How being REAListic has changed me

Well, friends, it’s been awhile since I gave you an update on my REAListic Fitness and Beauty Challenge. A couple of weeks ago we had some great guest posts about running and beauty and I always intended on sharing more on the topic. But then there were so many sewing posts to share and, well, I’m a sucker for all that sewing stuff. 🙂

It was exactly seven weeks ago that I wrote my first post here regarding the Challenge. After years of trying negative thought tactics to motivate myself to work out and eat healthy foods, this was my way of saying enough is enough. I need a balanced, healthy view of beauty and fitness. I need it to be REAListic. And so I committed to these things:

The REAListic Beauty and Fitness Challenge

  • I will embrace a REAListic view of womanly beauty
  • I will not speak negatively about my body
  • I will not speak negatively about another woman’s body
  • I will restrict media containing unrealistic or unhealthy portrayals of the female body
  • I will strive to be a good example of REAListic beauty (inside and out) to my daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, friend, etc.
  • I will commit to a REAListic fitness goal
  • I will share my commitment with others and allow them to keep me accountable
  • I will encourage my sisters in their fitness goals
  • I will exercise for health and wellness
  • I will eat a healthy amount of food (this is NOT about dieting)

Seven weeks in, I’m here to tell you that I have been changed by this challenge.
More specifically, by the first two points.

I will embrace a REAListic view of womanly beauty. 
I’ve noticed that a lot of us moms who are trying to lose weight are all trying to get back to exactly the way we were before we had kids. In some ways, sure, this might be possible. We can loose all the weight and get back into our old clothes (although they might not be in style any more, ha), but some things just won’t be the same. Ever. 

When that happens, when there are marks on our stomachs and certain parts of our anatomy aren’t as, shall we say, perky, as they were before… does that mean we’re done for? Or is there a true beauty that shines past all that and transforms it into something else altogether? Can we let go of our old standards to form a new standard that will last our whole lives?

In writing this challenge, in committing to embrace a realistic view of womanly beauty, my eyes have been opened. I’m seeing beauty all over the place. And not just on the big screen or on the cover of magazines. Friends who I’ve always thought to be beautiful now shine out as breathtakingly gorgeous. The face looking back at me in the mirror looks so different (better!) to me than it did in the past. 

I shared this quote with you before: “The perception of beauty is a moral test” (Henry David Thoreau). The kind of beauty I value says something about the woman I am inside. 

Which leads me to the second point in this challenge:

I will not speak negatively about my body.
At first, this was a hard commitment to follow. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever been in the habit of speaking negatively about herself in hopes that it will somehow motivate her to eat better or go running. Am I right?

Here’s what has happened to me in the past seven weeks: since I don’t speak negatively about my body, I don’t feel negative toward my body. Friends, it is SO FREEING! I’ve found that positive motivation works so much better than negative. 

Ladies, I’ve been down this road before: running, eating well, losing weight. The cute new clothes, compliments, all of it. I’ve been there a few different times in that past, and here’s the thing: if I choose to motivate myself negatively I am never satisfied with how I look in the end. Why? Because I’ve formed the habit of being negative! Those thoughts don’t just go away when the scale hits a certain number! When I train my eyes to see my body as fat, they learn to always see it as fat. 

Do you see what I mean? Do you see why this is so important? This is why there are beautiful women out there walking around who feel ugly. We aren’t seeing ourselves in the right light. Our eyes are distorted!

This time, I’m kicking those negative thoughts to the curb. I want to see myself realistically! Do I have a lot of work to do? Yes, that’s why I’m running. Do I need to feed my body better foods to keep it healthy and strong? Yes, that’s why I’ve changed my eating habits. 

Thankfully, it’s working. Most importantly, I feel so much better on the inside. And I’ve started thinking about myself less and focusing on others more, which is always a good thing. 🙂

How about you? Are you looking at yourself in a realistic light? Are there ways you sabotage your own success by trying to motivate yourself with negative thoughts? And if you joined the challenge, or want to join now, I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading, beautiful sisters!