A year ago right about this time, I had just embarked on my “cut” to lean down to compete in my first bodybuilding competition. I was nervous because I’d never been that lean, but excited at the same time to get leaner than I’d ever been! I remember hoping I would stay more lean than I was before competitions. That didn’t happen, but that’s another story that involves SIBO and food intolerances. What has been on my mind is how hard it is to let go of a certain body image.

We’re all on social media and are bombarded with images all the time. I’ve stopped following people or groups that are focused solely on body image. But even fitness groups that focus on teaching proper form and strength seem to project body-image messages. They send out messages like, “If you work hard enough, eat right, rest right (do what they do), then you’ll have a body like them.” This simply does not work. We are all physiologically SO different and have unique body types. We shouldn’t put so much pressure on ourselves to look a certain way or like a certain person. We should instead focus on creating a better version of ourselves, as it will bring us more satisfaction and personal accomplishment. Unfortunately, like “mom guilt” many of us women feel, society has convinced us that “a better version of ourselves” isn’t good enough.

Sadly, this is easier said than done. I wish it was easier to be kinder to ourselves. Even during this difficult time of my life where I have been struggling with SIBO, which has left me at risk of gaining weight and made it nearly impossible to lose weight, I punish myself. I wish I had some fantastic advice on how to stop this mindset. But for me, all I know is to try every day to be kind to myself, patient, and show gratitude for the things I DO have. I try to distract myself with what I should be focusing on, which is my family, being outdoors, and appreciating this beautiful world we live in.

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