The Power of Running in a Sports Bra
Nine years ago, I was at my heaviest weight and incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. I wore clothes that didn’t fit correctly, and as a result were less than flattering (a lesson that is true for women of any size, to be clear). I was that person who would wear jeans in the middle of summer because I hated how fat my legs were. Apparently, I thought I thus had magic jeans that hid the fat. I was jealous of women who had the confidence to wear tank tops and shorts, and cute dresses. Could I have worn them? Absolutely. But, I didn’t think I could.
One of the best things that came with losing weight was gaining self-confidence. Weight loss is not a panacea, and in many ways, it comes with its own set of insecurities. Neither do weight and self-confidence have a linear correlation. But, in my own journey, losing weight was a crucial step in feeling confident in happy both in my own skin and with the woman I am today.
Still, one thing I never thought I could do would be to run in just a sports bra. Sure, I was envious of and inspired by the women that did, but me? No, I couldn’t do that. I still have weight to lose and muscle to tone and so on. I may be more confident than I was 70 pounds ago, but like I said, weight loss is not a panacea. There are still insecurities that run wild.
A couple weeks ago, after seeing inspiration from Ashley and Bonnie on Instagram, combined with one of the hottest days yet this summer, I decided to go for it. I had a 3-mile run planned and I decided I had nothing to lose. Just days prior, I wore a bikini to the beach, so it was really just a mental roadblocks topping me from this. I don’t have the “perfect” body, but what does that even mean? I have a body that I’ve worked damn hard for and that allows me to do the things I love, like running. So, I decided to embrace and celebrate it! I threw on my shorts, a sports bra, and running shoes, and headed out the door.
Initially, it did feel weird and uncomfortable, but that passed after about two minutes. Once I got into my groove, it feel incredibly freeing. These layers of insecurities about myself just peeled off. Before setting off, I was worried what people would think, but very quickly decided that any passerby that were judgmental had their own issues to deal with. Judge away because I don’t give a shit anymore.
While I felt so unbelievably empowered that day, the more important thing has been the days and weeks that followed. Having the confidence to go out on that run has, most days, changed my mindset and approach to my healthy habits. I’m finding it increasingly easier to say no to the treats because they don’t always make me feel my best. I don’t have to eat something just because it’s available. I’m slowing down and savoring my food, and stopping when I’m full. I’m craving the foods and activities and attitudes that make me feel amazing, inside and out. More than ever before, I’m finding a better balance in my health and happiness. Sometimes, I choose the (proverbial) ice cream. But, for the first time in my life, I’m finding the strength to turn it down and be completely content with that decision.
Again, it seemed like such a small decision at the time, but that one day felt like a true game changer in my story. I’m working harder towards my fitness goals because I’m in the best place, mentally, I’ve ever been on this journey. Before, it was honestly just about the number on the scale. Sure, that’s still a part of it, but it’s no longer the whole story. I want muscles to show for my hard work and clothes that fit a little better. As a runner, I want increased speed and endurance. As a yogini, I want take my practice deeper and continue to take on poses that once seemed impossible.
This summer, I stripped down to my sports bra for a run. That seemingly insignificant decision has proven more powerful than I ever could have anticipated. I knocked down a wall that was standing in the way of so much. I’m not turning around to rebuild that castle.
So, my challenge to you is to take off that layer that’s holding you back, be it something tangible like a piece of clothing, or something more internal, like a nagging self-doubt. Find a way to channel that into something positive for yourself.