I’ve had a few wins over the last week I really wanted to discuss. Two of them have nothing to do with me personally, but impacts of my presence online. The other things definitely are about me [lol].
I did a 30 day challenge involving movement. It wasn’t aimed at growing muscle, eating macros, or fitness per say, but it was about incorporating movement every day. Typically when I feel like I am ‘gaining weight’ I have this knee jerk reaction of cutting all my food, starving, restricting, but decided to try and focus on another mentality this last month; movement. If I felt like I ate too much during the day [still trying to rid this mentality while also trying to maintain balance], I just took an extra walk during the day when Josh got home from work. I created workouts and had friends do them with me too! It held me accountable and also made it fun to check in with several others I knew were doing it too. Over the month, I never felt guilt for eating. I didn’t randomly start working out at night, I gave myself a place mentally to just exist. It felt absolutely freeing.
I didn’t lose any weight over the month but I did see my body composition change a bit. I’m still trying to get ahold of not going to the gym. I’d say it’s been about 5 ish months since I actually went, and a year and 4 months from when it was routine for me to go. I work out in my basement now because I’ve gathered enough equipment, and am actually really happy about it because I’ve gotten a bit more hip pain [genetics rule] in the last 2 years, and to not force myself to lift heavy is probably a good thing. But I’ve had to train with others and learn about how to do different styled workouts with less weight.
Next week on the 14th I’m starting a 30 day challenge [you can join if you want! I am going to be posting it on my stories on @apaigephotography and highlighting it on @paigelykyoung] but it is going to involve a mental aspect too. I really want those who are struggling with body image to start to dive deeper into themselves and question why they dislike the things they dislike. Sometimes helping other people [especially my students] through the same struggles I have, help me even more. To know that the fitness and diet industry profit off of people feeling miserable just to be a specific size, but still pay into it is something I’ve been facing a lot. Balance is important. Health is important. But macro counting and obsessing over body fat is not healthy in any capacity, and in the end when you die, what legacy are you leaving behind? Your body is gone, rotted, decayed, but your words and actions will live on.
My wins that do not directly involve me are these:
I had two people reach out. One person I’ve known for awhile, that said they checked themselves into an outpatient eating disorder program. Yall.. thats huge. I don’t know if I directly influenced this, but the idea that I’ve created a safe enough space online for them to tell me this is… just incredible. I post a lot of stuff about my struggles and body image online because it can only help others. I don’t want to hear compliments. I don’t want to hear im ‘not fat’ or ‘perfect the way i am.’ Comments like this make me want to vomit. Because at the end of the day I don’t care what anyone says about me, I am my own worst critic and I spend a lot of time in my head and I just want it to be a nicer place to be. But people feeling like they can come tell me this very personal monument of an action is simply beautiful.
Another person who I don’t know in any capacity said they felt moved by all of my posts and wanted to chat online to meet me and discuss some stuff about OCD and thyroid problems. I am scheduled to talk with them later in the afternoon today. Again, others feeling safe around me – wow.
Throughout my life I’ve wondered what legacy I wanted to leave behind. I think I figured it out.
Creating a space where people can come to me for help through similar problems is probably it. I am an inclusive person – non judgemental – think that all walks of life are valid. I always wanted to be a counselor but obviously our system doesn’t value them financially. Photography is also a psychological process and I’ve used so much education in the field of psychology [my first major] within my career – but reaching beyond the lens is super critical and important to me too.
So no big ‘aha’ moment for this blog today. The last month I have felt guilt free, obviously a few moments of panic, but more progress than backlash. I am really looking forward to the mental and physical health beginning next monday. Can’t wait to see the growth in all those who play along. ❤