I used to hate exercising. I only did it because I felt I had to keep up appearances. It wasn’t about me, my mental health, or my physical wellbeing. It was about the pressure I felt, even though I’m not really sure why I thought there was pressure or where it was coming from. Because I wasn’t exercising for myself, I wasn’t committed to health in any way and I internalized things I thought people would think of me. And I never saw results.
I hated the people who took gym selfies, who watched themselves in the mirrors. To me, they were already pretty and perfect. It felt like showing off. I hated the people who made me feel inadequate. Really, I hated them because I didn’t have the habits they did.
But that’s changed. When this hard season started, I didn’t have healthy habits to turn to. Going to the gym was just a painful reminder, so I stopped that. I was so depressed I didn’t want to eat. When my friend introduced me to her at-home fitness programs, I was skeptical, but I knew I wanted more. So, eventually, I dove in. Within 21 days, not only was I seeing physical results, but I noticed mental results. I was willingly picking up and learning healthy habits. I felt more confident. I actually wanted to exercise…for myself. When everything else in my life seemed out of control, this was something I could control.
Now, sweaty selfies mean something different to me. They show my physical progress—because, sure, I do look different after committing to fitness—but they also remind me of how far I’ve come. The girl who used to feel inadequate and be angry at all the “perfect” gym people is now a confident, happy woman who has a bit more empathy.
The sweaty selfies and exercise posts you see on my social media are there as reminders—to me and anyone watching—that life is a journey and we make progress every single day. Some days we managed to get out of bed. Some days we upped our weight more than we thought we could. Some days we feel we can take on the world. And some days we feel like we just can’t face the world. But the selfies are there to remind you that you will come out on the other side.
So if you’re standing in front of that gym mirror proud of how far you’ve come, don’t let fear of judgement keep you from taking that picture. Take that selfie and be proud. You deserve to remind yourself just how incredible you are.