I was inspired this week listening to a podcast with yogi girl Kathryn Budig. She was talking about how she likes her yoga classes to focus more on how their bodies feel rather than how they look. This got me thinking, if we all lived this way, how different would our self-esteem be?! If we had never been exposed to a mirror, or any reflective surface to see ourselves, would we have the negative self talk that we do?
I've come to realize how much I love teaching outdoor fitness classes. I think that a big part of why they are so fun is that there aren't any mirrors. People aren't in class checking themselves out the whole time, or looking at how they compare to the people around them. The participants are more focused on the workout. Nobody is there dressed to impress. It's a fun and uplifting environment.
So much of the fitness industry is so focused on looks, and the sexiness of it all. Girls are posing practically naked showing off what a healthy body should look like to the world, and thats what we're supposed to look like. I would be lying if I said I didn't care about looking good. Its definitely part of why I workout the way I do & eat the way I do. But another huge part of it is how awesome it makes me feel! I have energy and I'm capable of so much more when I feel good and take care of my body. The confidence it gives me helps me be a better friend, coach, wife, daughter, you name it! I don't like the way I FEEL when I don't workout. I'm more cranky and irritable, and I'm less productive in my day.
My favorite part about this mindset is that feeling good & being healthy can look so different on different people. Someone can look skinny and flawless on the outside but on the inside they're sick & seriously craving some carbs. Someone else can be carrying around what may look like some extra pounds, but she could beat anyone up the mountain and feel great while doing it. What I'm saying is there's not a perfect body type. I think that we each have a unique body shape and size that we feel our best and most confident with, but it's most likely very different from our neighbors healthy size. Some women feel awesome with a muscly physique, while other women feel their best when they're more petite and "lady like". Some women have curves, some women are more straight. I think it's important for each of us to remember that we all have our own preferences and confident zones, but that doesn't mean we should push that on someone else or judge others if they don't fit into that mold. The fitness industry portrays the "perfect body" on all the magazine adds and instagram feeds, but that does not mean its the healthiest look for everyone. A lot of those models go through weeks of craziness to get their bodies cover model ready. But the other 350 days of the year they don't look like that. A lot of my videos that I post on instagram are in the morning, after I've been working out, so my stomachs going to be leaner than if I posted a video right after a meal. Our bodies are meant to adjust and fluctuate a little, no body is perfect 24/7. My hope is that by pointing this out, we can all feel a little more confident in our own skin and focus on the shape and size that YOU feel best in. Not the body that the fitness magazine says is best, or what's best for your friends.
Feeling healthy and confident is so much more important than looking a certain way. Ya its great to have goals to look good in your swimsuit or whatever, but maybe shift those goals to FEELING confident in your swimsuit. I'm not saying you should settle for a body that's out of shape, but I'm just pointing out that your in shape, healthy body doesn't need to fit some made up, cookie cutter mold. If you know you're healthy weight that you FEEL the best at is down a few pounds from where you are, then heck lets work towards that. But if you're just wanting to lose pounds to look like a covergirl, you probably aren't going to be satisfied even if you get there. Accepting what's healthy for US will be a game changer in our pursuit for confidence. We can relax a little, knowing that as long as we feel good and healthy (being real with yourself, taking care of our bodies with diet, exercise, & sleep) than it doesn't matter if you're not a size 2. Work on healthy for YOU. You have a unique shape and size, embrace it and work it girl.