Why Confidence Trumps Composition

Our emphasis on fitness and nutrition results focuses primarily on aesthetics.  The flawless six-pack, sculpted legs, and well-defined delts remain the biggest indicators of perceived health success. Love it or hate, that is just how it is. We as humans are a social species that care about what others think of us. And many times, we care too much. Humans rely on aesthetics for so much of what we love about our lives. We use visual attraction to judge our potential mate, how we choose a meal and the type of products, we buy. It’s human nature. In fact, it is nature in general.

Is it in our DNA?

I taught biology and anatomy to hormone-ridden teenagers for 10 years and so many of my lessons still remain fresh in my mind. A great interest always erupted in class when we began to discuss the behavior of animals. We talked about the crazy, and not so crazy things, animals go through to impress their potential mates. The male peacock and his beautiful display of feathers to attract a mate, the funky mating dance of many species of birds to gain the attention of female birds, and the size of a bull elk’s antlers that impress a female are just a few.

My point here is appearance matters because it is a part of our DNA, literally. It’s my own opinion that every human being has some degree of concern about their appearance whether they admit it or not.

The Start of a Downward Spiral

I would be lying through my teeth if I didn’t agree that looking fit wasn’t a priority to me too. I am in my mid-thirties and I’ve come to realize it is a time of lots of reflection and continual learning about myself.

My husband and I were lucky enough to get pregnant quickly when we began trying in our twenties. Literally the first month. We were excited beyond measure but held our secret from our families until after our first ultrasound. The sight of the first heartbeat was an experience that you can never really put into words. It made me feel that I was put on earth to be a mom.

Things were amazing, I felt great, was gaining weight well, and had mentally started planning for the future. We went in for another ultrasound at thirteen weeks only to be hit by a truck with the most devastating news of our lives up to that point. There was no longer a heartbeat. For me, there was no longer purpose. My body had begun to change, my heart began to feel a love I hadn’t ever imagined and I had already embraced pregnancy fully. Now, it felt like it was for nothing.

I Stopped Taking Care of Myself

I let myself go, barely moving off the couch and I just couldn’t get past the thought that I may never be a mom. Again we tried and lost. And finally, our third time was given the gift of our daughter. I don’t share this for pity because I know many women suffer more loss than I did. I share this because I know that so many women have shared this same experience or similar ones. That so many women have given up their bodies in the name of becoming a mother. Some forever and some for only a short time.

The sacrifices both physically and emotionally have been worth every moment of grief I had experienced once I held them in my arms. And just like this experience, there are many more just like it, where people find themselves lost, hurting and in a place they never expected.  They let themselves go and with it, all their confidence goes too.

The Reality

All the mushy stuff aside, after being pregnant several times, having 2 children, nursing 2 children, and gaining too much weight during those pregnancies, self-confidence was not my friend. I looked in the mirror and felt embarrassed. Embarrassed about how I had let myself go. I had allowed food to control my emotions. I’d become embarrassed that I lacked the confidence to stand in front of the man I loved naked and vulnerable. I bought baggier clothes, I hid from myself in the mirror and most of all, I hid from confident intimacy with my husband. I no longer felt visually attractive and I was not confident.

Getting Your Mind Right

It took me time, a few years of time to gain back my confidence.  I found CrossFit, found food balance, and changed my mindset. Confidence is defined as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”  It is a word I have seen personally break someone down so much that they could barely find air to breathe. It is a word that I want to model to my own kids so strongly because for their entire lives they will face people who try and tear theirs down. It is a feeling that only you know if you possess.

A Turning Point

When I changed my style of eating and my perception of food my body began to change in ways I had never imagined. I’d worked my tail off at the gym for years and nothing, not even 1 little ab poked through. Now at 34, my body composition reveals that I work hard in the kitchen and at the gym.

I don’t want to look fit for anyone else. I want to look fit for myself. The change in my confidence as a woman has been empowering.  The feeling of putting on a bikini and owning it, the feeling of standing in front of my hubby butt-naked and feeling HAWT (sorry mom and dad) and the feeling of crushing a workout at the gym have all helped to build my confidence.

And you know what?

It makes me so badly want that for other women and men too.

I Want You to Feel Confident

I want people to be completely confident in their own skin. To not feel judged by what others think they should look like, but be guided by the confidence they have of their own self-awareness.  Some may read this and completely disagree. My answer — I am just being honest. Getting to a place in life where you begin to not care about what others think is liberating. I am talking about that place where your confidence in who you are surpasses the need to think twice about what others do. That place is starting to feel really good.

(Ready to feel more confidence in your own body? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Why Confidence Trumps Composition

As I left my son’s football practice last week a stranger stopped me. She said, “beautiful arms mama— you look strong.”  She honestly left me speechless, I didn’t know what to say.

My reaction was completely anti-climatic, a quiet “Thank you.”

When inside it was so much more. It was gratitude in her confidence to tell me what she had, gratitude for reassuring my confidence in who I am, and gratitude for sharing that special moment in front of my children.

By pursuing goals to change body composition I’ve learned it isn’t really about composition at all. It is about gaining control of what you want, who you are, and the confidence in your ability to do so. That confidence pours into all areas of your life when you have it and creates an unstoppable cycle of awesomeness — in fitness, in nutrition, in parenting, in love, and in friendships.

In my opinion confidence trumps composition any day. What do you think?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

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