February 10, 2014

Perfection? I Gave That Up Long Ago.

Before I begin, I just wanted to let you all know that I never write posts like this. It makes me feel rather vulnerable. But how else will I be able to prove that I have been there, that I have been in that “low” place. I have had to deal with cellulite, I have looked in the mirror and hated who I am. I have told myself “I can’t do this”. I have wanted to drop out of NASM and school and other activities. I have been there.
Let’s face it, we’re women. We strive for perfection. And even if you don’t admit to it, you still know it crosses your mind every now and then. (I know I still deal with it now and then as well!) But one thing that needs to change is what women think is “perfection”. There is no such thing! The Victoria’s Secret models, the flawless girl who sits in class with you, that guy who can run a 10k without barely breaking a sweat in half your time. Stop comparing to their “perfection”; you will never live up to it and you will always be unhappy. Learn to love yourself for who you are and learn to embrace your strengths. Maybe you can’t run a 10k very fast and maybe you don’t look flawless at your 8am class, but that doesn’t mean you’re not perfect and the other person is. You are wonderful in your own way and the sooner you figure it out, the happier you will be.
I struggled with the comparison game my whole life. I never felt like I could measure up or do good at any hobby/sport I tried. As I hit my late teens, I began to have low confidence in my body. I barely worked out and I felt completely flawed from head to toe. I remember I vowed I was starting a diet of Special K bars and cheese sticks to lose weight. I believed they were healthy foods and if I only ate one or two a day, I would lose the weight I wanted. I was miserable.
What I failed to notice at this time in my life is that I was, in fact, a very successful teen! I had started my own publishing company in 7th grade and ran it for years. I was generating income at such a young age while blessing many women across the country! I was also largely involved in 4-H and became an ambassador for my county. On top of all of that I took up running and yoga. At the time, I was so blind to my achievements and success, but looking back I can see that I was strides ahead of my peers who still say at home playing video games.
Why was I so down on myself? I needed purpose, something to live for. But I just couldn’t figure out what it was yet.
Everything changed the day my mom said she was going on a sugar-free diet. I remember thinking that was the dumbest idea ever because sugar doesn’t make you fat, fat makes you fat… Right? Wrong! After seeing my mom successfully drop 10 pounds in a couple weeks, I decided to try it too. I started cutting out simple carbs from my diet. And I saw a change. After that, I started researching food. I found out what clean eating was, I poured myself over The World’s Healthiest Foods and completely switched my life for the better. Working out became and new hobby and I dedicated myself to learning new workouts.
That’s when everything clicked. I had found my passion, my purpose, my drive to live each day like it’s my last. I went from eating Special K bars and dabbling in some workouts to eating food with quality, and forming a workout habit.
Upon graduating high school, I became an art major and studied graphic design for a year. By the end of my second semester, I knew I was not following my dream. Healthy living is where my heart was and I was conscious of that fact. I remember sitting in class and browsing schools that offered health science and wishing I could transfer.  After that moment, I knew without a doubt that I was not cut out for graphic design and that I would not, at any cost, sit behind a computer all day doodling.  I told my parents of my decision and with their blessing applied to the school with my dream major.
Health, Wellness and Fitness is my major and I have a concentration in health promotions. If you would have told me at six years old that I would be studying that in college, I would have laughed out loud. Never in my dreams would I have expected to come so far at such a young age. I am 20, which I know is young, but I work hard every day to achieve my dreams. I am a certified trainer through NASM, I am going to school for HWF, I am currently becoming a WellPro certified health coach and I remotely train clients all over the US. I am not perfect, I have come to terms with that. Not every day is smooth sailing, I cave and eat Jimmy Johns, I miss a workout. I am human. But I remind myself of my passion and get right back up.
Perfection? I stopped chasing that a long time ago. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about doing what you love and striving to be better than you were yesterday. It’s about getting up when you don’t feel like it and doing your best. It’s about staying in when everyone else is going to the bars because your job requires you lead by example. It’s about staying focused even when you lose sight. You cannot beat yourself up about spilled milk, but you also cannot let yourself spill the milk too many times.
Has it been easy? No.  But it has been worth it.  I still have my doubts some days, and I have lost confidence in my abilities. But is that an excuse to throw in the towel? Not at all. Just keep working hard and never give up!

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