In the early part of the summer I finally decided it was time to upgrade some of my wardrobe. Between running, training, and my job as a trainer I spend about 70% of my life in gym clothes. Every once in a while though, an occasion pops up and regular clothes are required. Mine were looking a little shabby. I took advantage of a kid-free day off and headed to Marshalls. Like most people, trying on clothes is not my favorite thing in the world so after searching through the stacks, I gave myself a little pep talk and headed into the dressing room with my pile of clothes.
When the clothes had all been tried and sorted into purchase or return-to-the-rack, I stood in the dressing room feeling completely defeated by the scene surrounding me. The mirrors, the mislabeled sizes, how can I be an 8 in one brand and 12 in another?!? I swear – some of those styles don’t look good on anyone but the in-store mannequins. It’s a moment we all share, the harsh light and the unflattering angles – showing everything we think is wrong.
Then I had a thought. It is absolutely ridiculous that my body can run a marathon yet a changing room mirror kicks my ass every time.
Our bodies are incredible machines, my body created two children. My body can heal broken bones. My body forgave almost ten years of smoking and allowed me to become a distance runner. I’ve run almost 5000 miles with my own two feet and the power of my legs.
At some point we just have to get over the rest of the stuff. Cellulite, stretch marks and chub rub are a part of life. We weren’t designed to be perfect, so why do we keep striving for it in the mirror? Who gets to decide what perfect looks like anyway? In fact, if you look at the “perfect” woman for every decade over the last 100 years you will find a vast variety of shapes and sizes. Our idea of beauty is as varied as we are.
We recently watched as Olympic athletes worked their butts off in Rio. These were the best athletes in the world – no one would argue that they are incredibly fit. Look at all the different shapes these bodies make up, compare a swimmer to a marathon runner, then add the gymnast and a rugby player in the mix and you will have incredible diversity in body shapes and sizes! But each is healthy in their own right.
When you’re feeling frustrated because the size on your pants is larger than you wished it was, take stock of all the things your legs do for you every single day. Stop beating yourself up because you don’t have a perfectly flat stomach, think of the power of the heart and lungs working inside that rib cage. Look at the body you have and appreciate every day what it does for you, instead of spending your time wishing it looked different, and beating it up for letting you down.