Photo by Renee of Laurel Street Kitchen

A few months back I was scrolling through the camera reel on my phone looking for a few certain images that I knew were somewhere and found myself (an hour later) in a sea of photos of myself. Reflecting. No, those weren’t the photos I was looking for (c’mon)  – but my reaction was shocking. I kept finding myself saying, “Wow, you looked really good in these, Katie”. I know, that’s likely not what you were thinking. Let me explain.

This impromptu reflection had me in a mix of feelings. I could remember when the photo was taken thinking to myself: “Good god, I look chubby…” or “seriously Katie, those jeans… they don’t fit you…” to the classic “never stand (or sit) that way in a picture again”. Now I sit here saying to myself “ARE YOU KIDDING… YOU LOOKED GREAT” and side note, “you can’t even fit into those jeans now, so how the fuck (sorry) did you think you weren’t in good shape?!?”  This immediately caused tears. For all of us. What are we doing? If we are always thinking we’re too heavy, not toned enough, or focusing on that one problem area and never seeing the good about ourselves, that means that a) it’s never going to be good enough and b) we are ultimately setting ourselves up for failure. As I look back on the photos where I was critical, I now realize it’s time to lean in. When I look back at the photos where I was not even recognizing all the hard work I had put into myself, I now realize it’s time to appreciate. That fit body from 7 years ago that I thought was flabby… well, the jokes on me – I was in the best shape of my life. This post from three years ago (which was totally real life at the time) – well those jeans don’t even fit over my thighs anymore. There I said it, and you know, I’m not gonna be sad about it. It’s just life. It’s also a wake up call.

The next part gets tricky. It poses a unique question that continues to circulate in my brain. How do we stop ourselves? How do we tell our current self that our future self may one day crave what we once loathed. That if you would have simply loved you for you, you might not have went on a parade of failed diets that lead you in a worse off position. That if you just ate to fuel your body, your body would know what to do with it. That if you just got in touch with the beauty of food to balance you, provide energy and create harmony, that the food fight could end. It could. I promise.

What’s the solution? Well, I don’t have one but I think that’s the beauty of it. It’s fluid, it’s going to look different for everyone. But I can tell you what I’m working to do for myself (as I sit here with a nice little belly roll over my jeans that reminds me that I’ve lived):

  • Detaching. Please note, easier said than done. But I’m detaching from the notion that eating this will make me that. Example: I can find plenty of times I had already convinced myself (while eating) that a burger and fries was going to make me gain weight. Well, yes if eaten every day or fast food style – we know how that goes. But that amazing bison burger and fresh cut fries on a trip to San Francisco is not going to hurt me. I just know what I need to do before and after to balance, and I’m not kidding, there’s no guilt. Guilt = stress. Stress = bad habits. Bad habits = weight gain. Prescribe 20 has taught me all about balance.
  • Food as fuel. I couldn’t stand behind this more. In our PN programs we layout the foundation to live on. Fat + Fiber + Protein = feeling of satiety, it turns off hunger and provides the nutrients we need to feel energized. It also cuts craving off at the pass. You do know that sugar cravings are simply signs that your body isn’t getting what it needs, don’t you? After years of working on our custom approach to tackling cravings, I can confidently say that I don’t crave sugar. Does it taste good and do I enjoy an indulgence here and there? Sure do. But the only time I’m reaching for a giant chocolate chunk cookie is if I’m depleted, if my blood sugar is low, if I’m lacking sleep and running on empty. Now if that isn’t proof of the connection, what is?
  • Out with the old. Yes, I mean get rid of all the clothes that don’t serve you. If it makes you feel bad, get rid of it. I realized I was hanging on to clothes that I thought one day might fit, again. But I found myself asking if I could fit into them, would I even wear them? The answer most times was, no. Buh-bye hundreds of dollars of 7 for Mankind jeans. You weren’t that comfortable to begin with and hello Madewell (or hell, my $17 Old Navy) jeans that make me feel like a million dollars (not sponsored;).
  • Our bodies change. Ahem. Aging is legit. Sure there are 40, 50 and 60 year olds that look 20 years younger than they are. I believe they are bionic. Kidding. But, seriously. Curves are cool. The reason I may never fit into the jeans that someone else is enjoying now is that I have curves and frankly, as I continue to work on my strength and toning, I want those curves to stick around.
  • You see what you want to see. Ponder on that. You know full well that when your bestie grimaces and pleads for you not to post a photo all the while you want to shake her because she looks amazing (and may I say, vice versa), that we see what we want to see. So, please for the love of all that is good… let’s start seeing our beauty.

What this doesn’t mean is being complacent in ways that aren’t beneficial. There’s so much power in having goals, striving for stronger, better and more balanced. But let’s do it with more softness, kindness and appreciation for the individuals we are. Social media is flooded with images that can have us feeling like we’re NEVER good enough. We want you to know, you are good enough. Period.