I have a pretty good system in place for anytime a person or media/online outlet tries to send body-shaming messages my way: I don’t believe their hype and move right along with my day, remaining confident in my awesomeness and committed to my goals.
But I didn’t start out that way, and even after a lot of practice I have some rough days where my tried-and-true system breaks down and some of those old insecurities creep back in. I’m guessing that happens to some of you, too.
Of course, these body-shaming messages reach a peak at the start of every calendar year.
This crescendo is certainly evident in the posts being made by many “fitness” websites, trainers, and gyms. In the last few weeks, I’ve seen promotions for two-, four-, and six-week programs that promise aesthetic changes that are ostensibly guaranteed to make you sexier.
(News flash: you don’t have to be a certain size to feel and be sexy. Not only that, but it’s completely cool if you decide you’d rather divest yourself altogether from the quest for sex appeal: your worth doesn’t depend upon your sexiness.)
Sadly, the refrain of body shame is also evident in the spoken words and online posts of many of our friends and family members. They resolve to lose weight; to change this or that part of their body; to stop eating x, y, or z; to, in any number of ways, “fix” something that they think isn’t good enough about themselves.
What if I told you that the current you was actually pretty awesome and you didn’t in fact need a you-replacement? I’m an anti-resolution enthusiast because my 250-pound body is perfect just as it is … Reframe the ideology that positions your body as the thing that is keeping you from fulfilling your greatest (and skinniest) destiny. Your body is many things, but I promise it’s not your enemy. The size of your body will never be the most important or greatest thing about you.
Your body does incredible things every moment of every day… Every day your body sweats to keep you cool. Your eye perceives a million different colors, so many colors that language cannot even describe all of them. It helps you remember the most beautiful moments of your life. Because of your body, you are able to laugh and experience and do and feel.
How cool is that?!
And it’s true: our bodies are capable of experiencing such a wonderful plethora of sensations, experiences, and activities… and their ability to do so does not depend upon loss of weight, restrictive diets, and aesthetic changes.
As a personal trainer, I come face to face with people on a daily basis who want to change the way their bodies look. Some of them have been training for years with that as their motivation, while others are still contemplating whether or not they’re ready to set foot inside a gym.
One of the best parts of my job is helping people become aware of their deeper motivations for pursuing a path towards fitness and strength, which in turn helps them discover greater joy in the process itself.
Because, ultimately and optimally, health is more about joy than it is about weight.
And movement is more about freedom than it is about aesthetics.
By all means, I encourage all people to move intentionally toward improved health and movement. But, as I wrote in this earlier post, when we approach movement from a place of self-love the process becomes more sustainable over the long-term because it is done for its own sake rather than as a struggle against the state of our bodies as they are in the present moment.
Are you interested in discovering a new approach to fitness, one that is grounded in finding enjoyment in movement, developing amazing levels of strength, reaching and exceeding performance-based goals, and creating a long-term framework for continually improving health?
Are you tired of basing your exercise goals on shame, guilt, and doomed-to-fail quick fixes?
If you are, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to help.
It’s not about a resolution. It’s not about becoming a “new you.” It’s about living in accordance to the love you have for yourself—exactly as you are, right in this moment—and giving yourself permission to flourish.