Flat butt. Big butt. Scrawny legs. Saggy breast. As women, these terms are all too familiar, and even things that I have said about myself. Like many of you, my journey to womanhood has been filled with the voices of others who continue to judge the shape of our bodies. Curvy, Skinny, Big Boned, Slender, Thick, Fat, and Voluptuous are terms that still circulate today. Even those who work out faithfully and are considered to be extremely fit, can be accused of looking too muscular or bulky. In other words, too manly.
As a child, I was considered to be very “skinny.” In fact, my grandmother (Sweetie Pie) use to call me “her string bean,” as a result of my size. In high school, something changed. My skinniness now seemed to be referenced as “your butt is flat! You’re really high waisted.” What made it worse was that other girls who had fuller or larger bottoms, were the girls who all the high school boys wanted to date. Unbeknown to me, my generation was slowly shaping the image I would grow up having about myself. Sadly, the media’s image of women and their definition of beauty and sexiness, only made things worse.
Over the years and into my early adult years, the image I developed regarding my body shape and size began to overtake every aspect of my life. I became critical of what I looked like. Buying clothes for myself, I no longer focused on whether they fit, but more so about how they fit. I remember standing in mirrors with my behind facing it, to evaluate whether or not the outfit I was trying on made my butt look flat. Later in my adult years, my focus began to include whether or not “my belly was poking out too much? Did I look fat? And did the outfit, I had on, accentuate the sagginess of my breast?” The reality hit me—I was no longer skinny. Somewhere in my journey of life, I had become what many referred to as a “Big Girl.” Although my maximum weight was only 185, this was large for someone who use to be a size 00 in high school. Chubby face, saggy arms, and belly rolls is who I had become. I had hypertension and was on 2 different medications. I was a wife, a mom, a pastor, and a doctor. I knew better.
To know better and to do better is two different things. Many, like myself, know that we need to make changes so that we can be healthy. The problem is that we allow our feelings of guilt (over who we have become) to cause us to emotionally eat or simply not try to change. Honestly speaking, we struggle with a fear of failure. We don’t believe that we can become the person we desire on the inside to become. It is this belief of failure that keeps many of us stuck. It’s a cycle that must be broken. It’s a cycle that you must dare to break.
Dare to break the cycle and the fear of failure is what I finally did, almost 3 years ago. I can’t say that I jumped in all at once, but I can say that, “I did it.” Actually, it took a necessary food restriction that forced me to make an essential dietary change. It’s amazing how something so unexpected could jump start me into believing that I could be the person I really wanted to be. I started with a necessary diet change and immediately lost 25 pounds. I hadn’t even started working out! Wow! I was starting to see the healthy me appear and I liked her. Some months later, I started going to the gym to work out. I would only do two things—the Eliptical or the Ark. Lifting weights, doing squats—I had convinced myself that was for “fitness buffs” and was not for me. Or was it? After a certain amount of weight loss, your mindset changes. You start to believe that you can do more. Matter of fact, you want to do more. But Why? Because your confidence is emerging with every pound loss. You are transforming before your very own eyes. Your strong self is winning the battle over your weaker self. And it feels great! The secret person you’ve always desired to be or see, is becoming visible.
I lost another 20 pounds after I started lifting weights. I feel in love with myself again. Not because I was skinny again, but because I was reshaping the image I had accepted about myself. My butt was still flat, my breast were still saggy—but it didn’t matter! This journey led me to embrace and celebrate my image and my shape. Moreover, this is who I really wanted to be---a healthier version of me! A more active version of me! A physically and emotionally stronger version of me. I was finally giving myself, my best!
We often give others our best, but for some reason we don’t give ourselves our best. We bet on everyone else, but we don’t seem to bet on yourselves. This has got to change, and it must change now. If you are being honest with yourself, I know that you want to change. Many of you, including myself, are secretly desiring to be healthier or push ourselves to another level of fitness.
So let’s do it! Matter of fact, let’s do it together. Let us push each other beyond what we ever expected we could do from a health and fitness perspective.
So here is how it will work. I’ve created what will be called “The Push” Fitness Challenge. This is a competition with a grand prize at the end of the challenge We will all choose a fitness challenge that will push us beyond our believed expectation for ourselves. The key is that you must do something that you have never been able to do or thought you could never do. For example, I have been watching a lot of reality fitness shows lately, to include: The Biggest Loser, American Grit, Strong, and Ninja Warrior. Every time I watch these shows, I hear a voice in my head saying, “I wish I could do that.” It is quickly answered by another voice screaming, “I don’t think I could ever do that!” I finally told myself—I’m going to try it! I’m going to accomplish one of these extreme exercises. I’m not going to focus on how long it takes me to do it, I’m just going to focus on doing it. So what health and fitness activity have you told yourself that you would not ever be able to do? Maybe you want to walk or run one mile without stopping. Or maybe you wish you could do a plank for more than 90 seconds. Whatever the desire, let’s stop wishing and let’s start attempting. Yes! This is an absolute Call To Action!
So back to the challenge. There will be 5 Basic Fitness categories and 1 Extreme Fitness category, in which you will choose one to compete. The categories are: Push Ups, Planks, 5K, Squats, and Dead Row Lift. For those that are fitness reality TV junkies, like myself, you may choose an extreme exercise of your choice to compete. The goal is to push through and overcome the doubt, fear, lack of discipline, laziness or other thoughts that have kept you from trying.
The Push Fitness Challenge will start July 18th and end November 19th (my birthday)! The participant voted on FaceBook to have the most transformation, wins. The winner will receive a 2 night stay plus dinner for two at a luxurious Gaylord Resort near their city. Stay tuned for upcoming details.
"Fall in love with the process and the results will come. "--unknown