I look back on the past 5 months of my life, and I really don’t even know how to go about putting together a coherent post about what I really want to say.
It all started with a self-imposed social media hiatus. This was a long time coming, as I had been using blogging, Twitter, and everything in between to fuel some really poor habits. I think maybe more than a few people can relate to this, so I will put it bluntly, and I will put it honestly.
There is so much more to life than trying to be the fittest person on the planet.
Over the past few years, I watched myself transform from a severely overweight girl who was depressed, lacked the confidence to thrive, and had a horribly fucked up relationship with food to… A thin, more muscular, depressed girl who lacked the confidence to thrive and had a seriously fucked up relationship with food and working out.
God, it feels good to get that off my chest.
I found myself down that rabbit hole of socially ostracizing myself from my friends and family in favor of eating my prepared and strictly calorically and macro controlled meals from Tupperwares. Beating the crap out of my body thanks to preworkout and postworkout cocktails that gave me the energy to do something I was too physically tired to do. Taking selfies constantly. Worrying about abs and deadlifting 3x my body weight. Checking my social media constantly so I could compare how pure I’d been compared to everyone else, and atoning my “sins” by eliminating food groups. It was like all the “cool kids” in the fitness world were so amazingly stoic, never fell off the wagon, and were turning into hard-bodied beasts, which is obviously the key to happiness, and I didn’t want to be left behind.
Except, surprise surprise, I wasn’t even kind of happy. After kicking off social media, I just stopped. Stopped everything I was doing from my meticulously organized 3-month training plan. Stopped taking supplements. Stopped being on a diet.
I started eating when and what I felt like. I started running, lifting, biking, doing whatever I felt like whenever I wanted to. I was active every day and it never cut into my family or friend time. I ate the same things my fiancé ate and had normal family dinners.
I saw no noticeable changes in my body and for the first time in 3 years, I didn’t care.
I found my happiness in a kind of morbid fashion. This summer we had to home hospice my geriatric dog. She wasn’t in any pain but needed help with everything. She could no longer walk, and needed to be carried everywhere. Still, she wasn’t ready to go.
Instead of hiding away on Facebook and Twitter, and spending hours in my basement gym, my fiancé and I sat with her, hours on end, often times in silence. She was happy, we were happy, we were just happy to be together as a “family,” even with her impending death hovering over us. It was in those moments when I realized that the people who matter to me the most really could give a damn if I had a 6 pack and glutes of glory. When I realized I could still be healthy and active without that being the only defining characteristic of my very being.
The thing is, having goals and being driven is an amazing thing, but if your endgame is something that won’t necessarily improve the quality of your life, you are playing a losing game.
Quality of life is doing things you enjoy on a daily basis. Living in love with the people who chose you to be a part of their world. Getting out of bed in the morning and feeling good. Not having an anxiety attack every time you put something “dirty” in your mouth. Not crying yourself to sleep at night because you feel too fat and you can’t bench press more than a hundred pounds.
Quality of life is having real hobbies that excite you. Reading real books. Going for a walk for the sheer joy of doing so, not because someone told you it was part of your training plan. Being comfortable with anything that life can throw your way, and not trying to bend the world to accommodate your workouts and diets.
Quality of life for me has been finding ways to make being healthy a natural extension of my everyday life, not something I have to write in a planner and pencil everything else in around. This is not fitspo. This is not a secretive plan I developed in hopes to profit from. This is the truth.
I will never turn my back on the practices that helped me shed my fat suit and finally be comfortable with my body. I will never tell you lifting heavy is stupid or that it ruined me and that running is dumb, because those things are false. I am however done being a slave to unrealistic expectations that trash your mental health in an attempt to have a certain “look.”
If you feel like any of this applies to you, I implore you to do some soul searching, and start figuring out a game plan to start improving your quality of life. The first step? Unplug yourself from Twitter. Unglue yourself from Facebook. Go hang out with your real friends. And come back when you’ve got it figured out for yourself.