done looking for the critics (week 3)

Before I spent a week recovering from strep throat, my work-out schedule was relatively consistent. I averaged 10 hours of exercise a week and spent many days squeezing in two work-outs. I prefer waking up early and getting at least one work-out done. A morning spent on the elliptical and lifting weights also guarantees that I fit strength training into my schedule and helps to determine how the rest of the day will go.

I had hopes of early morning work-outs this week, but a combination of cooler weather, cuddly dogs, and a body that needed rest made those hopes just hopes and not reality.

In the past, I spent Thursday nights at the gym combining cardio, circuit training, and core muscle training. It's one of the nights I take time and go to the gym. While I don't enjoy the great number of other patrons, I love being able to exercise without worrying about time constraints.

I stepped into the gym on Thursday after work. I was a little worried about completing my first second work-out of the day since spending an entire week on the couch, but I pushed past the worry and stepped into the gym.

I'm finding that I love the elliptical. I hope to one day be able to pound out miles on the treadmill, but as it stands now, my knees are a bit too wobbly and sore to do that. So I choose the elliptical. And everytime I climb onto the elliptical, I do it with the intention of finishing three miles. I did just that on Thursday and finished in 40 minutes.

The television was turned to the Travel Channel, and I kept my eyes on two episodes of Man vs. Food while I completed intervals on the elliptical. Some people might enjoy the show. For me, personally, it saddened me. And it caused me to look inward at the relationship I have and used to have with food.

If you aren't familiar with the show, Adam Richman takes on different challenges throughout the show. While I watched, he consumed nine sushi rolls as quickly as possible, attempted to eat five pounds worth of chilli dogs and fries in 20 minutes, and also ate pancakes that were big enough to feed at least ten people. There were other items eaten, but those were the ones that stuck out the most to me.

I kept wondering why. Why would you force yourself to eat so much food in a time constraint? Why would people watch him and cheer for him? Why is there a show like this? Why eat food when you don't really get to enjoy it? I also wondered what. What happened to make someone want to eat so much food and so quickly?

I turned those questions on myself as I huffed and puffed through the three miles. I thought back to all the food I used to eat. I never devoured five pounds worth of chilli dogs and fries, but I used to get every meal from a fast food restaurant. I don't consume nine sushi rolls, but I've been known to finish three all on my own.

My reasons were simple: I didn't love myself. During that time, I didn't see it that way. I saw myself as being busy and stressed and having no other choice. But I always had a choice. I just chose not to take care of myself, not to put myself first, and not the love myself the way I deserved.

The further I travel on this journey the more I love myself. I'm at a point where I now look into the mirror and appreciate what I see. I notice the changes. I might not be at the end of the journey, but I am well on my way.

In the past, I would have looked in the mirror and shrugged. I wore clothes that were nice enough and tried to look presentable. But I never really cared. I figured I was as good as I was going to get. I figured there was nothing else I could do. Trying to improve my health would be too hard. There were too many obstacles. It wasn't worth trying.. I wasn't worth trying.

My body image was not good. My image of myself was not good. I took all the negative things I had ever heard from other people, all the things I wasn't that the media said I should be, and everything I thought of myself, and I listened to it.

Starting this journey, I began the process of shedding all those negative things. I began the process of looking in the mirror and not shrugging. I started to care. And I started to love myself.

Thursday was the first time I looked into the mirror and truly saw the changes. I've noticed them before, but I've always pointed out the flaws and the items that aren't improving. I've always focused on the things that aren't good enough. But when I saw myself in the mirror Thursday, I felt acceptance.

The journey to health begins with a choice. No one else can make a person start to lose weight other than the person who needs to lose weight. After that first choice, every single day is a choice. And I choose to not be a critic of myself.

The more I love myself the easier this journey becomes. There are still temptations. But it's easier to say no. Because no now means I can say yes to other things later. There will be days when I look in the mirror and shrug, but the more I love myself the fewer those days will occur.

Life is short. But it's beautiful. We as people are beautiful too - no matter what the world says. But it is up to us as individuals to love ourselves enough and live out that beauty.

(title from "f*ckin' perfect" by pink)

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