Health | Wellness | Yoga | Chicago

Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life

Now that I’m twenty-one years old, I kind of feel like an actual adult. (Key word, “kind of.”) It’s given me the chance to look back and reflect on the past couple of years and the things that brought me where I am today. A couple years ago, I pictured my twenty first birthday being spent bent over a toilet puking my brains out. Although that very well be me this weekend, tonight I’m writing this at 9:30pm before I go to bed so that I can wake up on my birthday tomorrow and go take a yoga class with my mom. I just wanted to share some words of wisdom with you all, because I recently realized that I have had a shocking revelation in my life, and it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Shirt from Franklin & Whitman. Photo taken by Allyson Manzella

So, when I first started all of this, my fitness “journey,” my instagram account, I did it to lose weight. I did it because I hated my body and I wanted to change it. I did it because I was tired of being “fat.” I did it because I was dating somebody that weighed less than me. I did it because my roommate walked around in sports bras, and I wanted that to be me. I did it because my family would look at pictures of my cousins and call them “skinny minnie’s” but they would look at me and say nothing. I I did it for reasons that were wrong for me.  But I still did it. If you followed me last January when I first started my Instagram, there’s no way you would’ve known any of this. How could you? Even my first blog post, “How Did I Get Here: Part One” was centered around how much weight I lost. After I cut out gluten and dairy, I lost weight quickly, and I was loving it. People commented on my Instagram photos, they asked me how I did it, they asked me how much weight I lost. I loved the feeling of being skinny, but I didn’t like the other feelings I was having. I had major digestive problems, my anxiety was through the roof, I was binge eating the sweets and bad foods that I prohibited in my diet. I wasn’t happy, but I sure did look good.

 

I used to laugh at people that talked about “intuitive eating.” Eating what your body craved? That thought was so scary to me. I NEEDED restriction in my life, otherwise I would go crazy. I worked out every damn day. If I didn’t, my mind would race. It told me that I would gain weight, that I would look like I did before *shutter*. So, I worked out. In between classes when I should’ve been relaxing and eating lunch. I ran on the treadmill and did Kayla’s BBG program. Or, on my extra busy days, I would get home at 10pm and make an exhausted trip down to the stairmaster. I would miserably take steps up the stairmaster, because this is what it takes to be healthy, right? I was addicted to sugar, so I binge ate dried fruit and gluten free desserts on the DL, because as long as I was gluten free/ dairy free I would keep off the weight, right? In this state of mind, I truly couldn’t fathom how people actually thought that FEELING good should be a main priority in the fitness space. I was obsessed with getting abs. If you’re an OG follower, you remember be posting mirror pics with my abs barely coming out in the mirror. My mind did not understand how someone could care more about feeling good than looking good.

 

This all changed for me when I went Paleo. When I discovered that the Paleo diet consisted of eating as much food as I wanted, my mind was blown. When I cut out sugar along with gluten/dairy and all of the other non-Paleo things, I felt like a million bucks. I became a foodie! I truly appreciated good, delicious clean food. And somewhere along the line, working out became less of a priority and feeling good became my main one. My digestive issues were improving, I had more energy, my anxiety lessened, and I became a happier person. Things only got better when I decided to let myself eat foods that I wanted, even if that meant eating something with cane sugar in it once in awhile like I do now. My perspective has truly changed. People that were trying to force this mindset on me only made it worse. So this post is not to force it on any of you. If you really care about how your body looks and you really want those abs, I respect that, and I do believe there is a healthy way to exist in that mindset. For me, it wasn’t healthy, and it wasn’t happy.

Photo taken by Allyson Manzella.

 

It’s so weird; I never actively told myself to stop looking in the mirror, or stop weighing myself, or stop letting that number define my worth, it just happened. As my body felt better, those things slowly lost their significance. Now I can say that I really never look at my body in the mirror. I never look at my stomach with shame, I never flex my abs as hard as I can. Sure, I flex my biceps sometimes because I know I’m strong! If I ever do look in the mirror at my naked body, I smile. This post comes from the heart. There’s no fake words here, just one’s that I hope will help you realize that it’s possible to love your body as it’s supposed to be.

 

This is in no way telling you not to workout, or not to have goals when it comes to fitness. I love working out and taking classes, and I have goals. Those goals have just changed from quantitative to qualitative. Rather than reaching a certain weight, or taking a certain number of classes, I strive to make time for myself everyday and to feel strong in my workouts.

 

So, if you’re reading this right now thinking that I’m full of shit, or thinking that you JUST want to lose ten pounds. That’s okay. If I read this a year ago, I would’ve thought the exact same thing. Maybe that’s how you start your journey. I hope that your journey ends up in a safe and happy place. I am extremely grateful to have found this amazing relationship with my body. I still work at it every single day. Sure, there’s some days when I have negative thoughts about my body, or that I look back to when I was my thinnest and envy those days, but then I bring my mindset back to what really matters. Now, anyone can tell you that I’m obsessed with feeling my best! If I get bloated after one meal, I freak out and do everything I can to heal my gut. I don’t settle for feeling shitty in any way, shape or form, and neither should you. Being obsessed with FEELING GOOD is a much better place to be than being obsessed with looking good. And I promise you that when you truly feel good, you’ll look the best you ever have through your own eyes.

Photo taken by Allyson Manzella. Shirt from Franklin & Whitman.


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