Fittest VS Healthiest
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” – James Baldwin
It is a sad but true fact that we don’t feel very awesome about ourselves most of the time. In fact, most of the time we are trying to fix something about ourselves. Our hair is too thin, our feet are too wide, our eyes are too small, our arms are too flabby or our butt is too big. I could go on and on. And since we live in a culture that teaches us that our value and self worth are based primarily on our appearance, we believe that we can help fix others’ self esteem and body image issues by making them feel better about their looks and/or body size. But phrases like “real woman have curves” or “all the right junk in all the right places” only perpetuates this beauty sickness.
So when the Pilates studio where I teach group classes at decided to have a weight loss challenge contest with cash prizes, you better believe I was appalled. In fact, I was so disgusted that the owner (which are also my friends) would pull such a marketing stunt, that this past Monday I quit.
So here I am. Out on my own. With a simple message and a single truth.
My simply message: YOU ARE ENOUGH regardless of your appearance
My simple truth: Body size and weight do not determine your health or fitness level.
The entanglement of an ideal weight and body size with one’s self worth, health, physical fitness and even social economical status in society does noting but disempower and demotivate both men and women.
So in my moment of feeling alone I decided to turn to the all-knowing Google.
Just for fun, I decided to Google “fittest woman” and this is the image I was given:
Then I decided to Google “healthiest woman” and this is the image I was given:
Fascinating! Even the almighty Google associated fitness with a certain look. A look, by the way, that is unattainable for the majority of any woman reading this post because lets face it, we have a lot going on in our lives and spending the hours in the gym to train to look like this “fittest women” is nowhere close to realistic. So why get all upset about this? Why voice my opinion and why quit my job (yet again)?
I love to move my body. I feel better in my body when I move and not just on a physical level but on a psychological level as well. And I know I am not alone. Starting any type of fitness regimen is no short order. In fact it is so rare that people stay consistent with their exercise over any given period of time that the fitness industry is a 24 billion dollar industry. Most gyms make their money off of the people that sign up for memberships on New Years day and stop going 2 weeks later only to continue to pay for many of the months or even the years following.
With the rise of cross fit and the return of the “no pain, no gain” mentality toward exercise in this country, more and more people are shying away from working out because of how unattainable the fitness image seems to be or they start and stop because of injuries or they can't stand how their workout makes them feel. This image of fitness needs to change.
My mission as a fitness professional is to help my clients feel better in their own body through movement. As I fight to avoid the weight loss challenges and boot camp crazies in this world I hold onto this truth because the liberation and self love that results from choosing to see fitness differently is something I want the world to feel and know.
So as 2014 comes to an end and goals begin to form for the New Year remember this one truth. You are enough. You are not a number. Your workout is meant to enhance your life not take away from it. It is meant to empower you not make you feel inferior. It is meant to positively influence all others areas of your life not make you feel crappy because you had to buy the size 10 Lululemon tank top again.
One of the most beautiful things a human can do is embrace their authentic self. If there is one thing that we all put on our to do list for the coming year, this would be it.