Crossing that finish line forever changed the way I looked at my life—and my body. After all, the body that I disliked had just carried me 26.2 miles, a distance that had once seemed impossible.
If you struggle with poor self-image, running is a gift that can help you focus on all that is good about your body, while leaving the negative self-talk at home.
These insights will remind you that self-confidence and an overall positive view of your body is only a run away.
Memories are more important than measurements.1 of 10
At your funeral, your friends will not have conversations about the ups and downs of your bathroom scale. They will, however, recount that time you guys all went on a road trip together and decided, last-minute, to jump into a local 5K in the middle of an unexpected snow storm.
The takeaway? Don't waste time worrying about things that don't matter. Focus on making memories and living fully—and leave the body woes behind.
You are more than a number on the scale.2 of 10
When your friends offer up a post-race congratulations, they aren't congratulating you for the number on the scale that morning. They are impressed by your tenacity, your strength, your courage, your drive and your will to survive.
Always remember that your body is capable of so much more than shrinking.
Comparisons are worthless.3 of 10
It's been said that comparison is the thief of joy. It's also been said that running brings joy. In other words, don't let worrying about those extra five pounds, or how thin the woman running next to you is, steal the joy from your next run.
Running is about feeling good in your body, regardless of size. Don't let an obsession with weight steal the joy from running.
Life is inherently good.4 of 10
From the singing birds on a morning run to post-race sweaty hugs from friends, being alive is a beautiful thing. But if you spend your life obsessing over perceived flaws, you might miss out on some of the smallest, yet largest moments in life.
Your body should enhance how you feel about this world, not take away from it.
An off day is just an off day and nothing more.5 of 10
At times, your body image can feel like a roller coaster. One day you are feeling great, and the next day you can't stop thinking about how tight your jeans are. Runs can be the same way. The key is not to live in the negativity. If you don't feel great one day, whether on a run or about your body overall, you are not a failure and your body is not terrible.
It was simply an off day and nothing more.
If you are struggling, see it as just a day, a week or maybe even a month. It's not all of life. A good day is just around the corner, just like that elusive perfect run.
Your mind is your biggest enemy and your largest supporter.6 of 10
Beating yourself up internally doesn't improve self-esteem—it does the opposite. Once you accept that negative self-talk will only make you feel worse, it gets easier to ignore the little voice that says you aren't enough.
Train your mind to only speak positive things about your body. Practice this on runs when you may not feel great by repeating, "I am a strong, capable runner." Experiment with other mantras to see what works best for you.
I have control over how I feel.7 of 10
Running shows us that if we don't feel good in our own skin, we have the ability to change it. We can lace up our shoes, fuel our body with healthy foods, make sleep a priority and focus on joy.
In no time at all, we are one step closer to being a better version of ourselves, regardless of any outcome on the scale.
Fitness is a state of mind, not a body type.8 of 10
Show up to the starting line of a marathon, and you will see every body type under the sun. Running doesn't discriminate, and it doesn't judge. Anyone who runs has a runner's body. You don't have to look like a stereotypical fitness guru or an elite runner to enjoy and love the sport of running.
My body rocks.9 of 10
Don't pile on worries or add stress where it's not needed, especially when it comes to your body. Show your body love and that love will come back to you. Next time you are flying through a mile, feeling on top of the world, replace any concern about weight with the words, "My body rocks."