This Is Me: Exercise as Self-Care

I am brave, I am bruised

I am who I'm meant to be, this is me

Look out 'cause here I come

And I'm marching on to the beat I drum

I'm not scared to be seen

I make no apologies, this is me.

~ This is Me, Greatest Showman

If any of you have an elementary school kid, chances are that you know every word to every song on the Greatest Showman soundtrack.  Last summer, it played on repeat at our house. And, while I listened to the soundtrack <over and over again>, I don’t think I ever heard the words to this song until today.  

Today, I unwittingly signed up for a NINETY minute class at OrangeTheory.  When the perky twenty something hot bod instructor announced that we had NINETY minutes of work ahead of us, I almost left.  But, instead, I stayed (& SLAYED).

Three months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to finish a NINETY minute workout.  And, when this song came blasting through the speakers, it was just the pick me up I needed to make it through ‘til the end.  

I powered through that workout for ME - no one else.  I am excited to see how strong my body can be and all it can accomplish in its optimal form.  This mindset a BIG deal for me.

See, I have a really complicated relationship with my weight.  At an early age, I was explicitly taught that thin = beautiful.  My grandmother paid me $5/ pound to lose weight in sixth grade. And, my mom - who is stunningly beautiful and was a Pepsi model - constantly told me growing up that I’d have more friends and be happier if I just lost a little weight.  And, y’all, no blame here because these women honestly believed that they were giving me some really solid advice.

But, I took their advice a little too literally and suffered through anorexia and bulimia for all my teenage years.  

And, when I finally came out the other side, I had some really warped body image issues. Even though I was no longer starving myself, I had internalized the message that men only fall in love with thin women and that you are more successful, more sought-after, and more confident the thinner you are.  My sense of self-worth was all bound up with my weight and the worth I had in the eyes of others.

I was really ashamed when I gained FIFTY POUNDS in the 15 months between my wedding and the birth of my son.  

The weight never came off. No matter how much I exercised, no matter how little I ate - the weight stuck with me.  And, after ten years of carrying this extra fifty pounds around the world, I can sincerely say that I am grateful for the weight.  

I now know in my bones that all the stories I told myself about weight are FALSE.

My husband loves me and desires me as much at 210 pounds as he did at 170 pounds.  I have more friends than I’ve ever had in my life - real, genuine, authentic relationships with incredible women who could care less how much I weigh. I have achieved great professional success.  I am a loving mother to two children who adore me. And, I am more confident than I’ve ever been - confident enough to walk away from the career I’d built to start a new business from the ground up.  

I have been given this one body.  That’s it. And, it carries me through this world beautifully.  

I regret all the time I’ve wasted beating myself up because of what it can’t do.  I am sad for how much shame I’ve felt over the shape and form of my body. I regret all the time I’ve wasted focusing on losing weight instead of gaining strength.  Y’all, who cares what anyone else thinks about you. I don’t know if the size 2 ballerina in my class was staring at me because I was the largest person in the class or because I killed it out there.  It doesn’t matter - she doesn’t define my worth.

Today, I earned 40 splat points and I did it in THIS 210 pound body.  I’m not scared to be seen. I make no apologies - this is me.

Remember, anything or anyone who doesn’t LIGHT YOU UP is too small for you!!

xoxo,

Sarah-Nell Walsh

Wayfinders, LLC
Career Coach & Strategist