I remember being a teenager – oh, so many years ago! – looking through my mother’s magazines and playing the comparison game. This was an era before Photoshop was even a thing, thank goodness, but the models featured on those pages represented the sort of perfection that I, with my glasses and braces and bad skin and extra 20 pounds, could never hope to achieve. That shiny hair! That smooth skin! Those skinny thighs! I agonized. I spent time in front of the mirror trying to replicate the eye shadows and lip glosses, and I followed “The Carb Lovers Diet” from Cosmopolitan for three whole days without losing any weight. *sigh*
But it was too much for me. I gave up. The lofty goal of looking like a supermodel was simply out of my reach.
So I did the only sensible thing a girl can do in that situation: I stopped reading magazines.
Trust me, I still had years to go before I got my self-esteem up to snuff, but that decision was one of the best I’ve ever made, and it became a mantra I’ve come back to again and again in my life: when you feel like you don’t measure up, stop measuring.
For me, working in the fitness industry is a lot like being a chubby kid reading fashion magazines. There are so many young, pretty girls out there with washboard abs and sparkly smiles, bending themselves into pretzel shapes and lifting cars over their heads. Seriously out of my league! And it tempts me almost every day to just throw up my hands and say, “I quit! I can’t compete!”
I wonder sometimes if other people feel that way, too. Like that sort of perfection is so unattainable that they would rather do nothing.
And that’s what fuels me to keep going, to keep putting myself out there as inspiration for those of us who aren’t ever going to be on the cover of a magazine. The regular moms, the average Janes, the chubby teenagers and everybody else who just wants to feel better than they feel right now. Everybody who isn’t really worried about looking perfect while romping on the beach, but maybe just wants to feel confident in a pair of shorts. Who wants to be able to do a couple of pushups. Or chase after their kids without being tired. Or run a race. Or go rock climbing. Or have the doctor say, “Your blood pressure is normal.”
Your picture of a healthy life doesn’t have to include booty shorts and flawless hair.
You don’t need a six pack of abs to feel good about yourself.
And you can be happy with any goal you achieve, as long as you keep reaching for those goals. When you change what you’re measuring, I promise, you’ll always measure up.
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