Welcome back to another week of runs on espresso. I know I didn’t post last week, and I want to open with why. I have a lot of passions and things I want to do. And sometimes there isn’t enough time for everything. So, I was debating if I should even be doing a podcast. It’s a constant struggle to find time for everything I want to do and time for me to just relax. Instead of giving up on the podcast altogether, I have decided to go to an every other week schedule starting this month.

So for this week, I want to talk about weight, body fat, and body image. I feel like, as runners, these topics are often at the forefront of our minds. Maybe you started running to lose weight. Perhaps you struggle to gain muscle. If you hear the word “runner,” I’m sure you can pull up an image in your mind, and it’s probably someone tall and thin. But runners can and do come in all shapes and sizes.

And some of us struggle with body image.

Personally, I struggle. I am not happy with my current body weight and shape. I know what to do, but my execution is lacking most of the time. I know what I should eat. I know I should be moving each day. But guess what? Sometimes it’s hard. And sometimes, I give up. Mental health plays a big part for me. I can’t say it applies to everyone who struggles with body issues. Still, I’d guess a good portion of people has some depression or anxiety.

And the kicker with depression? It makes you feel more depressed when you don’t do what you should do, which keeps the cycle going, and you fall even deeper into the depression, and it’s harder to get back on track. But working out consistently and eating healthy helps my depression and keeps me out of the black hole. I know I need to stay on top of it all and not give in to it.

We must learn to love ourselves.

We can work on areas we aren’t happy with while still accepting and loving where we are now. But how do we do that? It’s hard to accept ourselves. We would never tell our BFF that they are fat or that their stomach looks big. Could you imagine? You would no longer have that BFF. Yet many of us look in the mirror after our shower and start picking ourselves apart. We put on pants and grab the muffin top in disgust.

Loving yourself is hard. It’s easy to be self-critical. It’s the path of least resistance. But this year, I encourage you to start learning to love yourself. Because you are worth it.

Somethings I’ve been working on is using a gratitude journal from Erin Condren. I am an affiliate, but this journal has been great. I’m on my second one. Each day has a prompt. Some people skip around and use the prompt that best fits that day, but I always use the one given. It forces me to really think about my day. After 30 days, there is a summary and look ahead section. Of course, there are a million different gratitude journals out there, or you could even use a regular notebook and write down what you are grateful for each day. For me, I find having a prompt works better. I’ve tried just writing, and I struggle.

If you don’t have a training journal, I would highly suggest starting one. You write down your training and what worked, what wins you had, and even your struggles. It is nice to look back and see that three weeks ago, my run felt super easy, especially when I have a terrible run. I know the bad run is the anomaly, not the good.

I’ve also found the more I move and the healthier I eat, the better I feel about myself.

I also know it’s not as easy as just saying love yourself and do these things! It takes work and time to change our mindsets. In the past year, I learned that there are different levels of what most of us call self-confidence. Each level has different reasons we struggle and various solutions. I won’t go into all the details here. If you want to learn more, go back and listen to Episode Four, The Brave Athlete. I touch on the concept there and then go read the book, The Brave Athlete. I cannot recommend this book enough.

And none of this works without being consistent. Personally, I think being consistent is hard, but once you get in the groove, it becomes second nature. I’m still trying to get consistent with journaling. I sometimes will write two or three days at a time because I forgot. I’m back on the wagon for logging food, and it really helps center me. I take a minute or two before I eat my meal to log it. And I log everything, even if I go over my goal.

I’ve also been running consistently for a while. I will say even this past summer, I was more consistent and on track. And I’m trying to get the consistency back in strength training. Even if I don’t lose weight, I can see changes when I look in the mirror. It helps to be consistent when you can see, or even feel, the difference. Sometimes I just feel healthier and happier, and it helps.

Let’s take a quick sponsor break.

Welcome back!

My word for 2021 is consistency. I know what to do, but I don’t always follow through with those things.

I have a love/hate relationship with my body. I do love how strong it is. I can do a lot of physical activity. I run and lift weights. But I also don’t like how much body fat I have. I hate putting on pants and having a muffin top. I hate how tight some of my shirts are. I hate how my thighs rub together, so I have to wear long shorts when I run.

I may not be able to change all those physical attributes, but I can work on them and my attitude towards them. As I said before, I know logging my food helps. Not only does it make me accountable, but it also helps me make healthier choices. When I’m logging, I definitely think more about the foods I’m putting into my body.

I also know strength training will help with the muffin top.

I run for my mental health, not just for exercise, and having a better state of mind helps my attitude towards myself. I find I’m much happier when I run most days of the week. In general, my thoughts tend to be more positive, which helps my happiness, anxiety, and depression.

I still want to lose weight.

I know many people think we shouldn’t make everything about weight loss, and I get it. But for me, it’s a goal I want to reach, but I don’t get obsessive with it. I was at my happy place about six or so years ago. I worked hard to get there. I was running and doing strength work plus logging my food consistently. I know I can do it again. I just need to focus, center myself, and BE CONSISTENT.

Consistency. Are you getting that theme yet?

So how did I get here? How did I gain all that weight back and struggle to take it off for six-plus years?

I got diagnosed with celiac disease and gave up gluten. It isn’t uncommon for people with celiac disease to gain weight when they go off gluten. The body starts to heal and absorbs nutrients again. I gained about 30 pounds in two months. There was also depression. It’s weird; gluten can cause depression when you are eating it, but then that goes away, but then you get depressed because you can’t eat gluten. Everything in life seems to revolve around food, mostly filled with gluten.

So I gained weight. Fast. And fell into a depression. I stopped working out. It’s been a trip since then. After a while, I was tired of being overweight and depressed, so I started running again. But then I got these weird vertigo symptoms while running, so I stopped. Then I got tired, again, of not running, figured out the issue, fixed it, and started again. I didn’t really focus on weight loss at first but just getting back to running. When I finally get back to everything and wanting to make a change, more shit. My dog died along the way, then my dad and my uncle in the span of about five months. I regained what I had finally started to lose again.

That was a little over two years ago. I’ve gone up and down since, but I finally feel ready to get my shit together and lose some weight. Even if I don’t lose much, I want to put the effort in to be healthier. I want to keep the anxiety at bay. I find being consistent in the good times helps to be more consistent in the bad. It’s definitely hard when shit comes up, and the depression takes over. If we can make all the good things habit, it’s easier to keep doing them when depression starts up.

I know the kicker with depression is it makes you feel more depressed when you don’t do what you should do, which keeps the cycle going. You fall even deeper into the depression, and it’s harder to get back on track. It’s hard to stay on track and give yourself grace. It’s a struggle. I also know that not everyone’s depression is the same, so working out and being consistent won’t help everyone. You know yourself best; please take care of yourself with the best treatment for you.

I’m sure we all have similar stories. I think we can all relate to the struggles to lose weight, workout as we should, and learn to love ourselves. We all have ups and downs when it comes to self-confidence or self-esteem, or loving our bodies.

We all deserve to love ourselves. Even if you still have those last ten pounds to lose, you are worthy.

And remember, we all slip up. We all have a bad day and do whatever bad habit we are trying to break. For me, that means eating far too much food. I don’t even punish myself for this anymore. I used to mentally degrade myself. Tell myself how bad that was, which often lead to me to eating more. It was a destructive cycle to get stuck in. Instead, now I acknowledge I ate a lot and move on. Sometimes I even log my binges. Realizing it takes its power away. At least for me.

So just remind yourself, we all have setbacks. We fall down. But what matters is what we do in response. We get back up, we dust ourselves off, and we keep moving forward. We got this.

What is your story? How have you learned to love yourself? What do you do every day that makes you feel happier? Please let me know; we can always learn from each other! You can leave a message at anchor.fm/runsonespresso, email me at jenna@runsonespresso.com or find me on social media. Instagram is runs_on_espresso, and Twitter is runsonespresso. I look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time, may your runs be as strong as your coffee.

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Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Jenna

Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.