Be the best version of you

I think it’s a natural thing for us to compare ourselves to other people, compare the money, compare the looks, compare the relationship, compare the education, compare the body, compare the diet. But why? We are all made up of different genetic combinations, we’re not all supposed to be doing and looking the same.

I’ve told you I’m easy to influence, and that I’ve taken my precautions to avoid falling into a pattern of destructive thoughts, but I still notice how easily affected I can become by little things. In the gym, see a girl doing supersets of chin-ups (my ultimate goal in life…. almost) and pushups, get pissed because I can’t do the same, and decide to give it a try. The result? Complete failure and an arm and a wrist in pain. The same story has happened with the squat rack, the treadmill, the hip-thrusts, the shoulder-presses. I’ve hopefully learnt now.

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I’m not saying we should instantly be satisfied with the level we are at, because there is always room for improvement, but I’m saying we should get there in our own time. I’ve learnt the hard way, trying to dead-lift an obscene amount of weight by myself in the gym, instead of slowly working my way there. Up until July I’d only ever done one complete pushup in my life, now I’m able to do 12×3 sets, and it burns. When I finish those three sets, I’ve given it my all. I’m slowly decreasing the weights on the assisted chin-up machine, in other words – I’m closer to be doing one single chin-up with my own bodyweight. I will get there, I just happen to have bumped into about three hundred obstacles on my way because I’ve not listened to the advice I’ve been given by professionals, or the signals my body has been giving me.

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I like the idea of being better versions of ourselves. Not better than our best friend, not better than the chick on the cover of the magazine, not better than the bloody fit girls in the gym. We can look at them for inspiration, but we’re all different and maybe we are better at something that they completely fail at. It is also a lot more fun working out, eating clean and working towards a goal like chin-ups, a six-pack or the feeling of a healthy body, than saying “I will lose x amount of weight in 4 months”, because trust me, that’ll just make you slightly depressed.

Either way, I’m finally back at the stage where I can do hip-thrusts properly again, and I had another personal best yesterday of 75kg. I still remember looking at those girls on Instagram doing 50kg about 6 months ago, not understanding how the hell they managed moving that much weight with their legs and ass, whilst I was struggling with my 17kg, but now I’m moving my old bodyweight. A whole person!

Yesterday was also my cheat-day and I enjoyed mountains of chocolate, and woke up with a mouth as dry as a desert this morning. We were meant to go for fro-yo’s yesterday too, but some silly Norwegian was trying to make peanut butter on her own, and decided to put her finger in the blender, so we ended up hanging out at the emergency room instead. Life in Melbourne.

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Got fro-yo today instead, and guess what guys, they had three flavours sweetened with stevia instead of sugar! Now, that doesn’t mean we should be eating it everyday, but every once in a while, the treat is great (ignoring that I’m not supposed to have dairy). If you top it with berries and nuts that is, not chocolate and cookies like a certain housemate did.

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Speaking of becoming a better version of myself, I am terrible at budgeting and have been dodging my account for the past two months. Line forced me to check it yesterday, and let’s just say that.. my lunch won’t be looking like this in the future.

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My dinners still will though. It is of course fully possible to eat healthy and work out on a budget (story of my life the last three months of every damn semester), and I’ll tell you how; prioritizing what you spend your money on. Don’t buy that chocolate, don’t buy that coke, don’t buy that special offer of ‘buy 3 pay for 2’ of the chips. Buy the real food that your body is in need of. Dodge everything else.

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For you or for others?

Self-esteem. A girly thing. I think that most girls, at some point, go through some kind of an eating disorder. Not necessarily a severe one and not necessarily one that is making them sick, but the brain is twisted and can be evil. In fact, I find it interesting that the brain can do that to itself, that it can change what you see it the mirror into something bad, and make you harm your own body.

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We all find ways of coping with things, some better than the other. I have always misliked my legs, I never wanted to wear tight tops, my lips were uneven. I would be so disappointed if I didn’t get top grades in school. You know, typical girl stuff. I’ve had dermal fillers in my face, I’ve been to the gym too much and not eaten enough, I’ve obsessed about that number on the scale. But it’s not the right way of handling things.

I don’t know if it is the fact that I’ve grown older or the fact that I have changed my way of looking at things, but one thing is certain, I am so much more happy with myself. I don’t need the super-duper grades every time, I don’t die going out for drinks (okay I do, but that’s the following day), I walk around without makeup more than I do with makeup, the cake I baked and ate for Line’s birthday didn’t make me fat, my face is free of dermal fillers and I don’t mind wearing a tight dress (though finding jeans is still hell – jeez how hard can it be to make jeans that fit both around the waist, bum and are long enough?!).

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I’m very easy to influence, therefore I avoid pages with seemingly perfect girls, I don’t follow people on Instagram making me wish I looked like them. Instead, I follow motivational people, people who will lift me higher instead of putting me down. People with inspiring food and great workouts (and Justin Bieber, but that’s a different story). IMG_3351

Working out and eating clean has become my lifestyle, but also my therapy. It makes me happy. I wouldn’t be investing that much time in it if I didn’t gain any benefits. You shouldn’t be working out to impress others, you shouldn’t be doing it because you want somebody to find you attractive – that all comes naturally anyway, somebody once told me that a confident girl is the hottest thing there is. Didn’t believe them then, but I do now. I am so proud of my body, so happy to see what it is capable of doing (yeah yeah, I still can’t touch the floor), and when I for some reason don’t want to leave the couch, I remind myself that there are people out there wishing that they could run, wishing that they could exercise. We are doing ourselves a favor by investing in our health.

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A fellow Norwegian and I were discussing it over dinner the other day, we don’t go to the gym to look good in the gym, we go to look good after. We do, after all, live in a fairly superficial world and I don’t mind that my legs have toned up and that I’m finally starting to see a slight hint of muscle on my stick-thin arms. You’ve probably seen those girls wearing a mask of makeup, barely touching weights in the gym? And then you’ve seen that red-faced girl drowning in sweat whilst singing to her music – yep, that’s me, the catch of the day.

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We are only human, it is okay to make mistakes, we don’t wake up with amazing hair and perfectly polished skin every morning. We don’t always want to work out or do our assignments. We eat that chocolate bar, enjoy it – and go back to being healthy the next meal. We take two steps back, but then one forward again. The key to success is persistence. Listen to your body, find what works for you. Do what makes you happy.