GASP! I’M HAPPIER WITHOUT MY ABS
You’re probably thinking… “But Bree, you had abs!!!!! What do you mean you’re happier without abs? They didn’t make you happy? You’re nuts, I’d be happy if I had them.” I totally get it.
Honestly, if you said that to me a few years ago I wouldn’t believe it either.
The truth is, abs were what I wanted my whole life. I worked my BUTT off to get them and it, for sure, didn’t come easy. I dieted like crazy and worked out hard at least 5 days a week. It was complete madness, and I wouldn’t wish that kind of pressure on anyone. And really what was all that work for? It really didn’t change anything for me besides my weight. Trust me, abs aren’t some magic pill for confidence, beauty, or success. Whatever you think before you have abs, you’ll think after you get them.
I lost 35 pounds to get my abs.
I went from about 145 pounds to 106 at my lowest. That was the most drastic transformation I’ve ever gone through, and it wasn’t healthy. This, my friends, was what I later realized was my experience with an eating disorder. I was counting calories and macros, comparing my body to everyone on social media, and beating myself down every chance I got. Even at my lowest weight with abs clearly showing, I wasn’t good enough. At this point, it’s no surprise that I’d be happier without abs.
I WAS SO AFRAID TO LOSE MY ABS
I know abs are a highly valued body part among young women (or any women) for that matter. They’re like a badge of honor; they’re a “trophy” for dedication, hard work, and perseverance. They’re so valued in the health and fitness industry that too many of us find ourselves going crazy at the gym in order to feel better about our bodies. But why do we do that to ourselves? We torture our mind and body just to look a certain way. We think we need to change in order to be happy, but it’s not true. I think we need some new inspiration if you ask me.
But the fear held me back from happiness.
In my head, I was no longer good enough the way I used to be. I stopped accepting my body the way it looked without abs. I saw old pictures and I hated them. That’s when I started being afraid of losing the abs I worked so hard for. I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough without them, and that fear was debilitating. I became obsessed with them and it took so much of my focus. But the weight loss was too much for my body, and something had to give.
I LEARNED TO LOVE MY BODY
What I was doing wasn’t sustainable, and my body knew it. I couldn’t keep up my routine anymore and I started slowly giving up what I thought was all I ever wanted. I slowly stabilized my weight over this past year. I stopped hating my body, but honestly, it took longer than I thought. Old habits die hard they say, and yeah, I can totally agree with that… But it’s also absolutely worth it to fight those habits. I stopped hating my body because I decided it was time I loved it.
So to anyone that says you have to have abs to love your body, it’s not true. Don’t get so caught up in your “bikini body”. Start looking at your body as a whole, and not as one body part. You’re more than a 6-pack, whether you have one or not. I’m happier without abs because they weren’t right for me. If you can have them without sacrificing your sanity, awesome. But if you can’t, don’t let it be the reason you tear your body image and self-esteem apart.
5 REASONS I’M HAPPIER WITHOUT ABS
1. There was more time in the day.
Having abs takes so much of your time! I worked out at least 5 days a week and spent so much time thinking about my workouts and stressing over what I could and couldn’t eat. It was just plain ridiculous how much free time I started having when I stopped focusing all of my attention on my body image. I’m so much happier without abs, and I didn’t even know that was possible.
2. My reflection stopped being an obsession.
Yes, having abs made me so self-conscious of my body! Isn’t that crazy? I thought having abs would make me feel MORE confident and freer in my own body. To an extent, I guess it did in the beginning, but once the fear of losing them settled in, all I could do was stress over them.
3. It got easier to stop binge eating.
I struggled with binge eating and so many women struggle with this type of eating disorder; this is serious business. Trust me, focusing so much of my attention on my food and counting calories only made things worse. When I finally stopped focusing on my abs, it was so much easier to find the balance I needed to get binge eating under control.
4. I slept a million times better.
It’s crazy how much going to bed hungry and starving your body affects your sleep. I was so hyper-stressed from my crazy intense workouts that it made it so much harder to sleep. I would wake up exhausted because no matter what I did, I couldn’t sleep enough for my body to fully recover.
5. My relationships grew stronger.
This is honestly my favorite benefit of losing my abs. When I realized a healthy lifestyle was so much more than nutrition, everything changed. I cracked open my world to focus on more important things in my life, like the people I loved. After all, what are abs anyways if you don’t have time to spend your life with the people you love most?
TAKEAWAY: ABS DON’T MAKE YOU HAPPY
I cannot tell you how much happier I am after losing my abs – really! There’s a lot more to life than what’s under your t-shirt. If you have abs without struggling with your diet or lifestyle, then great. But if not… don’t let a 6-pack be the thing that tears apart your self-worth — there are so many more amazing things in life that don’t require abs 😉
Did you learn something today? You might be interested in finding Food Freedom! Using the 3 strategies in this food freedom ebook to learn how I healed my relationship with food. I’m sharing my best tips for healing your relationship with food (including lessons from my experience with orthorexia, binge eating, over-exercising, body image, weight gain, weight loss, and restrictive dieting). In this super special 30 day program, you’ll learn how to create a sustainable Food Freedom action plan that works for YOU.