Depression runs in my family and knowing this has caused me to become more aware of my emotions and moods. When it comes to treatment, I really don’t like taking anti-depressants, but I have in the past. Aside from the chemicals, the biggest drawback for me is all the negative side effects that seem to come along with the better mood.
When I really started committing myself to a healthier eating lifestyle and fitness regime, I not only saw a clearer complexion (you are what you eat), but I felt true happiness!! I have every reason to absolutely love my life: I have an amazing husband and happy kids, but soon after moving back to Wisconsin from sunny Florida, the seasonal depression set back in. I had started running right before we moved back and continued it here in Wisconsin. The runner’s high and released endorphins seemed to keep the seasonal depression at bay, but then our first winter happened, and anyone who has ever lived through a Wisconsin winter knows how difficult it is to get motivated to run outside in sub-zero temperatures. Brr!
I knew I had to join a gym if I wanted to keep up running through the winter, and after a few rough “free-trial” months at different gyms, I got my first two-year gym membership that I actually stuck to. My son, Crew, was almost one year old at the time and he was (and still is!) a handful. I’ll be honest, the childcare that the gym offered really helped keep me going to the gym at first. Those 90 minutes were all mine to do whatever I could do within those gym walls.
Soon after I got back into a routine, I started feeling like myself again!! Getting healthy has made me a better wife, mom, and friend. In the last year I have even made a couple careers out of it!! I’m not saying I don’t have tough days, but I’m definitely able to brush myself off and get back up much faster.
I started posting my journey on social media from day one and soon created a professional account for myself as a means to inspire others. The more I posted, the more followers I’ve gotten, but with that also comes the opportunity for negative comments to trickle in. It wasn’t until recently that anything mean was posted, but the last comment I received really stuck with me. A woman posted a link in her comment under one of my photos. Curiously, I clicked on it and found an article claiming “if you have a social media account trying to motivate others to eat clean and exercise, you are in fact doing the opposite and body shaming.” Not only do I not agree with this statement, but it hurts to have someone take something that has been a source of happiness and a tool to combat depression in my life and turn it into something negative.
So, to that comment, I say this: If you feel body shame from a fitness account similar to mine, that not only shows results, but also shows how I am getting there, then you are focusing only on the “afters” and not the “durings” that I purposely post. So, why do I post about most of my workouts, and why could it also be beneficial to you?
- If you go to the gym, and don’t post about it on Facebook, it doesn’t count? (Just kidding!!)
- I use my social media feed to show progress for others but mostly myself. I can easily look back and see how far I’ve come (and then delete ALL the pictures out of my phone album to look less crazy!)
- The knowledge that there’s a chance someone is viewing my posts and they’re helping them push harder in their own workouts motivates me to keep going.
- Sometimes my motivation is even to prove people wrong; my competitive nature feeds off haters! Get your motivation where you can!
- Last but not least, honestly my biggest reason I post is to show how hard I work for it. THAT right there is why no one should feel shamed. My posts are literally showing HOW I’m getting there, and how you can too.
Forget taking the easy way out or the quick fixes. It’s time to take control. Exercise and nutrition are the basic principals that should be a part of your life. There are so many aspects of our lives that we cannot control, but what we CAN control is how we choose to fuel ourselves and make ourselves better every day.
Can you honestly say you’ve done everything you can to be the best version of you? Start now and make the rest of your life, the best of your life. I did.