This is the first in our upcoming series of guest posts by Fit Thrive and Get Glutes Members. Keeley Novotny is our Community Ambassador and a dear friend of mine. I've enjoyed watching her grow in strength over the past two years and this deep reflection of self-growth is the perfect display of the grace Keeley lives with in everyday life.
By Keeley Novotny
Why do so many strong, fit and healthy women feel so vulnerable about our self-assessed "flaws"? The strength and physique-building journey can be a fascinating and empowering adventure into self-awareness. Whether it is the number on the scale, or a perceived "fat" area, unrealistic expectations of what our bodies can and should look like is surprisingly prevalent.
Or perhaps it is not so surprising after all. We find images of perfection and stunning transformations all around us. If we follow this diet, or that exercise program, we can have these results, too. Many of us joined Get Glutes with these goals in mind. While progress photos and success stories are inspiring and motivating, they may not be completely realistic for ourselves- and truthfully they are many times not a realistic daily look for the model, either. Lighting and posing make an enormous difference to our appearance, as does the "time of the month" with hormonal changes, and even whether we have consumed more sodium or carbohydrates than usual. It is perfectly normal for bodyweight to fluctuate more than 5 pounds. And even under otherwise ideal circumstances, our genetics affect our personal physique-molding efforts. Proper nutrition for your goals will get you lean, and strength training will give you shape, but these cannot influence your unique fat distribution and underlying bone structure.
Personally, I spent far too long focusing on what I dislike about my body. With all the amazing gains I made in the gym, I let one particular body part discourage me instead. I went through multiple freakouts (and reassurances from my amazing Get Glutes community friends!), I lost enough body fat to disrupt my hormones, yet my thighs stubbornly refused to shrink. At last I realized this is not what I want for myself.
Not how I want to spend my energy, not healthy, and then my stunningly obvious revelation- no one else in the entire world cares if my thighs are jiggly. How wonderful is that? I've learned along the way that many very fit and fantastic-looking women do exactly this same thing to themselves and their self-worth. We pick on things about ourselves that we wouldn't even notice on another woman. Usually this is the belly area or the hips, thighs, and rear, where many of us store necessary body fat naturally.
So how do you love your strong, healthy, yet still "imperfect" body? The answer lies in a different, more personal kind of inspiration. One that is never disappointing, because it is completely in your control. Discover what your body loves to do, and spend regular time doing it. Simple, yet so powerful. Your entire perspective changes when you focus on what you can DO, what feels good, what makes you happy, setting and shredding new goals. Perhaps it is one particular lift. Perhaps even something outside the gym. Something that excites and motivates you to train or play.
It takes time and practice to learn to appreciate your amazing body, and this mind training is just as important as the physical. When you look in the mirror, search for your strengths. Find new reasons to admire it- perspective truly changes everything. Although I still notice my "trouble spots", I can now roll my eyes at them and move on. I choose to focus instead on the sculpted arms, shoulders, and obliques I have built through my training, and the skills I continue to learn. Remember that though it might be cliché, comparison truly is the thief of joy. There will always be someone stronger than you, with the body type you desire, with energy to spare, whatever it is we wish for ourselves- and realize she very likely has insecurities of her own that you can't possibly imagine.
And last but not least- this is a process for a lifetime! Give yourself compassion when you are feeling down, understanding that we all have those days. Hormones can be nothing short of evil! PMS-time can make even the most confident woman feel like a bloated whale. In my mid-forties now, it is also abundantly clear that we are all aging by the day, and our bodies will continue to change over time. If we value it only for our youth and perkiness, we will spend very much time sorely disappointed. But if we admire and value what our bodies allow us to DO, and the goals we are able to meet, we have immeasurable joy for what truly matters.