I hate my jiggly arm fat. I hate my wide shoulders. I hate my thunder thighs from years of professional sports. I hate that my six pack is forever hiding under layers of skin. Just like most people in this world, I have my insecurities, my doubts, my concerns, and working in a profession where your physical appearance is an important element, it just puts all those insecurities under a microscope.
I go to the gym at least 4 times a week, I try and eat healthy but my chocolate addiction sometimes gets in the way of that. Yet no matter what I do, or diet I try, or work out trend I kill myself at, I am forever a size 6.
A few days ago I was invited to partake in Spin in Your Skin. An event put on by Spokehaus spin studio and Knixwear in support of CAMH. For every woman that took part in this spin class, Knixwear would donate a sports bra to women who have been affected by abuse and mental illness. The catch, you had to spin in a sports bra and boy “shorts” and I use the term shorts very lightly.
I was a little nervous to say the least. I mean it is rare you will find a picture of me in a bathing suit at the beach let alone at a fitness class in downtown Toronto wearing just my underwear, but it was for a good cause and I love the Spokehaus classes so I decided to give it a try.
When we got there, we were given some bright body paint and told to write one word that we were hoping to get rid of this year, one word we would sweat off and out of our lives in this class. My word was self-doubt. For so many years I had doubted myself and my abilities. Doubted whether I was a good enough tennis player to get a scholarship, doubted if I was a good enough journalist to land a job. While I doubted myself, it seemed the world was showing me signs to stop all along since I did land a full NCAA division 1 scholarship, and since I work for a national sports league as a lead reporter. Today was the day that I was finally going to start believing in myself like the rest of the world already seemed to.
It was incredible to walk into the class with 30 other women, all with body paint, all with their words. A lot of “insecurities” written, and “fear” a few other “self-doubts” along with mine. Before the class started we had a very special guest of honour talk to us. Elly Mayday is a model and a public speaker. She isn’t your typical model, she has a full, beautiful figure. As she started to share her story, her voice started to break. Recalling the time, she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, and had to fight for her life. Recalling how it had come back and she had to battle this terrible disease again. Telling us that despite what she had gone through, she loves and embraces every scare, every imperfection. It was in this moment that I realized it is my imperfections that make me who I am, that make me unique, that make me perfect in my very own imperfect way so thank you Elly for that lesson.
The class was led by Melissa, who worked us hard for 45 minutes. Continuing to inspire us throughout the entire class, pushing me to peddle faster and work harder than I had ever worked before because I was strong and I was capable. When the class came to an end I looked down at my arm, and the word self-doubt was indeed gone, replaced by a messy paint circle of blues and purples.
As the class ended and I looked around at everyone it was an incredible realization. Everyone was a different shape, a different size, different fitness level, all one mission. To learn to accept themselves, appreciate themselves, and love themselves for exactly who they are. It was in that moment that I realized it was truly time to shed the self-doubt, not just in the form of the writing on my arm, but in how I feel about myself.
I realized it is ok to sneak a chocolate when it isn’t cheat day, do have a few extra pounds, to not have perfectly white teeth or curled hair. What is most important is that I am healthy, and take care of myself. That I am happy and honour myself. That I am loved, and that I love myself.
Life isn’t measured by the number on the scale, but rather by your experiences, your moments, your happiness. Life is measured by how loud you laugh, how big you smile, and how much you feel.
To think, it took just one simple spin class in my undies to realize this life lesson! You are beautiful, you are special, you are unique, you are loved and don’t you ever forget that