Go ahead eat that cookie. No, this is not some cruel joke.
There’s so much stigma around indulging these days. And believe me I’m not really one to eat a whole cake and be guilt free, but I am one to eat a whole cake, enjoy it, and pay for it later in the gym. Not simply to burn the calories, but to return to this place of balance in my life.
I really really hate the presentation of women in the media right now. While we’ve come a way from the blatant sexism of the 50s, the advertising and fashion industry continue to only promote promote skinny things for skinny people. Enter big problem: I would say 99.9% of women are not 100 pounds and 100 feet tall. I don’t want to look like the women on the pages of magazines, I just want to be surrounded by reality. The fact that this annoys me rather than hurts me makes me smile. Good job Buzzfeed & Refinery29, guess I’m starting to live body-blissfully.
Body positivity is feeling secure in your skin and being pro-your body type, no matter what the fashion industry or anyone else has to say about it. When I picture my dream body it’s Gigi Hadid (pre-photoshop), but I’m smart enough to know that A) that’s not a realistic goal for me to set for myself and B) even if I got there, Gigi still has days she doesn’t want to look like herself either. So, like when my parents would say when I was little and had nightmares (usually about mudslides or other natural disasters- I wasn’t very creative), “just change your dream.” Yeah it’s that easy. My dreams are more about visible triceps and painless lunges (I’ve been informed the second will never happen but I’m going to give it a shot) than tight tummies and picture perfect skin.
It’s taken a while, but at this point in my life I feel like I’ve found a happy medium between diet & fitness & improvement & satisfaction. Will I eat a cookie if I want it? Yes. Will I enjoy it? Double yes. Will go to the gym later? Probably. Would I have gone to the gym later even if that cookie didn’t exist? Definitely.
Maintaining this mentality is like an endless Soul Cycle class, but there are some cheats that still build you up, but make things just a little easier.
Find some level of love for exercise. I see it as the foundation of a healthy life- both in mental health and (obviously) physical health. I mean, let me tell you, there is nothing more life saving than exercise endorphins to get you through that essay. Don’t live for the after workout rush, but don’t let life pass by without it. For me, I found that exercise brought me closer to my family too. Sundays became spin with mom and weight lifting achievements are bow-down worthy. Not going to lie, I still run home from school and demo all the new workouts I’ve learned since I’d last seen my parents. Getting a “go Jordan” for working out is almost as good as getting a “go Jordan” for good grades… I said almost.
Enough about my family love affair & back to finding drive- make this is one thing that you completely control. You want to run a half marathon? That’s on you. No personal trainer or slice of pizza can keep you from doing that. You have so much potential if you just get the ball rolling. Make it a contest, how fast can you do it, can you do one more. I didn’t get to 1.5 hours on the stairclimber every other day by doing nothing. Every time it was “can I add 5 more minutes.” And every time it was “you are stronger because of this.”
Mistakes happen. You can accidentally miss a math homework online because you thought it was due Friday (oops) or you could mis-write down what weekend your best friend from Israel is coming to visit you (double oops). Eating too much is not a mistake- it’s a decision. And sometimes it’s a good decision. Your birthday? Go for it. First home cooked meal at home in a month (I’m talking winner winner steak dinner)? Hell yeah. Whatever it is, prioritize. Find your weakness and make it a reward, not because you have to, but because you want to. A wise friend once told me “never say no to pizza” & I really live by that, but I’ve edited it. “Never say no to really good pizza.” Dining hall pizza? Not really good. DC pizza? Always worth it, never an ounce of guilt that comes with it.
And lastly screw all of this and just be thankful for who you are. Even if you’re a Marnie, (I’m definitely a Hannah-Shoshana mix, but maybe some day I’ll find my inner Jessa… I’m referring to Girls if I totally lost you. Look it up.) just embrace it and work it. To me, exercise was one of the keys to happiness but for you it could be totally different. There’s no one path to body positivity so maybe it’s time to find your own.
Still not convinced? It’s all good. Take your time. I’ll be there with that cookie for you when you’re ready for it.
Stuck in my head: Clearest Blue // Chvrches
Snap it: Pete’s, Chevy Chase
Question of the day: What do Olivia and a roof have in common?