This time of year is when the resolution and goal setting motivation is at an all time high. This past year has given me a new perspective on health and what goals I should be striving for. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, HEALTH LOOKS DIFFERENT ON EVERYONE, and at all different stages of our lives. A fitness goal your best friend is working towards, may sound great, but quit comparing! Her goal may not be the best thing for you and your health. Sometimes our goals need to go against the grain, and that’s OK!
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Quite body shaming, and show some love. From my experience it only takes one body shaming comment to trigger a whole room of women talking about what they don’t like on their bodies. Let's change this. Redefine Beauty, refocus your attention and praise, contribute positivity to the conversation, Strive for YOUR healthiest self, and don’t compare.
Tuesday, November 7th, almost 3 months on the dot from going “all in” I got my period back. Meaning my first NATURAL period in over 5 years!!!! Whoo hoo! However, my work isn’t done yet. Now comes the fun of finding the balance with exercise, fuel, and keeping my cycle. But this has been such a relief I can’t even tell you! Hard work, patience, persistence, faith, prayer, and trust in my body has all paid off. And of course the encouragement and example from others was a game changer. The past 3 months have honestly been the hardest and longest 3 months of my life.
Well what if I told you that you can’t panic your way thin. I heard this in a podcast recently and I really liked the concept. Often times we approach weight loss and fitness with the mindset that if we look at ourselves and point out what we need to change, try to burn as many calories as we possibly can during a workout, torture ourselves, limit our calories from food, we’ll get there someday. We think that If we put enough hate, stress, panic, and pressure on ourselves to get a certain body that we think we need to have in order to be beautiful, then we’ll have success and life will be better. Even if we’re miserable while doing it.
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.
If you haven’t noticed already, there’s a little buzz word in the fitness industry. It takes on many forms that include: Cheat Meal, Cheat Day, Free day, etc. The idea is that you are super strict through the week with your eating, and then typically on a Friday or Saturday You can eat whatever you want. This does work for some people, but I’m just going to share with you why I don’t think its the best thing for our minds and bodies and my counter approach on the subject.
First of all, the only reason we would feel like we need a “cheat meal” is if we are feeling deprived from certain foods. No one wants to feel deprived. This creates a negative relationship with food over time. In my experience with training and working with different clients and in my own experience, I have learned that the more we stress about what we CAN’T have or what foods we need to CUT OUT from our diet, the harder it is to actually stick to healthy eating and maintain or lose weight. It typically back fires, and ALL WE THINK ABOUT is the foods we’ve told ourselves we CAN’T HAVE. Also, those stress levels release fat storing hormones in our body, and that definitely doesn’t help!