By: Pearl Munemo
I remember looking at myself in the mirror after a work out one day, analysing everything I started telling myself what I still needed to improve; I don’t like my stomach and my thighs. I wish my body was more toned, I wish I didn’t have such skinny arms. I wished I looked like that Instagram fitness model.
For a while this mentality worked. It pushed me to exercise more often and harder. Everything I didn’t like about myself, I fixed by working out. Exercising for months turned into weeks which turned into days. I would work out for three days, take a day’s break and then extended that break for months. When I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw, I started again. And for a year this vicious cycle continued. I constantly compared myself to other people and didn’t appreciate the beautiful body that I had right in front of me.
Later on I realized why it was so easy to give up and stop exercising for months. Criticizing my body, although it pushed me to work, perpetuated this vicious cycle. I only did it to look good and that made exercising a chore I couldn’t wait to get done.
I have learnt to love my body for what it is. I exercise because I love my body and I want to take care of it. It’s not about what I do or don’t have, it’s about feeling good and developing healthy habits. If I’m not confident in my skin and I don’t love myself, who else will?
In an age where we are constantly bombarded with images of fitness models with beautiful bodies It’s easy to give in to the negative and criticize yourself for not being good enough. While it’s not a bad thing to want to look good, the sole focus of exercise should not be entirely for that reason. It puts a lot of pressure on your body and makes you feel inferior when really, there is nothing wrong. We all come in different shapes and sizes, how you look does not matter if you don’t feel good inside.
The important thing is to love yourself and be kind to yourself-It is difficult to change a negative mindset and it takes years, but what matters is starting that journey.
Set challenges and goals that will make you happy and give you a sense of achievement. What matters is how you feel, and being happy starts with loving yourself. There needs to be a conscious choice that is made that will benefit you in the long run. Being positive will not only help with confidence, but after you exercise, you will feel great and love yourself inside and out. Exercise will be a way to show your body that you love it and that you want to be healthy and energized. When you look in the mirror, it will be an act of admiration and self-love. Looking good will be a bonus.