2017: Learning to embrace the off-season body

As 2017 rolled around, I found myself sitting with my workout journal open, thinking about fitness goals for this upcoming year. I wrote down a few, but felt like something was still missing. Then when we went to the beach with my roomie and I felt a bit self-conscious in a bikini knowing I am nowhere near my top shape I had in the summer. My thighs feel jiggly and I definitely have a little love handle now. When I twist my upper body to pose, I can feel the little fat rolls on my side, and these things have been bothering a lot lately. Especially because I know I could have done something to avoid it – but I just couldn’t say no for the Hungarian treats my parents sent me that I missed so dearly or some delicacies my friends kindly shared with me.

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And then I started thinking… What would be the benefit of having a perfectly sculpted body at all times? Restricting myself completely and missing out on things just to have a very low body fat percentage? And actually – the way I look now is not that bad at all. No, it’s not perfect. Yes, it has been way better before. But it’s nothing tragic. Luckily, I still tried to keep my main meals healthy (or relatively healthy) and made sure to stick to my workout routine. I was consistent with going to the gym and to dragon boat practices and even had some sweaty cardio sessions for some damage control.

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So I realized: even though I feel like it’s a big difference between my current and my goal body, it is perfectly fine not to be shredded all year round. As long as it doesn’t get totally out of control, I should let myself enjoy the festivities and the treats that come with it. I should accept that it changes my body and should recognize that the not so shredded, off-season physique is just as beautiful as the perfectly toned summer shape.

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My roomie was incredible and helped me a lot to realize this. She always told me not to be too hard on myself and reminded me of the hard work I have been doing, thus keeping me motivated, but she also offered to shoot me at the beach. At first I thought we shouldn’t do a bikini shoot now, but in the end it helped my embrace and learn to love my current shape. The fuller, curvier, more feminine and softer shape. And looking at the pictures I realized ‘it’s not as bad as I originally thought’. My upper body actually looks pretty strong, which I love, my boobs got bigger again and you can still see some abs there.

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And this really just shows that a lot of times we are just way too hard on ourselves. We should take the time every now and then to stop for a minute, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It is important to be and stay healthy, but also to enjoy the little moments in life. Sit down and think about what your goals are and live accordingly. If your goal is to get in a bomb shape within the next few months, then be strong and say no to the treats, meal prep all the way and crush those goals. But if your goal at the time is just to stay or get strong with no pressure of looking perfect, and to just enjoy the time with family and friends, then don’t worry about it too much. Learn to love yourself and your body in all forms. Love it when you can see the results of months’ hard work in a sculpted, toned and shredded body – but also when you’re letting it breathe and rest a bit. Because no matter which phase you are at at the moment – you are beautiful. It is not a low body fat percentage that makes you beautiful. Remember that!

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