How many of you have ever felt like your body wasn’t good enough for some reason or another? Not because you didn’t feel healthy enough, but because you felt you didn’t meet some expectation for a certain look. Today I want to recognize the ugly reality of this body shaming nonsense. Before I start I just want to add a disclaimer that I’m not trying to turn this into a pitty party of any kind, I just had some feelings and experiences lately I’m sure we can all relate to, and I want to help as many of you as I can to avoid this trap. If anything I’m just excited to have a conversation with you all because I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had these thoughts and feelings.
This last year I got down to the smallest weight I’d ever been since I don’t know, pre highschool?? It was this summer after living in Europe where my food was cut down and I walked EVERYWHERE. And then I ended on the note of dengue fever in Thailand so I was in the hospital for a week barely being able to stomach any food. I came home feeling pretty weak, and not my healthiest. I gained back a little strength quickly, and kept with my smaller portions. I felt great about my body, but my fitness level had definitely taken a hit. Adjusting back into life in the US, I’ve let happen what I was afraid of happening. I’m not walking nearly as much, and food is very much more abundant. I’ve definitely gained back some meat on my bones. I’ve been getting stronger which I’m really happy about, and I think being strong builds confidence and is a beautiful thing for women. Then why was I crying last night looking at pictures from a photo shoot I did recently? I prepped for the photo shoot, felt pretty confident, knew I wasn’t looking my best, but still felt good going into it. Why was I beating myself up over body image? I found myself picking apart every picture. I was so bugged my skin rolled over my spandex a little, and that my back fat was showing from my bra line. For the first time since I’ve been out of college and in the fitness industry, I had gained some weight rather than lost weight. This past summer I felt what it was like for all my clothes to be big on me, and people to comment on how small I was. Note that I still got the negative comments like “you’re way too skinny, put some meat on your bones!”. And now just being slightly bigger, but at a totally normal and healthy weight for my body type, I find myself being so critical of my physique. I’ve let the comments and opinions of others effect me in a negative way, as if they know what I “should” look like. Comments like “wow you look….. muscly” or “You’ve really put on some muscle” have caused me to feel like I’ve done something wrong, like I’m not the right body type for my audience or the people paying attention. This week I let these comments make me feel bad about being “too” strong or “too” muscly. The pressure of having the perfect “personal trainer” physique, or whatever the “perfect body” is in your eyes can sometimes get the best of us.
But I wanted to address this, because I know a lot of us struggle with body image. What’s not ok is thinking there’s a perfect body mold that we all have to fit into. I think its totally ok and healthy to have goals of “getting lean” or “shedding some extra thickness” that we may not love. But the point I want to stress is loving and accepting yourself where you’re at, and have your main goal be HEALTH. I’ve been having so much fun training at the gym the past five months since we’ve been back from Europe, and I’ve been loving feeling stronger and more confident with lifting. I will be the first to admit that I have been eating slightly bigger meals than I probably need to be, and haven’t been too disciplined on my treat consumption. Being in my profession, I know what it takes to shed a few pounds & lean out. But what bugs me about this situation is that I’ve let the opinions of others and comparison of myself to others effect my body image. It’s so easy to compare ourselves in the social media world. We see images of perfect bodies without the whole story behind it all. I know we’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to filtered instagram perfection, and I want you to snap back in to reality like I made myself do. Realize that you truly are beautiful! There is no perfect body size. Weight is just a number that can drive us crazy if we let it. When we love ourselves, we can better send love out into the world. Never tell anyone that they are too skinny, too muscly, or too much of anything as far as their body goes. We don’t know how these words can effect someone negatively, and who’s to say what’s too skinny or too muscly anyways?
I’ve found that as we strive to be HEALTHY, the great body will follow! The best body type is the one you feel your healthiest in and that allows you to live your life to the fullest. For some of us that may mean shedding a few pounds that crept up over the holidays thats making us feel a bit sluggish, or for others of us that may be putting on a few pounds of muscle so that we feel like we can take on more of what life throws at us. This past week, while I was feeling so down about the way I looked in these dumb pictures, it just made my heart go out to all the beautiful women who have ever felt anything negative about how their body looks. I want you to know that you are beautiful. One of the main reasons I do what I do is to build up confidence in women and I found myself a victim of body shaming myself. It happens. Lets turn it around, build each other up, and find beauty in strength and health. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing the joy and confidence in my clients after they’ve been working out, feeding their body right with healthy food, and they feel strong and confident. It radiates! Fuel your body with whole foods and stay active and watch the results come. End of the story, I went back and looked through my pictures that I was so critical of earlier and they actually looked great to me! I saw them through a much less critical eye, and noticed my strengths, rather than my flaws. Sometimes thats all it takes! Happy Wednesday everybody!