The ideal body image is portrayed in such a variety of different fashions that it can sometimes be overwhelming or confusing as to what being fit or healthy is supposed to “look” like. There’s no one size fits all or specific aesthetic look that can deem what is right for you because each of our bodies are unique and complex.

Often we gather information and build an image for what we want the result of our transformation to produce based on what we feel most connected to or aligned with and we can become attached to this image as what needs to be created in our bodies. But our bodies tend to respond on their own terms of needs.

The goals I have and have had for my body tied in with the training I do daily have always fallen in the realm of working on creating lean muscle mass while fueling my body properly to build more strength along with staying at a maintenance weight to provide easy access in cutting for competition. As elegant as that may sound, my body’s response has not always produced the results. If I’m being honest it has responded with results, but not the ones the fit the mold of what I wanted to have happen, still the results were there.

I spent a good portion in my training for higher level competitions fighting my body through cutting weight, with methods that worked but compromised my strength and were less than ideal or enjoyable. I forced my body to be at a weight that was short lived and temporary, and that I would not otherwise maintain typically. It formulated bad habits of malnutrition and being in a constant state of fighting my body on where it naturally wanted to be.

When I was finally let go of the attachment to needing to compete where I wanted my body to be I was able to shift into a better relationship of fueling my body. That being said with consistency through fueling my body with the proper caloric intake and naturally due to doing so I was able to train to the fullest extent of my capabilities my body has put on a lot of muscle mass. While that’s always what I’ve wanted to create in my body I can tell you that I still have to navigate through becoming comfortable with that. Putting on muscle mass has brought up thoughts of feeling bulky (which I don’t believe is negative thing) and those thoughts have caused me to be a little uncomfortable with my own body on occasion and I would have never predicted that producing the results I wanted would bring about that discomfort.

What I know and what you should know is this:

Forcing or fighting the body on what it want to do naturally never produces anything but resistance and discomfort, the body knows exactly what it needs to do and responds accordingly and you have to; too

There is nothing wrong or bad about having to navigate becoming comfortable with the responses the body produces when you shift into different nutritional habits and it’s normal to be uncomfortable sometimes while doing so.

The image we’ve often built our journey around is not always what our results produce, but that does not mean you are not achieving success; it means that we may need to let of what we’ve attached our success to looking like.

The most important thing to know is this: the ideal image or concept of what fit, healthy, strong, or beautiful is will never be produced by external results. It will show up in the nutritional habits you formulate, the healthy relationship you build with your body, and becoming comfortable in your own skin, even when it’s not the image you created.

Written by: Sarah Fredette