I'm not perfect. I'm a personal trainer and a sports and exercise nutrition coach but I don't have abs or a "perfect" fitness body. But it doesn't bother me. Why? Because it makes me, me. You don't need abs to be beautiful and whether if you're skinny, big boned or have wide hips, there are so many reasons to be thankful for who you are right at this very moment.
Here are six "imperfect" things I'm grateful for. I hope this inspires you to take pride and be thankful for exactly who you are.
1. I'm thankful for my stretchmarks.
I lost about forty pounds over eight months four years ago, and when I began the weight loss journey, I never thought my stretchmarks would stay with me. I've tried everything I could think of to remove them and wasted much money on oils that claimed to work. But they never left.
So early last year, I stopped trying to get rid of them. Instead, I embraced the marks as part of me. I mean, why change something you can't change? Now I think of them like beautiful, permanent art on my torso.
2. I'm thankful for failure.
The best thing about my weight loss was not the actual weight loss, but the weight I was never able to lose. Before I started changing my diet and lifestyle habits, I tried so many different things — shakes, slimming pills, weight loss teas and detoxes. While I don't doubt their effectiveness in helping you lose the weight quickly, they're not a lifelong solution. It took several failures, several quick weight losses followed by drastic weight gains for me to discover that the perfect equation to being healthy was a balance of food and exercise. It wasn't "fast," but it was effective.
3. I'm thankful for my thighs and muscular legs.
These are the thighs that don't look sexy in lettings, but they're the ones that keep me moving. These are the thighs that will never have a gap between them, but were there with me when I completed my first marathon. These are the thighs that can never fit into a pair of skinny jeans but are the ones that allow me to complete deep, low, powerful squats. I reckon that's a win, win and win.
4. I'm thankful for being my big-boned body.
Even if it means I can never be a Victoria's Secret model. It's okay to be big boned. It's okay not to be naturally skinny. Because what makes you you makes you beautiful and I will take that.
5. I'm thankful for the little belly sticking out of my abs.
Sometimes I think it should be all flat and muscular, but ultimately it's not important. I know I'm moving as much as I can to be active. I know I'm strengthening my core each time I deadlift, and while having abs is highly sought after in fitness magazines, I'm OK not looking like a fitness model.
6. I'm thankful that I am whole, healthy and my body works.
Society pressures us to do things beyond our limits to look perfect. We try so hard to be something else that we tend to forget to appreciate the fact that our bodies work. We have a chance every single day to move more and eat better, to not to succumb to what society wants us to be. Our body is an amazing system and we should be thankful for that.
Think about it: If you can't be thankful for your body now, how can you be thankful for it when you've reached whatever ideal of a "perfect body" you strive for?
Take a minute to write down all the things about yourself that you're thankful for. It may seem crazy, but there's more to life than worrying about when you'll look like that fitness model or hating yourself because everyone else seems to be more perfect than you. Look at yourself in the mirror and embrace what you see.
You are beautiful and you should know that. Always.
Photo courtesy of the author