05 Jul #BMKBucketList: Challenges and Discoveries with Self-Love
I cannot believe that the first month of my #BMKBucketList Challenge has already zoomed by. For those of you who haven’t quite grasped the idea of this challenge, well… here’s what it’s all about:
As a kid, I was bullied and picked on because like a lot of people, I didn’t fit the ‘tall and lanky’ mold. No, I am short, full figured and sport chunky thighs. These have always been my biggest insecurities but after welcoming my son 2 years ago, I couldn’t help but feel empowered by my body. A body which I only knew to hate, had somehow created someone so beautiful, homed him, birthed him and continued to nourish him without any failure.
For the first time, I was proud of my body despite all of its tiger stripes, chunkiness, and fullness and knew that I needed to start a new journey of self-love, so that my son would have a role-model and never feel limited by looks but rather empowered by our unique differences and just how magical the human body is. I want my son to respect ALL humans, to see through size and shape and know that every person is fighting a war inside, so it is up to him and everyone around them to empower, encourage and motivate the next.
A few months ago, I listed 12 challenges of things I have always wanted to do or wear but never did because I felt limited by my shape and size. After all, society says that fat girls can’t have fun and certainly can’t live out a full life – right? Wrong! I am putting it all out there, and showing you that despite the voices inside my head – you CAN wear and do whatever your little heart desires.
This is my giant F.U to society – I hope you’ll join too.
I have NEVER liked physical activity as it always felt like a chore or punishment. (And nobody likes their Phys. Ed shorts riding up their thighs.) Don’t tell any of my teachers but for years, I bunked the annual Inter-house Sports Day and NEVER put my big toe in the school swimming pool (all because I didn’t want to swim without shorts, and school regulations don’t allow shorts – how dumb!). When I approached this challenge, I knew that to really love my body, I would need to learn to nourish it, so had approached my local Curves, who have signed up to spending a year with me, teaching me good habits and the ability to be healthy WHILE loving my body.
This first month hasn’t always been pretty. My first two weeks went really well! I wasn’t a fan of the typical eating plan as I found it too heavy and rich, but after fiddling around on their very comprehensive member’s site, I found the option to exchange! I now exchange just about every meal to fit my own preferences like beans, smoothies, and less red meat. Working out was surprisingly my favourite part of each day and when I fell ill in my third week, I was angrier that I wasn’t allowed to gym. Even upon my return, I had to take it easy and was frustrated that my body had gone backward to when I had just begun, struggling to complete my workouts. But I kept on keeping on.
The difficult stage hit within my second week when I felt anxiety over having to step on the scale. I felt like I had gotten so far in my self-love journey, learning to use my scale as a doorstop was one of the most mentally-freeing motions I had done. Yet, the gym industry is driven by numbers, weight loss and achieving the perfect BMI.
Let’s be frank, if we’re judging me by my BMI, I should need a crane to help me out of bed each day. The whole challenge is NOT about weight and my focus is not to lose weight but to achieve a balance where I am working out regularly and eating a balanced diet that is not completely sugar-ridden but not giving up absolutely everything that I enjoy about food. Yes, weight loss is certainly going to be a byproduct of my journey – but it is NOT my goal. My goal is to FEEL good about myself, to FEEL my jeans fit better, to FEEL energised by a workout. So after an emotional chat with my incredibly understanding trainer, we both agreed to stop weighing in. Once a month, however, I will be measured to see the centimeter loss.
Yesterday, was my first measure in and guess what? I lost 25 centimeters. No wonder my jeans FEEL so good! I NEVER voluntarily wear jeans, yet I have worn jeans for the last 3 days consecutively. YAY! You know how when you haven’t seen someone in years, you choose to wear your good outfit when they’re in town? I recently stumbled upon this occasion and do you know what I chose to wear? My workout clothes! I love how I can see the change in my thighs, I am falling in love with my own shape and the feeling is amazing!
Last week, I was working out and minding my own business, when I caught sight of a foreign shadow in the window next to me. I stopped to see who it was and was shocked to see myself staring back at me. I didn’t recognize the body in the reflection because for the first time, I didn’t look completely lost in the gym. My body flowed with the music, it looked like it knew what it was doing, it was keeping up, it was carrying me through. My body no longer repulses me, it empowers me.
This month, I focused on ticking off “8. Participate in a 5km walk for charity.” Initially, I thought I would only really try ticking this off in October when the Big Walk for Cancer takes place, but when the Color Run hit town, there was no way I was going to miss it. I have always loved the idea of the Color Run but felt halted because there is no way, THIS body was going to get through a 5K. Well, I did it! In fact, my husband, mother-in-law, kidlet and I, all managed to do it and we weren’t even the last to finish.
Completing my first 5K doesn’t seem like much to most, but now I realize how quick a 5K can be, and am not deterred to try it again … and again. The Color Run was exceptionally well organized but what struck me was that there were people of all ages, sizes, genders – everyone took part! It was truly amazing to feel like I belonged and that I wasn’t a sorry-ass failure trying to do the impossible. This experience has only started a fire in my heart to participate and be part of more 5K’s for good causes. The lesson here is that I CAN participate – I may not be first and I certainly don’t think I will be running a 5K anytime soon, but I can be present and enjoy a morning out with my family, with the rest of my community.
Later this week, I will be introducing the next part of my #BMKBucketList campaign which will all about sharing YOUR story – excited to know more? Keep an eye on the blog.