The Naked Truth: When Is Our Body Finally Good Enough?

It’s time for another Naked Truth! If you’re new here, this is a series where I share all, open my heart up and bare all. Hopefully you can relate to these and enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy (though sometimes there is a fear) writing them.

Previous Naked Truths:

Now for today…

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Last week one of my clients/friends approached me with a personal topic that she felt deserved a blog post. I couldn’t agree more.

Basically, she said that when she first started boot camp she had a goal of losing “x” amount of weight. When she accomplished that goal, she felt awesome for a while, prideful even. But then after some time, the newness wore off and she began criticizing her new body. It wasn’t good enough, it needed to be better, tighter, stronger. She no longer saw the accomplishments, only the flaws.

So again she worked hard and the results showed. Yay, right?

But then the same thing happened. The newness wore off, a feeling of disgust and dissatisfaction set in and before long she was pushing for even better.

5k-pushups

 

 -I purposely used this picture to keep her identity secret –

She shared this with me because she:

  1. Wanted to know if I ever felt the same
  2. Thought that lots of other women have been in the same place

Yes and Yes!

The Up Side Of Wanting More

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Of course, it’s a a good thing to want more out of yourself and to improve.

It’s a GREAT thing to set goals and push forward. When one goal is achieved, it’s natural to want to make another one, expected even.

Plus, as we achieve one thing, it’s really powerful to realize that we can accomplish more than we thought. When you’ve been working so hard for something, then achieve it, there can be this state of “limbo” where we feel stagnant and bored.

It’s here where we make the decision that we’re not ready to stop.

The Down Side Of Wanting More

Goals great.

Going after perfection… not great.

Things can go from great to bad really fast for those of us with a classic “A” type personality or those of us who have long criticized their bodies. I just happen to fall into both of those categories.

When looking at how far you’ve come turns into how far can you go, that is when the problem arises. When it becomes more than just trying to lose 10 lbs, and instead trying to lose as many pounds as possible.

It’s a downward spiral. And it’s not just with weight loss.

Never toned enough, never fast enough, never satisfied with just being fit, healthy, and in a state of maintenance.

It becomes a never ending battle and no matter how many people tell you, “you look great!” it’s not enough.

The Drive To Be Perfect

muscles

I mentioned above that I’ve been here before.

The truth is, I still battle with this cycle. I don’t think that comes to a surprise to anyone, but hey, this is the Naked Truth, so it’s the time to just state it bluntly.

Of course the worst downward spiral of all was during college during my weight loss.

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No matter how much weight I lost, it wasn’t enough. No matter how many calories I ate, it was few enough. No matter how much exercise I did, I wanted to do more.

I wasn’t able to have a clear picture of myself to determine when enough was enough.

And, I never celebrated the triumphs.

Fast forward to today…

fabletics-grey

There are days when I see a picture of myself and think:

“Wow, I set out to increase my tone and I’ve done it! Go me. Now let’s maintain this and increase strength. If my body changes with that, it’s fine. But I’m happy with where I am!”

Then there are days I look at myself or other women and think:

“Ugh, I’m never going to get rid of the pooch. These thighs? They’re too jiggly, too big. What can I do differently?”

Luckily, there are more of the good days than the questionable days. But that’s only recent.

And to be honest, I had quite the heart to heart with Dan the other night about my training and getting so sick.

Naked Truth: Though I said I didn’t think I was pushing too hard, too fast, he calmly told me otherwise. He asked if I was falling back into my old habits (exercise addiction), and if we needed to back out of any of our upcoming races/events to create a better balance.

Getting sick (oh goodness was I sick) was actually a blessing as it made me chill out and look at the bigger picture. I promised Dan I would stick to my training plan. We had a few other compromises, but those aren’t important.

The bottomline… we can all be pushed too hard. Never taking a step back to see what we’ve done but just pushing forward to see where we can go.

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For years I compared my body to others, questioned my abilities and tried far too hard to be perfect.

Guys, I’m not sure if you’re aware but perfect doesn’t exist and it can really wear you down if you try and obtain it. Trust me.

Why Is Maintenance Hard?

What I want to know is why is it so hard for many* to set goals, achieve them and be satisfied? Why can’t we say, great! I did it, now I’m in a state of maintenance. Life is awesome!

Because we’re our own worst critics!!!

When we get to that state where we think we’ll be happy, we might hang out there for a day, a week or a month but then the happiness will wash away and we’ll see flaws that need to be taken care of.

And we long for that excitement of hitting a new goal.

I really point it all back to the media for pushing images of perfection that are not achievable. The media makes us feel insignificant in order to push products. The media makes money by making us feel imperfect.

It’s sad. And yes, clearly, I’ve been affected.

Another thing… those we circle ourselves with.

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I am a strong believer that the people we associate with has a large impact on the views we have of ourselves.

As a fitness studio owner and trainer, I am around women all the time that want to change their lives. Of course, I want to lead by example. I want to give the impression that my program will work so I try my best to look the part of a healthy trainer.

Do I feel pressured to look fit? Ummm… HELL YES I do!

When I’m at a race, I want to be faster than the chick beside me. If I’m not, then I think about what I can do differently to have a different outcome next go around. When I’m on Instagram and see someone lifting more then me (who appears my size), I’m filled with a desire to prove that I can do the same.

It’s flipping EXHAUSTING people.

Which is why we need to take a step back and look at the big picture…

Be Happy Today: What Do You REALLY Want?

finish-line-me-dan

This picture always makes me happy.

When I was in college, it was about gaining control. I wanted to control everything and I was able to do that with my diet and exercise.

Now, it’s about being a successful business owner, inspiration, and athlete.

But it’s important to look inside yourself to decide what’s really fueling this drive for perfection?

When you figure that out, you might realize you’re where you need to be, right now. You might just be able to embrace yourself and your body for the reflection you see at this moment and realize…

You are good enough. Right now.

Here are the few rules I truly aim to follow:

  • Always celebrate goals! Big and small! Don’t be embarrassed to feel proud.
  • Look in the mirror and tell yourself 5 things you love about your body
  • Make an effort at least 1x per week to get a little dressed up. I am always in fitness clothes, so putting on make-up, doing my hair and throwing on some cute clothes helps make me feel more feminine and allows me to see my figure better.
  • Remind yourself that the ladies on magazines aren’t real. No matter how much you want ot look like them, they don’t even look like them! You are perfectly imperfect.

So let me ask you…

Have you ever had a hard time deciding when enough was enough?

Comments:

  • carla birnberg

    honestly I really havent BUT I think that’s because I lost a few friends (cancer and other stuffs) when I was young so it became ABUNDANTLY CLEAR I needed to just be happy to be here and be GRATEFUL for the gift that is each day.

    xo

    • SO wise! Sometimes it is so hard to see what’s really important! Love this!

  • itzyskitchen

    Gah- Carla is so inspirational! Even her comments are inspiring 🙂 TOTALLY feel you on this one. I love love love teaching group fitness, but occasionally it makes me feel a pressure to look like X (X of course depending upon what I”m teaching haha). I always remind myself that I am fit and love my life and theres no need to be perfect (what is perfect anyway?). Great post- hope you’re feeling better

    • I am right on the same page! I am feeling so much better! Thanks!

  • This post is perfect! This is a constant struggle, being in the fitness industry. It is hard not to constantly want more, less body fat, more muscle, more abs, be stronger, be fitter, be better. This then turns into negative talk. I think your points about celebrating big and small successes is a great idea! One thing that is so vital is to make sure to not compare yourself to others, but instead, just focus on you and being the best you that you can be…which is easier said then done!

    • You’re so right, we have to stop playing the comparison game but like you said, easier said that done, right!? Thanks Stacy!

  • Carolyn Hesse

    This post was like you were taking the thoughts out of my own head and putting them down! After losing 80 pounds, I’ve been struggling with exactly this. The whole “what now”, “can I be smaller”, and “you still don’t look like you thought you would” thoughts cross my mind every day. But you are absolutely right in that it’s all about happiness and health! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • 80 pounds!? Awesome job! Celebrate, throw those hands up and dance! Way to go!

  • Sheena

    I struggle with the opposite problem, I set a goal, meet the goal and give up. I literally did not even put on running shoes for a month after tough mudder last summer. A whole month. In fact I had to toss the ones I used for tough mudder so I didn’t even own running shoes during that month.

    I’ve seen many people that have the objective to lose weight and they succeed and they either maintain it, which is awesome, or they keep going and go to the opposite end of the unhealthy spectrum. This article is very important for everyone I think 🙂 Thank you for writing it and being so honest with yourself and how you approach goal setting/meeting.

    • Thanks for your honesty right back! Did you get some new shoes yet?

      • Sheena

        Haha yes I ordered some new shoes in October and although I haven’t put as many miles on them as I’d like now that spring is poking it’s nose out of the ground I’ll be out again getting ready for next summers tough mudder 🙂 And I need to find some race in September so I don’t quit again!! And maybe start a snow shoe budget so I can try my hand at snowshoe races next winter?

        • I want to try snow showing! but that would mean having to go some place with snow! lol

  • This is so so true! We are non-conformists by nature. We are not machines that can be programmed to do a certain task and then stop or shut down because there will be always a new program that we would want to try or use the machine for something else. However, sometimes those programs just don’t work. 🙂

  • Kim

    I used to struggle more with this. I think that I’m truly at a place where I’m happy with my body and what it can do. That doesn’t mean I’m done working – it just means that I’m not working to achieve a different look and that makes the work easier for me (if that makes sense).
    Hope you are feeling much better!

  • i think being sick made me appreciate my body more. Like really sick. It’s hard though, we never are satisfied until our eyes our opened to extremes… sad but true and often needed.

    • True words friend. Sometimes we need something big to see how far down the rabbit hole we had plummetted

  • Great post, Taylor. I love the honesty. Of course, I’ve struggled with trying to do too much and wanting to always look better, be stronger and go harder. But I think I’ve come to terms with feeling good and not obsessing over the appearance part, which wasn’t easy. Because it’s truly what’s inside that counts, and if you’re healthy on the inside, it’s bound to show on the outside.

    • I’m sure it wasn’t easy! But you’re so right, it’s what is inside!

  • Jr

    I have too much to say on this topic to compose a comment that isn’t one hundred million words, so two will have to do: THANK YOU.

  • evelizgarcia

    This is so true! I constantly battle with this on a daily basis. I’m learning to control my thoughts of myself. Once I start to think negatively, I stop it before I can go any further and start complimenting myself. This has helped SOOO much. Plus how can we uplift other people if we aren’t happy with ourselves? Great post!

    • Yes, stop it! Right when it starts, that’s harder said than done but being aware is #1. SOunds like you’ve got your head on straight! xo

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  • Jen

    It’s like you are in my head – writing the exact words I am thinking! Just…yes, agreed, love the honesty.

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  • Bri Wilson

    Story of my life! Last year I made the mistake of focusing on an aesthetic goal (gain visible muscle and lose body fat) and I’m realizing now that was not a good idea. I’ve changed my focus now to become more flexible and strong in yoga before setting some more running goals.

  • YES I struggle with this all the time, but I think that your tips are definitely great ways to check in and ones that I will work to follow too! As much as I love being in this industry, it is exhausting and I think social media is exhausting and it is hard to not be affected by it on a daily basis. I am becoming so much better at not letting these images affect me…Just like everything else, it is a process and takes time. Thank you for sharing your Naked Truth. I love these posts! XOXO

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