One minute I am singing along to “All About That Bass” and feeling like I could turn heads wherever I go, the next I am staring at myself in the mirror at the gym, suddenly aware of just how much weight I have gained since graduating college.
I can see women on the ellipticals and treadmills behind my reflection. Their thighs do not rub together like mine as they exercise. Their tight pants do not highlight any cellulite and their small shirts betray no love handles.
I catch myself comparing my body to theirs, no longer as confident as Meghan Trainor shaking it in her pretty pastel outfits. I also see a woman bigger than I am, working hard and seeming to pay no attention to the others.
Still, my confidence waivers.
When it comes down to it, confidence is internal. It is not a formula that is obtained by following simple instructions.
That internal confidence is different for everyone.
I focus my attention back to my own reflection in the gym mirror. This time I watch my shoulders as I lower my body under the bar. I make sure they are straight and not hunched. I make sure my hands are even and then I engage all of my muscles. I stand straight, balancing the bar on my back as I lift it from the rack. I watch my legs as I lower my body down, making sure my knees are staying above my feet.
I watch my chest, making sure it stays up and does not fall forward. I can see some extra meat around my thighs as I squat down.
I can also see the muscles engaging.
I see them take shape as they push the weight back up.
I breathe. Then I do it again.
It is in those single moments, the moments where I can feel my muscles working, see them take shape that I believe in their power. I know I will have moments where I am not confident in the body that I have, where I get discouraged and want to give up.
It gets a little easier when I see my body for the miracle that it is. I see how hard it works and the things that it can do. I see how it supports me daily.
I feel a little better when I can add another ten pounds to the bar. When I can run an extra half mile without thinking I am going to drop dead on the street. When I can stretch a little deeper or hold a pose just a little bit longer.
In those moments it suddenly does not matter what my body looks like.
It matters what it can do.
Author: Amanda Reed
Editor: Renée Picard
Images: Wiki Commons
Facebook is in talks with major corporate media about pulling their content into FB, leaving other sites to wither or pay up if we want to connect with you, our readers. Want to stay connected before the curtain drops? Get our curated, quality newsletters below!