See, the weight room was my comfort zone. I have always been crazy strong, so I would just go in and hang with the boys! I didn't need to talk to anyone, I could just be with me. Once I made my way to Fort Collins, my fitness became so much more than I could have ever imagined. The weight room became my hide out during one of the darkest times in my entire life. I could honestly say I hated myself. After dealing with abuse since I was 12 years old, I found myself continuing this toxic cycle and embedded deep into one of the worst relationships yet. I decided I needed an outlet in fitness and decided to compete nationally in fitness and figure shows. This was a love/hate relationship for me. I absolutely loved that I could leave my toxic environment, workout, and make little to no time for anything else. I finally felt I could control something in my world where control no longer existed. I hated fitness because I hated myself. I used fitness as a way to have an excuse to destroy my body image, to limit my calories, to obsess over my looks, and to alienate myself from all the people in my life that could have really helped me. My workouts had become a way to punish my body for putting up with the abuse. I remember telling myself the most awful things. Things I would not even tell my worst enemies. I began to use the stage as a way to find "self-love". The only problem with this is that my self love was determined by how many judges thought my body was enough. My self love was determined by the rank I was given in each show. My self love had nothing to do with what was crying on the inside of my soul. It was strictly determined by how good I looked in a bikini. A girl who had been surrounded by abuse found a sport that only loved her for the way she looked physically. A sport that most can do, be proud of what they accomplished, and move on became a sport that cut the last thread I was hanging onto so tightly. I was hanging on for dear life to the little bit of self worth I gained while shining on stage. My coach had plans for me to become pro competitor. It was the first time in my life, someone believed in me. Believed that I was enough, that I was the best. But, something deep in my soul told me to stop. I just couldn’t do it any more. I needed to start over. I needed to learn to move again from love, not hate. So I did just that.
It was a long journey filled with ups and downs. But I kept fighting, day in and day out. I needed to love food again. I needed to be grateful for the energy it gives me. I needed to love all the incredible things my body allows me to do on a daily basis. Most of all, I needed to learn how to listen. Your body speaks when you are silent. Your body will release when your mind choses to release. Unless you are willing to find your true self, release all negativity, and let your soul cry out all that needs to be heard, your body will not be all it can be. One of my most favorite quotes about movement states that "The idea is not to create more rules governing movement; rather, the goal is to release ourselves from the story all together." The goal is to free our bodies from all the rules we have given it over time. Whether this be what you can or can not eat, what you need to do to be physically accepted, or the amount of time you must spend on the treadmill because you went out to eat the night before. We must learn to release our selves from this "story" and learn to move with freedom. Move because you want to thank your body for getting you out of bed this morning. Move because you love the sound of your beautiful heart beat. Move because you love the feeling of sweat releasing from your body as if it is releasing all things that are no longer needed.
For me, my children were my full turning point. This incredible body of mine had housed two children for 20 months. I fed both of them, woke up at all hours to sooth them, and found my patience being tested like it had never been before. But, I did it. I found time for myself no matter how tired I was. I ran a 1/2 marathon 4 months after my son, and I won a stair climb 7 months after having my daughter. How could I not be thankful for my body now? Not only do I sweat to show my children how important it is to take care of the only body you have, but I sweat to show them that their mother will never give up. One day when they are older, I will share this story. I will show them it is possible. It is possible to go from hate to love, you just have to believe and be willing to put in the work.
The first thing you must know is, why do you sweat? Once this question is answered, it will be simple from there.