When I first started running, other runners and people in the gym intimidated me. I was no where near as fit or as thin as they were and I assumed that they were all judging me. I was fat and out of shape. I was miserable in my own skin and I failed to see my own beauty.
I’ve struggled with body image, as I’m sure most women in our society have, for much of my life. I’ve been thin and I’ve been fat. I’ve battled anorexia and bulimia and compulsive over eating. My mind has been a battlefield for many years. So when I decided to start running, I wasn’t really sure why I wanted to do it. My initial motivation was not to get healthier ans start a better lifestyle. But when I first started running, I found freedom. I found dedication and determination. I found that I had a stronger power inside of me than I ever knew. Running opened up a new world to me. I was still insecure and self-conscious of my body and I would run or go to the gym early in the morning or late at night so that I no one would see me. I was terrified of the judgement of others…until I was willing to accept who God said I was, I wouldn’t be able to step out of that fear.
The more I ran, the more I saw who I really was. No, I wasn’t super thin. No, I wasn’t ultra fit. But I was, and I am, beautiful. I’m beautiful because I am loved by God. I’m beautiful because I love others. I’m beautiful because I am determined. I’m beautiful because I am kind. I’m beautiful because I refuse to give up. I’m beautiful because I am me.
Song of Solomon 4:7 – You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! You are already beautiful. If you can’t see your beauty now, you won’t see it after losing 10, 20, 60, or 100 pounds. Your beauty comes from your heart. Yes, you may want to lose weight to be healthier or feel better about yourself or whatever your reasons may be….but just know, that losing weight or getting fit will not make you beautiful. You are already beautiful.
I got this letter in an e-mail yesterday. I do not know who the original author is, but this is so beautifully written that I had to share it. This is for the “fat girl” in me who was afraid of everyone else in the fitness world. This is for the new runner. This is for the new athlete. This is for the “fat girl” who just wants to better her life. This is for anyone who thinks that they are being judged by those who are more “in shape” than they are.
You are my inspiration. Even now, when I get “stuck” and can’t find motivation some days, I look at you and you inspire me to keep going.
The letter from my e-mail:
“Hey, Fat Girl.
Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe.
You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you.
You are awesome.
If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others.
You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.
You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.
You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.
I bow to you.”