body positivity

My Journey to Self-Love as a Runner

Can I get a little personal today? Some of you may know that I started this blog as a freshman in high school… at the age of 14, I knew I wanted to help empower women (men are welcome too!) on their fitness journey. Part of helping empower people is by helping them feel more confident which means learning to love yourself just the way you are. With that, today I wanted to share my personal journey to self-love as a runner.

I grew up running around a track, some of my biggest goals are running based. Running is a sport I’ve fallen in love with, but it’s been a rocky road with running. Even though I love my sport today, it wasn’t always so simple.

Despite growing up running, I wasn’t always thrilled about having a “runner’s body”. When I began to truly focus on improving in my sport, instead of focusing on improving my time, I could only focus on how my body looked. To me at that point, it didn’t matter that I could keep up with and beat others my age. It only mattered that I had larger quads and calves, strong arms, a defined back and core, but none of the other girls did. That for some unknown reason I was a distance runner with “thunder thighs”.

These thoughts weren’t limited to my early teenage years either; they were there up until I ran my first half-marathon just a few months ago – roughly 5ish years. It was at this point I was pushed athletically to limits I partially didn’t know existed. My entire life I was a 5,000-meter runner, with an occasional 10K thrown in, but it never occurred to me that it was because of my strong body, including my “thunder thighs” that I was able to quickly run these distances comfortably.

It’s been almost a year since my mentality of hating my muscular thighs, arms, back, etc switched to learning to love it. It’s because of my muscles that I can run.

My “thunder thighs” have helped finish numerous 5 and 10Ks and two half-marathons; plus running however many miles in each training cycle. Have pushed through however many 200, 400, 800m repeats. Lightly danced up a hill at the end of the race when you have nothing left in the tank. Somehow manage to keep pushing through even though your mind gave up a half mile ago.

I grew up not liking the way I looked because it wasn’t normal in my sport to look strong. Despite all distance runners being strong, it almost felt as though everyone else on the track could look strong but we couldn’t. The acceptance we see today is very new, but I’m glad that our sport is evolving. However, this acceptance goes beyond our sport. It’s becoming more prominent in other areas as well such as the fashion industry. A prime example is True & Co. who’s goal is to create bra’s that help women feel confident in their own skin.

Hopefully, with the evolution, our sport is going through, it will help give confidence to those young girls (or boys) coming up in our sport to love the way they are built even if it isn’t like their teammates. Despite the importance of that, I also hope it helps any of you out there whether you’ve grown up running or just picked it up a day ago, that no matter where you start you’re a runner. I see so many women constantly put themselves down in our sport.

Either because they have strong runner thighs, or because they “don’t look like a runner”. The beauty of our sport is the true diversity in it. I’ve toed the lines at many 5k, 10k, and a couple of half-marathons; I’d say 90% of the people there didn’t have what you would consider a “runner’s body”. It doesn’t matter how you look if you love running, yoga, powerlifting, whatever. Quit beating yourself down for not looking a certain way, learn to embrace your body.

Embrace it and learn to love it by understanding that without your “thunder thighs” you couldn’t properly perform in your sport. Without broad shoulders, keeping yourself balanced would be tougher. The list could go on, but you see the point I’m making. Your body is built the way it is because it adapts to the stress you put it under whether it be running, cross-country skiing, etc. I know it’s tough, but you can do it; you can learn to love your self just the way you are. Just takes looking at what you consider “flaws”, in a different light.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Keen To Lose Weight? Why It’s Time To Ignore Those Drop A Dress Size Ads

Have you put on a few pounds? Have you wanted to lose weight for ages? Are you unhappy with your size? Do you wish you felt more comfortable in your skin? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you may have searched online for dieting tips. What did you find? Probably hundreds of adverts and articles claiming to help you drop a dress size almost instantly. It’s a minefield out there. With so much information and such a vast range of products available, it can be tough to know what to believe. If you’re keen to lose weight, here’s why it’s time to ignore drop a dress size ads and focus on positive lifestyle changes.

Rapid Results Versus Sustainability

There may be times in life when you want to drop weight rapidly. You may be getting ready for a wedding or aiming to lose a few pounds before a summer holiday, for example. However, most of us want to get in shape and feel more confident in the long-term. A quick fix is excellent. But it’s unlikely to provide you with enduring happiness. The problem with fad diets and miracle cures is that they produce unsustainable results. You may drop 5 lb in a week. But what happens after weeks 2, 3 and 4? You’ll probably find that you plateau and then gain weight quickly once you get back to your regular eating habits. It’s much better to take a gradual approach. Take the tale of the tortoise and the hare into consideration. Be patient, and results that you can maintain will soon become apparent.

Health Considerations

There’s an assumption that if you’re slim, you must be healthy. This isn’t true. Just because you have a healthy BMI (body mass index), this doesn’t mean that you’re healthy on the inside. Dieting shouldn’t just be about success on the scales. It should also encourage you to put your health first. Many diets out there simply aren’t good for your body. They cut out food groups or restrict your calorie intake, which eliminates valuable nutrients from your diet. When you’re losing weight, make sure you’re eating the right foods.

Healthy eating can be a trigger for other beneficial lifestyle changes. It may urge you to consider other ways you can be healthier. You may feel ready to give up smoking, or become more interested in physical activity, for example.

It can be difficult to switch from old habits to a new way of life. One way of making the break is to complete something like a 30 Day Cleanse. Detoxing has become very popular, and it’s a means of cleansing your body from the inside. The aim is to rid your body of toxins and give your internal systems a metaphorical spring clean.

What’re Your Thoughts?

Weight loss is a battle for many people. Often, a quick fix is much more tempting than working hard in the gym and sticking to a diet for months on end. However hard it may seem, it’s essential to put your health first. Losing weight is not just about the number on the scales. It’s also about improving your health and wellbeing. Focus on clean living, get active and make sure what you’re eating has nutritional value.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Tackling Body Image Issues: How To Feel More Confident In Your Own Skin

Body image is one of the greatest concerns for young people today. People have long been worried about the way they look. But today, there’s more attention on image and appearance than ever before. You see digitally enhanced photographs all the time, and you can’t help but compare yourself to others and overanalyze your shots. If you’re struggling with low confidence, here are some ideas that may help you to feel more confident in your skin and increase your self-esteem.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Why the Scale is Your Enemy

When it comes to losing weight, a lot of us become obsessed with the number on the scale. Trust me, I get, I’ve been there. However, the number on the scale isn’t the most important, nor most reliable way to determine whether or not you’re getting close to reaching your fitness goals. Which is why today I’m talking about why the scale is your enemy.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Learning to Love Your Body

This is a topic that’s close to my heart. Which is learning to your body. I feel that in today’s world so many of us only ever focus on the negatives, instead of looking at the positives. So here’s my thoughts on learning to love your body.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Understanding Different Body Types

Yesterday I talked about why body-shaming needs to stop, and that leads up to today’s post which is understanding different body types. Not to be confused with body shapes, we’re not talking about hourglass and pear, but instead ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Why Body-Shaming Needs to Stop

Yesterday was the first day of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and per usual I’m posting every day this week. For this NEDA Week I’m focusing on body positivity, and so each post this week will in some way have to do with learning to love your body. The first post this year is all about why body-shaming needs to stop, and I’ve teamed up with Amy (recent guest post) for this post as well.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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