Kati’s Fit Kit
Love Yourself at Any Size
I’m not a football person, and I’ll admit I didn’t even tune in to the Super Bowl for the halftime show. Last Sunday I spent the afternoon at home, lounging around with a book. But just a few minutes online on Monday and there was no escaping discussions about Lady Gaga, and disappointingly, a large amount of the conversation focused on her body. The issue of body shaming is not exclusive to celebrities, it’s something people experience in real life all the time, and increasingly so with social media being such a big part of our lives.
Body shaming can be a bit of a confusing topic in the fitness industry. When fitness professionals start talking about body acceptance and developing self esteem no matter how you look, we sometimes get a few raised eyebrows. How can trainers and coaches talk about loving yourself even if you are overweight, when part of our job is to help people lose fat? Are we encouraging people that it’s ok to be overweight?
First of all, it’s true that most of our clients come to us with some kind of appearance related goal. Some want to lose 10 pounds, and some 100 pounds. Some want to build more muscle or see more “tone”. We all want to look our best. But one person’s version of looking their best is likely pretty different from someone else’s – which is totally ok and as it should be! And yes, we should be able to love our bodies wherever we are at in our personal journey. Working to improve something, and being happy with where you are now are not mutually exclusive things – you can have both! Waiting to be kind to your body until you reach a certain size or look a certain way is like waiting to be happy until you have a certain amount of money, or a certain job or lifestyle. Not only is life too short for that, you will also have a greater chance of getting where you want to go if you remain positive and treat yourself with compassion and respect.
Another element to consider here is that we all deserve to be appreciated for what we can do and who we are as people, rather than just what we look like on the surface. Whether or not you enjoyed Lady Gaga’s performance, it takes quite a lot of physical stamina to put on a show like that, and it’s not something anyone could just get up and do. In terms of fitness, even if fat loss is your primary goal, it’s a great idea to give yourself another target to shoot for, like doing a pull up, or being able to press heavier weight, or running a 5k. Setting performance related goals or participating in physical challenges, not only gives a focus to our training and motivates us to train more consistently, it also helps us see how much we are truly capable of! It lets us learn to appreciate our bodies not just for how they look.
Lastly, strong people build each other up rather than tear each other down. Focusing on negative things about others isn’t going to help them, and it’s not going to help us feel better about ourselves. The world is a better place when we celebrate each other’s strengths, and help support each other in reaching our goals.
Strength & Love – Kati