“How much do you weigh?” I’ve probably answered this question hundreds of times in my life from doctors, coaches/trainers, family members, and complete strangers. It’s amazing how powerful one number can be.
I was reading a story in Self Magazine by Allie Kieffer titled, “My Weight has nothing to do with how good a runner I am.” In the article Allie recounted her experience as a competitive runner, and being criticized for her strong build. The scrutiny was unnerving and stressful, and over time Allie believed that in order to achieve her athletic goals she needed to conform to the stereotype of a rain-thin elite runner.
After years of hearing she was “too big,” she became obsessed with cutting weight, tracking calories, and dropping weight. Her 2012 blog series documented her journey, and ultimately this unhealthy behavior and destructive pattern led to injury: a stress fracture that prevented her from competing in the 2012 Olympic trials.
In 2017, instead of counting calories, Allie focused on confidence, nourishing her body, and training. The result? She placed fifth in the New York City Marathon.
Similar to Allie, the number on the scale has haunted me for years. In college it reached the highest number I’ve ever seen: 145. I’m writing 1-4-5 because I think it’s important. To me, this was big, uncomfortable, and even embarrassing. I spent the summer after my sophomore year doing two things: working and working out, determined to shrink that number. But let’s be real – 145 isn’t that high!
I’ve also seen that number get as low as 108 the day of my NPC Bikini Bodybuilding show. 108?! My body was all muscle, I had a six pack, and at the time I thought I looked smokin’! Reality: I was hangry, dehydrated, 9% body fat, and I couldn’t find a pair of pants. I received judgement when trying to shop because I was “too thin” – there really is no winning! (Disclaimer: I completely respect those that compete – it is not easy and they work soooo hard!)
I have been on both sides of the spectrum, and similar to Allie, I struggled with the comments from others, and my own thoughts. But, there will always be people with an opinion – good and bad.
When I turned thirty something changed, and I decided to just ignore it all. My body, my rules. So this year – and every year moving forward – I’m focused on ME. I am a wife, an aunt, a sister, an athlete, a yogi, a friend…I am ME! There is something so powerful and refreshing about feeling completely confident and OK with ME.
Taryn Brumfitt, creator of the powerful documentary, Embrace (highly recommend), took a before & after picture in 2013. Little did she know that picture would go viral and spark an international conversation around body image. The documentary featured dozens of women from all over the world. It was amazing to see that all of these beautiful and strong ladies all suffer from similar qualms with their bodies.
I think Taryn says it best:
“But collectively, when we come together, when we share our stories and when we judge less and love more we are so powerful and our lives become so meaningful.”
This year I encourage you to focus on YOU. Judge less and love more. You are strong, determined, focused, powerful…and so much more. Together, we are so powerful.
Mikaela Mayer looks pretty damn powerful to me 🙂
Defy your limits, think BIG, and crush your 2018 goals. Join me in the Gixo Fit and Sweat Pink #IAMLimitless movement. Share what makes YOU limitless in 2018. And don’t forget to download the printable version of the #IAMLimitless sign here.