I want to be totally open about my journey not to overshare or preach, but because I know that reading blogs/articles/motivating posts keep me going and inspired. It’s good to know that you aren’t alone. Since I started this blog about 2 months ago, I have experienced some serious changes. Some good, some bad, some easy and some terrifying. But changes none the less. The biggest change is that I have re-evaluated what fitness means to me. Is it a six pack and low body fat? Or is it a healthy, balanced and happy life? I used to equate fitness only to numbers, and that brought me nothing but stress. Eating only certain foods and having “off limit” foods brought me anxiety. I will always be a strong advocate for “fitness”, I love challenges, I love the way exercise makes me feel and I love the energy that it brings. I’m never going to give up an active lifestyle. An active lifestyle is good. The problem can be, like anything, too much of something is never good. I never realized how important it was to be mentally “fit” in order to be physically fit and healthy. Isn’t the whole goal of fitness to be healthy? So why do I feel like some of us can end up feeling the exact opposite? With so much pressure and our own ideas of what “perfect” is, we are forgetting to respect ourselves. From changing simple goals like “lose __ pounds or __% body fat” to “workout in a way that brings me enjoyment” I have been able to change my mindset. Whatever body type comes from a balance of health and exercise is a bonus, not the main focus. Your body will love you more when you listen to it and treat it right.


I want to respect myself, and I want you to respect yourself the way you would respect someone you love. After years of putting things in categories (good, bad, off limits, not enough) I lost part of my identity.  Things I used to love became lost and forgotten. Feelings, connections and the idea of acceptance were all so jumbled up, I didn’t even realize it. It’s almost like you get used to this “new normal”, that you forget what really living actually feels like. To let go of judgments of food, of yourself and what other people think of you is so liberating. 


The fear of the unknown is terrifying at first (what happens if I eat this cheeseburger and can’t workout?) but when you let go and trust yourself, you see that things you may have been scared of aren’t so bad. (Disclaimer: I had a cheeseburger *and fries* and didn’t workout…and nothing…nothing, happened. The world is still turning). That sounds so silly when there are serious problems happening in the world. But if you don’t pay attention to these little fears and pay attention to yourself, then it can bottle up into something terrible. And it might not even be about fitness for some- the fear of the unknown is scary in any situation. But you don’t grow or change or evolve unless you find out. Life is better than worrying about your fears, life is better when you are happy enough with yourself to be spontaneous and actually listen to what YOU WANT to do. Not what you think you should do. With finding confidence in yourself, you also find it much easier to confront or let go of any unnecessary issues/relationships. As long as you are happy with the person that YOU are, no one can take that away. 


And it’s not always as easy done as said. I know that. I know that no matter how much you look in the mirror or tell yourself you are enough, there will be days or moments that you don’t think so. And that’s human. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. But don’t give in to that feeling. Remember that when you are old, you want to have memories of feeling happy and alive. Be present in the moment. If people don’t understand, it doesn’t matter. You’ll never control someone else’s thoughts, but you can control yours. So keep strong, keep moving forward and stay connected without judgement. I’ll be right there with you.

Shelbye Schlange