There IS a middle ground! Your fitness does not have to be meticulously planned and scheduled. It does not have to coincide with counting macro-nutrient ratios, points or calories. It does not have to be what you live and breathe from the moment you wake up. The “other choice” doesn’t have to be doing nothing, or waiting until you are ready to take on all of the above, all at once… forever!
Some people thrive off of macro-nutrient profiles and specific exercise schedules. That’s awesome! There is nothing wrong with loving those things. But if you feel overwhelmed at all of that, or it isn’t your passion— rather you just want to work on being more fit and feeling better… you don’t have to do all of that.
I’m passionate about my fitness. It helps me keep depression at bay, it makes me feel calm when I need it and amped up when I need the jolt. I do it because it feeds me, but I don’t need to stress about it. Stress about my stress reliever? No thanks. I do what feels good, I do what suits my day, I have rough plans and see what happens. And sometimes I go on kicks where I’m curious about all of the above stuff and I do a grip of planning. But usually I don’t.
There is room in being a fit, healthy, active person for, “I think I just need a walk today” and for “I was going to lift but I just want to dance.” And thinking about it this way, instead of stressing about what would be the “perfect’ or “right” way leaves room for it to enrich your life instead of mock you. Pretty cool.
A QUICK TEST TO MEASURE FAT BIAS/HEALTH MISINFORMATION…
Choose a random assortment of photos with people of different body types. They don’t have to be naked, “before picture” style pics: any pics will do. It’s preferred if they aren’t eating, smoking, sick looking (no sneezy pics) or engaging in exercise. Try to aim for at least 12-20 pics.
Put them together, and ask people to arrange the people in the photos from healthiest to unhealthiest. Let them know they don’t have to be exact.
Take a look at the results.
If they are someone who’s informed about REAL health, chances are they’ll hesitate or won’t participate. They know they can’t gauge someone’s health by looking at them. The exercise doesn’t make sense to them. Because it doesn’t actually make sense.
If they are someone who’s been taught that weight or appearance can infer someone’s health, you’ll notice that the photos often go from lean/normal weight people to overweight and obese people (and in some cases the very thin will often be near the bottom too). How they arrange the photos can give you greater insight into how health “looks” to that person.
VERY interesting exercise. I have YET to find one person who has refused to sort the pics.
Thoughts to think…
Your health is about how your body works on the inside and health boosting behaviors, done consistently over time, can improve someone’s health, with or without weight loss. Lifestyle choices (diet, activity level, smoking, drug use, alcohol use etc) are much more reliable indicators of someone’s health than their size. Though weight loss CAN be a consequences of shifting to healthier choices, it’s not always. Nor is weight loss a health booster in and of itself (save perhaps in providing people a body that’s easier to move around in. Still, the ability to move is the health booster: the weight loss just makes it easier).
In the absence of any knowledge about that person’s consistent behaviors and medical information, assuming you can gauge their health by their size is an indication of your bias - not fact.
I promise, no one’s looking. Seriously. And if they are, they don’t care nearly as much as you think they do.
When we’re obsessed about a certain body part on our own bodies, we often notice it more in other people. Like, too MUCH. We can’t help it. The problem is, we assume the world sees the same things we do with the same scrutiny we do: if we notice a certain “flaw” all the time, we assume that everyone else does as well.
For example, if you’re self-conscious about your cellulite, you might notice the hammies of every woman who passes your way, and make judgement calls based on how you compare (“Hers is really bad”, “Mine is worse than hers”, “She has nothing there! Lucky”). You may have a negative reaction to people with similar cellulite wearing clothing you’ve decided you “can’t wear”. You may assume that every person you pass is secretly checking out your cellulite and sizing themselves up the same way, judging your worth based on how much you have back there.
Same goes for people with or formerly with acne (you might notice people’s skin more), hairy bits (you may notice every unshaven woman), body fat issues and more. Even women who no longer identify as overweight might be extra aware of the weight of those around them. Whatever the insecurity, you may find yourself more attentive to it and more critical of it in yourself and in others.
We tend to believe people see the world as we do, but the truth is they don’t. After a day of wearing short shorts in a busy city, not a single person will remember your legs. At the beach, the only people who might be distracted by your body are the ones who are sizing up their own (not about you). In reality, people don’t care what you look like as much as you do. But being terrified to live your life the way you want to, or constantly living in fear of judgement, will affect your life in ways you can’t imagine.
While it’s almost impossible to STOP feeling or thinking this way, you can acknowledge it and become more aware that it’s not actual truth. This can help lessen the power it has over you, making it easier to live your life without some unnecessary stress.
If you find yourself constantly worried about what people will think of your body, remind yourself that most people don’t care, and the ones that do are doing the SAME thing you are: making a mountain out of a mole (literally).
Dear Brides & Brides To Be,
I know many of you are feeling psyched, nervous, stressed, happy and any number of emotions leading up to your big day. It IS a big day, afterall! Some of you are also on a “best body possible” mission, either to fit into a dress you’ve already bought or just to make that perfect day more “perfect”. I won’t begrudge you this: if it makes you happy and is something you wanna do, go for it.
But here are a few things to think about…
Your lovely, lovely partner? Decided to marry you as you are. He/she knows what you look like, decided it was awesome like the rest of you, and would marry you in a paper bag.
Your friends and family? They also know what you look like, and think you’re awesome too. They don’t care whether or not you’ve hit your goal weight for your big day.
All brides look exceptionally beautiful. All of them. You’re included on this list. You are beautiful now. You’ll be beautiful then. Even if you don’t change a thing.
Although it is a big day, it’s still just ONE day. Your attitude and ability to be flexible with it will help it feel more “perfect”. Very few weddings go exactly as planned, and some of the BEST ones are ones where everything goes wrong. The better you’re able to roll with the punches, the more fun you’ll have on your big day.
The pressure to be “perfect” affects many women, but few more than brides. You got the ring being YOU. Not a perfected version of you. While it’s totally fine to do what you need to do to feel as though everything’s “perfect”, try to remind yourself that perhaps everything already is.
(and no one likes a fainting bride, lol. You gotta EAT girl! That bouquet’s not going to throw itself).
A few things that’ll help…
1. Acknowledge your own feelings about her body. Recognize they have nothing to do with her.
2. Remember that it’s her body, not yours, to change IF she wants. The pressure to lose weight might not be coming from her.
3. Remember that your relationship with her comes first. If things have become too focused on weight loss or she feels judged by you, your relationship may be suffering for it.
People’s weight loss journeys are their own thing, but how you feel about it is yours. If things are too frustrating for you, it’s time to re-evaluate why it’s important to you and remember that unless you’re her personal trainer (and thereby working with her for her own goals) it’s not your job to pressure her or force change on her. She’s great the way she is (otherwise you wouldn’t be friends), and her complaints about you pushing her might actually mean “back off”. It’s her journey, choices and body. If she wants to change it, she can do so, but she doesn’t have to. Would you be okay with that? If not, maybe re-evaluate whether or not she’s your friend… or a project.
In terms of her own journey, if she needs tips let her ask for them. :)