Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finding Yoda and Calling in Reinforcements (Part 2 of FAQ)

Disclaimer - This question is AWESOME. These are the types of conversations that keep us normal, human, and humble.

Yesterday, I had a question that begs a blog all its own to answer, and it's something I'd been wanting to talk about for a while now. So here goes nothing!

Question: "I don't feel like the "fat girl" that I see in those photos or reflection. I feel so much better than that. Somehow it mentally does a number on me. Do you have any advice about how to handle this?"

So here is my advice: Find Yoda!

Wait... that's not Yoda... That's Stitch...
Seriously though -

*Choose what you believe about yourself and surround yourself with people who believe the same things. Call in reinforcements.*

If you don't feel like the "fat girl" in the mirror or in those photos -than you're not! It's totally acceptable (even encouraged) to marvel in that for a while and find people who understand and celebrate the same thing. Self-acceptance is probably one of the single most beautiful gifts we can give ourselves - and yet one of the hardest. I am my own worst critic. I think most of us work that way. I expect more from myself. That level of impossible expectation made it easy for me to get discouraged. (If you asked My Sailor about my first 3 months of training, you'd hear some great stories about a woman who enjoyed it, felt like a bikini badass afterwards, but would be in near-tears  because the hard work in the gym didn't 'seem' to be showing to the rest of the world as much as she felt it should have. Yup... that was me...)

Luckily, along the way in life, we are confronted by people who see the world through unusual lenses.

Be on the look out for these people.  It's been my experience that they gravitate to the roles of teachers, coaches, or mentors in many professions.  They tend to see the world from a different angle. They'd rather problem solve than complain. You bring them a problem and they'll hear you out with a sympathetic ear and immediately help you find a solution to it. They won't do it for you. That's enabling dependency. But they'll be there every step of the way. That is the skill set called empowerment. They are usually fairly private people, but warm and caring once they crack that easy, genuine smile.
Andigirl - One of my personal 'yoda's.
 Effortlessly, they see the world a different way. They choose to believe that you are strong and capable of anything - even if you don't think you are. For these people, it's not just lip service. In fact, they may never use those words with you. Instead, they will do things in their own lives that prove they live this.  That scary f-word (failure) is their teacher. They believe there is something to learn from everyone. These people are usually neck deep in some form of self-enrichment and rarely satisfied with the 'status quo'. 
Yodas are hiding everywhere, in every age bracket
Listen to these people. They will not lie to you. Believe them. We all have a finite amount of time and emotional energy in this life. These people understand that - and they are choosing to spend some of that irreplaceable commodity on the real you. The 'you' that may not show up immediately on the surface. They see the sweat covered you that is making a funny face as you heave your way through a new feat of endurance. They are rooting you on. They understand you're a work in progress, and always will be. They are rewarded by the smile along the way and knowing they were there to witness your greatness. They see the slow growth and change when you have trouble seeing it. When you're doubting your progress, choose to believe these people. They would not waste their time and energy on a 'lost cause'. They are near you because they are confident you will get there. Believe them.
So many Yodas in this photo, it might as well have been taken in Degoba!
 It will take time and repetition to see yourself through their eyes, but don't be afraid to borrow their glasses from time to time. Strong people empower others.

And most of all - do it because you love it, and how it makes you feel. Everything else (fat loss, muscle gain, appearance changes, various feats of daring do, etc) is all bonus.
Once you believe them, you might find you have your own track to replay in your mind. If someone says something that resonates with me, I hang on to it and lock it away. When I find doubt creeping in, I pull that nugget out and put it on replay in my mind. Doubt soon becomes very quiet.
My Sailor and awesome reinforcement
My journey started with "Why isn't my body showing changes?" and has turned into "Wow! These weren't the changes I was expecting... where the heck did my boobs go?!" I felt I should be 'smaller', but truth be told, that's not my build. I was never made to be 'small'. I was made to be strong. The struggle has the same basis, but I rest assured that I'm doing what I need to do, and I have reinforcements I can call if I need a boost.  I'm discovering that my expectations were unrealistic when I started seriously training. I mean, I love Andigirl -she has an amazing bikini body and a strong spirit to boot! But I'm not built like her. I'm built like me. Does the outward 'me' reflect the inward 'me'? That's hard to say, but I accept that it's all one package.

As for those unrealistic expectations? I'm grateful for them. They got the ball rolling. The final destination? Well, there is likely always going to be some goal on the horizon. But that's the way the body (and life) changes - one step, squat, lunge, lift, and press at a time.

It's like learning to dance to a song you've never heard before each time you're challenged to embrace changes like these.

Next time you look in the mirror, or at a picture and feel, "That's not me. Is all this even worth it?" Answer yourself - outloud if you need to hear it. Or call, text, or message a trusty reinforcement. Believe what they have to say. They wouldn't waste their time on just anyone.

Keep at it, and eventually, you'll believe it.


  1. J, you are the perpetual "gift" that keeps on giving! I stand in awe of you!!!

  2. I have read this twice. The first time it brought tears to my eyes. The second time, it made me really think about who my 'Yodas" are. I love every word. Thanks for writing this.