I guess I just couldn’t get through the week without a sassy post.
Here’s where I’m at. I’ve been in this health game for over a decade. When I was a young gymnast, I learned all about sets and reps with our strength training workouts; I somehow found it so fun that I designed workouts for my little sister and I was her “coach” (I even had a clipboard and wrote out the exercises haha.. I should have known I would end up here!)
As a pre-teen, I asked for health and fitness magazine subscriptions for my birthday and Christmas. I read those cover to cover for years. My mom would record (not DVR, rather record through the VCR on tape haha) various health segments I would see advertised on TV. My love for this lifestyle only continued though my teenage years and into my twenties.
I share all of this to let you know, I’ve seen heath and fitness fads come and go. In the moment, nothing feels like a fad. You know what I mean?!
Here are the only 2 things I’ve seen stay the same throughout the past decade:
1) Hard Work in the Gym: it’s not about the specific workout, it’s about whatever specific workout you choose to do will require your hard work and effort. We get out what we put in.
2) Eating Nutritiously: you and I could both list 20 different types of diets. I won’t even get into which ones work or which ones don’t because the point is many of them come and go. Eating items that are nutritious and beneficial for our bodies is something that withstands the test of time.
Sorry… I’m kind of getting off topic. Back to my point for this post.
I am not calling what I’m about to discuss a “fad” because in an ideal world, it would be a characteristic in our DNA. It’s absolutely essential.
Don’t let what I’m about to say confuse you into thinking I don’t think it’s important. I live my life with it at the center.
What I will call a fad, however, is the direction society has taken it.
What is this “it” I’m referring to?!
I want to say this again… self love is not a fad. It has, however, become a buzz word… a hot topic… a subject used all over the cover a magazines.
Whenever anything “sells” or “goes viral,” it seems to become something that it’s not.
I firmly believe that self love is the start of everything. We must first love ourselves in order to: love others, believe in our abilities, reach our goals, enjoy life to the fullest, the list goes on and on.
The self love revolution (and one I am happy to be a part of promoting) has all of those amazing intentions. Somewhere along the line, it feels like self love seemed to take on a different meaning. Especially as it relates to health and fitness.
You may relate to this…
I began seeing articles and posts that implied those who think about their body image don’t love themselves. That those who workout every day and eat healthy the majority of the time aren’t truly loving themselves. And, that self love means not caring about what size or shape you are.
Remember in this sassy post when I talked about that book I read on the French health and fitness philosophy and how the author kind of poked fun at how Americans have a tendency to take a perfectly balanced idea and run it to an extreme.
Does it seem to you that that this has happened a bit with the idea of self love?
I’m here to tell you that I think… no, I KNOW that living a lifestyle that includes getting active and fueling your body with healthy foods is an act of self love.
I love my body so much that I work out to take care of it. I love my body so much that I eat well so it can perform optimally.
And, I will not be told any different.
Are there individuals who live healthy but struggle with self love? Absolutely! Are there people who lead unhealthy lifestyles who struggle with self love? Yesss.
Is it essential that we love ourselves with or without abs? Yes. Do we need to love ourselves on days we ate well and on days we ate the whole bag of flamin’ hot cheetos? You get where I’m going.
Self love isn’t reliant on a condition (ex: abs, eating well, being a certain size, weighing a particular amount). We must feel self love regardless of all conditions! That’s undebatable. It just seems that, like with many other things, society has twisted the idea of what self love is.
Here’s my biggest beef with what society has misrepresented self love to be…
In my opinion, self love is empowering. It’s liberating. It should make you feel bad ass and capable. You should feel tough. At least, that’s how it makes me feel!
In that last sassy post, I shared my silly healthy eating spectrum. So, why not make a silly mindset spectrum to go along with this post?!
On a scale of Absolutely #NoExcuses Tough to Butterfly Soft, I fall somewhere right in the middle.
#NoExcuses isn’t something that works for me. There are plenty of great excuses in life; we have to love ourselves enough to know when to pull back and when to push forward. #NoExcuses doesn’t take that into consideration and I need that in my life.
On the contrary, butterfly soft isn’t going to cut it in today’s world. The other day I was joking with Anthony that I’m going to make our son be a mama’s boy (not really joking… that is my goal lol). He replied, “he sure can be a mama’s boy.. he will learn so much about strength from you because we have to remember we aren’t raising a butterfly. That’s especially important in today’s society.” I fricken loved that.
^hehe that’s where I drew my inspiration for “butterfly soft.”
Tough Times Don’t Last. Tough People Do.
Here’s the real reason why this gets me heated. Life is not easy. You don’t need me to tell you that.
I mentioned previously that I’ve personally been dealing with a difficult situation. Aren’t we all?! If I wasn’t tough, my life would be a mess right now.
We need to be F-ing tough, strong women who can deal with whatever life throws at us.
My mantra for LG has always been: “using health and fitness as a foundation to lead lives we absolutely love.” Self love is part of that foundation. Self love can help us be tough! It can allow us to push past obstacles and feel good!
I’m not talking about obstacles like struggling to lose 5 lbs or hitting a plateau. I’m talking about the real tough stuff in life… death, hardship, setbacks, loss. We’ve all been there.
I get sick of this butterfly soft mentality (packaged as “self love”) being promoted as what is “healthy.”
Of course, there are times when self love means allowing ourselves to feel soft and fragile. That’s perfectly okay AND HEALTHY! But so is strength!
If I’m not tough enough to get my lazy ass off the couch and into the gym… if I’m not tough enough to say no to the 2nd piece of cake offered to me… then I’m not going to be tough enough to deal with the really difficult stuff life throws at me.
I love myself so much that I know being tough and mentally strong is essential to my happiness and overall wellbeing.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to use my workouts and meals as a way to keep me strong in the small moments so I can maintain that mental toughness during the big moments.
Wooee, I told you some of that gets me fired up. It’s because health and fitness has truly helped me more than I can express. Lately, my workouts have kept me sane. Eating well has helped my body do its thing and feel good. I don’t do it because I hate myself/my body; I do it because I love myself and how strong I feel inside and out.
All of this is to tell you that you’re tough, girl! Every day when you bust your booty and make your healthy meals, you’re showing yourself love! You’re getting tough!
I hope the road you’re traveling on is perfectly smooth but I know that if you hit a bump in the road, that stamina and toughness will get you through.
So much love, girl!! XO
Photography by Jennifer Mathews Photography