For some, killer transformation photos are the reason they do this whole fitness thing in the first place.
Scan any #TransformationTuesday hashtag and you’ll see a common theme: Phrases like “I can’t believe I allowed myself to be that big” or “I feel so disgusted looking at the left photo” echo like a comedic soundboard as you scroll through endless left-right comparisons.
There is undoubtedly a lot of work and dedication that go into any transformation photo – no matter how small the changes are. However, what’s problematic is the self-deprecating talk. This isn’t a contest for how many euphemisms for fat you can string together in a single Instagram caption. Embracing fitness and fitting an active lifestyle into your routine should improve you. Making everything about the tangible results isn’t the point.
For me, fitness quite literally saved my life. I found purpose and found my sport – something my nine year-old wheezing, soccer-playing self wouldn’t have ever dreamt of. In my 20’s and after a bad break up, I found an outlet for my sad energy. Instead of letting inferiority and heartbreak stew and simmer deep inside of me, physically pushing, running, or stomping it out gave me a sense of control over my emotions I didn’t have before. My initial goals were transformational in nature, but today, I am much more appreciative of the confidence and drive fitness and gym-going have given me. It’s a priceless gift that I encourage everyone embarking on a fitness journey to find for themselves – whatever your “fitness” is.
That gift is precisely the reason why you shouldn’t discount that girl/guy on the left. You gave yourself that gift in the moment you decided to make a change. As much as it hurts to look at your left hand-self, that’s still you in that photo. I admire Left-Me for taking the steps (baby-sized and giant) towards where I am today. I went from a predominantly sedentary lifestyle of work, home, study, repeat to fitting in activity where I could, and finally to committing to a sport I love. I admire the strength (both the figurative and literal kind) it took for Before-Me to get where I am today. I respect myself, present and past, for all of the progress and decisions made thus far.
Don’t get hung up on the “I wishes” of life. Many times I have scolded myself for not incorporating working out earlier in my life, but what matters is that I’m here today and thoroughly enjoying my fitness routine. It’s never too late to start something new – whether it’s fitness, a new book, or learning opportunity. Focus on the You that exists, lives, breathes in this moment and not on your unchangeable past.