Progress, Pace, Patience & Body Image

Today may be my most revealing blog yet — I’ve taken on the personal challenge to change my body composition but to have patience in doing so — AND taking progress pictures each month.  (YIKES!)  I just started this new journey in January, post-graduation, so I don’t have a lot of progress to show yet, but what I do have, I am going to be sharing below.

Before we get into the pictures, here are a few things I struggle with:

  1. Patience – I am NOT patient.  A lot of people are not, so I’m not alone here.  But in changing the way your body looks, it is a marathon NOT a sprint.  I’m starting to learn to not “fall off the wagon” if I don’t see instant results.  This is a LIFELONG journey, which I has different peaks and valleys.  I’ve gained and lost 5-15 pounds throughout different times of my post-high school adulthood.  This should not be news to me, right?
  2. Pace – again, the pace of achieving results is that of a marathon, not a sprint.
  3. Compliments – I tend to diminish compliments I receive simply because I don’t believe them myself or I feel as if I haven’t earned them because my focus area (legs) hasn’t progressed yet.  For example, over the past 2 weeks I’ve received the following compliments:

“How do you stay so beautifully thin?” — woman beside me at nail salon.  I diminished this because I thought she only saw me from waist up because I was sitting.  If she saw my legs or hips, she wouldn’t have thought the same thing.

“You are so skinny!…You are shrinking!”….several times at work from co-workers and my boyfriend’s Aunt.  I just didn’t believe I look that different.  My clothes basically fit the same?

“Your back is sick.  I watched you do those chin ups over there; I want my back to look like that.” — already muscular guy at the gym who did not appear to just be hitting on me.  I was super pumped about the compliment but then quickly was upset that it was about my upper body and not my lower body, again diminishing the compliment.

Recently, I have joined the Love Your Body Challenge that Molly Galbraith of Girls Gone Strong because I really need to stop being so negative AND my boyfriend (who is a personal trainer, mind you) has literally had enough.  He’s beyond wanting to tell me how beautiful I am because he’s disgusted with my own perception of how I look.  This challenge has been helpful and is making me realize that I have a great focus and discipline and my body is strong and amazing.  BUT doesn’t mean I’m 100% accepting of my legs/hips yet…..but I’m getting there.  I also know that I literally have just started working out hard for the past 5 weeks.  (January presented some down time from the gym with the death of a family friend and some traveling with work).

Yesterday, I was feeling happy, had a good workout and decided it was time to take the dreaded progress pictures that I had been avoiding…..avoiding with the assumption that I’ve had ZERO progress in 5 weeks.  I guess I was wrong.  Below are progress pictures taken in January (all pics with the color-stripe banded pants) and pictures taken yesterday.  I added in a picture that I took with different lighting at the gym, to demonstrate how lighting can make you look better — which happens OFTEN in magazines, etc.  **And I know, I should have made my bed first yesterday.**

Front Progress Picture:

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Side Progress Picture:

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Back Progress Picture:

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So there you have it — it’s not huge progress, but definitely some change in some areas.  I was pleasantly surprised.  My hips and thighs actually have shrunk a little and my stomach tightened up slightly.  The most progress I’m having that you can’t necessarily see in the pictures is within my back.  Apparently I have muscles popping out when I do my chin ups — I need to get a picture of that soon!

Naturally, I’ve always stored my fat in my lower half of my body and my stomach/upper body always leaned out first.  Now that I’m on my way with that, I look forward to continued progress with my lower body.  It’s not bikini season yet!  I have time.

Oh and by the way, I’m pretty easily hitting my old PRs in big lifts and foresee surpassing them likely over the next two weeks.  I’m changing my body and getting stronger — what could be better?!

If you too struggle with your body image, I hope this resonated in a positive way.  Also, join the Love Your Body Challenge at http://mollygalbraith.com/2014/03/im-baaaaaack/.  It’s not too late!

Have a Great Sunday!

~Melissa*

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