To Obesity and Back Again {discouragement and motivation}

Today, can we continue the conversation about discouragement that we started here?

Most of you know by now that I spent most of my life “obese.” {read more about my weight loss journey here}  After the birth of my first child I weighed almost 300 pounds.  The past 11 years have been a SLOW journey back from obesity through many ups and downs.  There were periods of months where I would even  gain  back 10-15 pounds.  Through it all, I just kept going. I guess you could say that slowly but surely learned to “keep my eye on the prize.”

But, what was, IS the prize???

Let me digress for a few mintutes……..

One only needs to log into pinterest to be absolutely bombarded with images of super fit women and posters with “motivational” slogans about diet and exercise.  Almost all of them irritate me, and I can poke holes in most of their motivational theories.

Here’s one that struck me this morning:

This pin linked to “the ultimate hotel workout.”    Here we see an image of a very fit, EXTREMELY lean woman. She’s lovely.  But, here’s the problem:  she does WAY more than the ‘ultimate hotel workout’ to look like this. There is every possibility that quite a lot of her life revolves around her diet and fitness regimen.  In other words, she doesn’t merely squeeze in a hotel workout here and there.

I’ll give you a hypothetical:

In times past I  may have looked at the picture and think “yeah, I wanna do this workout. She looks great.”  So, I would do the workout, sweat, and  diet. I would feel good and strong, but when I would check to see my results in a mirror, I always fell short.  No muscles showed in my back. there was no pretty little tricep muscle on the back of my arm. And then the discouragement would set in.  What could be wrong with me?  ‘Bad metabolism…..Too much cellulite…….. I’ll never be able to work or diet hard enough to accomplish any sort of fitness goals.’ My perception was that if I did the workout, i should look like the girl.

Usually, this is when I would slip in  my dieting and in my dedication to exercise.  My whole journey of weight loss was riddled with cycles like this one.  Motivation from images like these, and workouts that promised the world was short lived to say the least. 
 I daresay that any progress I made from such motivation was quickly undone when I inevitably faced the discouragement of realizing that I looked nothing like the image I was so desperate to pattern myself after.

{{Admittedly, part of my problem was just plain ignorance and youth.  But, I do think there are a lot of messages in society that lead us to believe that there is one “perfect body” for all of us…..but that’s another post for another day}}

How did I plug on through? How did I get this far, then? What exactly WAS the ‘prize’ that I kept my eye on?

Not exactly sure…….{just kidding.}

It was a process of learning, growing, and above all accepting my body……

….and letting it sink in that God says that I am…fearfully and wonderfully made…..
…..and that that means that I am unique in my creation. My ENTIRE creation, INCLUDING my body.

 I still work out hard. VERY hard.  I watch what I eat. I know I will never be the poster girl for ‘do this workout and you could look like this’  but now that’s OK because 20 days out of every 30 I can honestly say that I work as hard as I can to be all that I can be.

Now  my motivation and prize is this:

To be the very best version of myself that I can be in order to be effective in my life as a woman, wife, mother, and daughter of God.

Today I want to encourage you to let this be your motivation.  Whatever season of life you are in, whether you have lots of weight to lose, or just know that you need to get moving to feel better, do what you are able to take the best possible care of your body today. Don’t worry about tomorrow yet. Whatever your schedule and current lifestyle allow, do something to help yourself be the best version of yourself that you can be right now.

I’m speaking from too much comparison experience {and misery} when I say PLEASE don’t compare yourself to other women, in real life OR on posters. I know SO many women who are gorgeous but torment themselves because they feel that somehow their bodies fall short.

My heart is only to encourage you when I say: Just strive to be the best YOU that you can. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made. YOU are beautiful.

Let THAT be your motivation and your prize.

 I can almost promise you that it will diminish discouragement and keep you motivated through missed workouts and diet #fail.

What do YOU think?  Do those posters, images, and workout tips on pinterest really motivate? Do you think I am completely wrong or do you think that there may be something to this? Go ahead, lay it on me. 


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