I wrote this for my personal journal, but when I remembered that this is Mountie Fitness Month, I decided to post here. (I know, the timing is rediculously convenient but this did happen just yesterday.) I’ve made some minor changes so people not living in my head can understand it, but this is more or less what I wrote for my future self to reflect on. I think it might be useful for other people, too.
Today I was binge watching random videos from the channel I get most of my Pilates workouts from (Blogilates) and I found a video where Cassey (the trainer and owner of the channel) discusses her insecurities about her own body. A lot of time was spent focusing on her stomach. No matter what kind of workout or diet she does, her stomach is a little round, and has a handful of fat on the lower part. Her muscles never build in a way that makes her look muscular and she is disappointed by that.
I noticed that my body and hers look quite similar. Slender overall, but soft looking and with a rounded stomach.
She looks like me, and she’s a physical trainer. She exercises for a living. So that prompted me to maybe try to think about my body a little differently.
In another video, she discussed what it was like to do the 100 ab challenge, which I had just resolved to start. She finished the 30 days, and although her waist was a little narrower, her stomach looked exactly like it did before. She said several of the people who had done the challenge alongside her had developed visible, defined, abs over the course of the month. She jokingly said something like
“I don’t look like someone who did an month-long ab challenge. I guess my muscles will be like my hidden superpower. My secret strength is hidden under all the softness.” And she laughed and played with her belly fat. And I thought that was cool, but didn’t connect it to myself, because I felt like I hadn’t made any progress.
Then later today, Midi was teasing me for my total lack of core strength. She was good natured about it, and we were both laughing. She told me to attempt a sit-up so everyone else could see me struggle. Writing this out it seems mean, but I was having fun too. I’m aware of my weaknesses, and willing to laugh at them.
Well she held my feet down, and I prepared to struggle on the floor for a few seconds before giving up like I was used to.
I took a breath, and sat up. Then again, and again. I was shocked, she was shocked, and she congratulated me on my progress.
Until then, I didn’t think I’d made any progress. I’d looked at my body in the mirror, squeezed my belly fat, and measured my waist, but there was no difference. I’d been looking in the wrong places all this time! I look the same as I did before I started, but I’m functionally stronger. And I started to apply what Cassey said in the video to myself. So I’ve resolved to think less like
“My body doesn’t look like a Kpop idol so I’ve failed.” and more like
“My strength is hidden under my softness.”
This is the most abrupt change I’ve ever had about my body image. This whole story happened over the course of a day. And I know it’s an uphill battle, I know some days I’m going to have a hard time believing that anything about me is pretty, that I’m built all wrong because I don’t look a certain way. But I’m starting to shift my perspective away from using someone else’s body as my ideal, and enjoying what I have, and what I can work with.