there it is everyone.
"Fitness." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fitness>.
I don’t know what prompted you to send me the dumbest message I’ve received in at least 6 months, but nowhere in the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of “fitness” do I find the word “skinny.” Even synonyms for the word “fitness” focus 100% on health attributes as opposed to size attributes. So I’m sorry if you have this deep seeded complex that refuses to allow you to accept that, from all standpoints of medicine, science, and flat out fact, fitness is irrelevant to body size. That really sucks for you that your brain is struggling to let you come to terms with that. However, it is also 100% not my problem.
tl;dr: Blow it out your ass.
A world of fist pumps! Yayayay!
If you’re a long time follower, you know I don’t usually post pics of other women’s bodies here. There are no headless booties, non-stop shots of great abs, nor are there fitspo quotes or imagery trying to “moti-shame” you. But I make exceptions for mythbusting images, and this one qualifies.
We simply don’t get to see how much retouching is involved in covers and shoots for magazines often. It’s not enough to talk about photoshopping or use images of celebs as our basis. We need to see the extent visually so we can understand why we should not be striving to look like a magazine cover, or think we’re less than awesome for NOT looking like HER.
Some thoughts on the image above…
1. This lady’s got a great bod, right? Before retouching. Bangin’.
2. That bod isn’t perfect. Nothing is perfect. Still bangin’.
3. The image you see on the left is a magazine’s attempt to ‘perfect’ her body by removing what they consider 'flaws'. A lot goes into it. Decisions go into it.
4. That ‘flawless’ image is a lie. (duh)
5. We see it. Some people buy it, both literally (as in a purchase) and metaphorically (as in accepting it as truth). And even those who ‘KNOW’ it is airbrushed, do not have access to the before pic to know to what extent.
6. The ‘flawless’ image is believed to be attainable and possible by the consumer (us), especially if supported by an article by the model explaining her ‘routine’ to get such a stellar body. Which isn’t a lie probably. Except the body she’s referring to and the one you’re looking at are two different bodies. She might not know that: don’t hate on her.
7. People may or may not follow her tips, waiting for their body to look like hers. Rather, the image of her body that we’re presented. Which again, is a lie.
8. Women feel frustrated, annoyed, de-motivated and defeated in trying everything possible to attain the perfection presented… only to end up as ‘not perfect’. Not as smooth. Not as soft. Not as flawless. So much energy goes into this process, both in trying to attain perfection AND trying to cope with the disappointment in not getting there (imagine what amazing things we could accomplish with all that energy. So much wasted “win”).
It’s so rare to see the before shots of magazine covers, that it’s fair to say it’s impossible for most to understand & gain awareness of how much they are altered. As evidenced here (and by countless other mythbusting images), it’s a LOT of tweaking. Most are simultaneously subtle and dangerously overt: they have to stay close to the line of “realism” so that the consumer will buy into the lie (if you’ve ever witnessed photoshopping gone wrong, it can be a brutal PR faux pas). Examine the image above: save her arms, hair and her legs BELOW the knee, every inch of her has been altered, modified, softened, smoothed, slimmed and “perfected”. She still looks like a version of herself, but not at all what she’d look like if she were right in front of you.
It’s easy to say “Don’t compare. Don’t idolize. Don’t get trapped by notions of perfection”. But actually LIVING those things means exposing yourself to the truth more often and limiting your exposure to images that utilize similar techniques. Which.. is all of them.
A good place to start? Start seeing covers like these as lies. Ditch them. All of them. And remind yourself that perfect does NOT exist. Nor is it a GOOD thing.
Working out for a half hour, 3(ish) days a week, walking a smidge and eating as well as you can without being too diligent might NOT get you to your aesthetic goals, flat abs, a goal weight or the podium/finish line. That’s true. Those things often need more effort for most people, more effort than you may be willing or able to put in. And that’s okay.
But it’s certainly enough to get & keep you relatively healthy, improve your mood, make you feel bad ass, “maybe” lose a little weight, and boost your confidence - if you let it. And it’s more than okay to let yourself think it’s “this is what I can do and its good enough”.
All too often, I hear the same story: "I was doing really well! I was working out 6 days a week, eating only clean food, and I lost so much weight! But then I started feeling un-motivated, and then this happened, and that happened and I just gave up all together". This happens a lot. It’s an “all or nothing” attitude, and it typically leads to burn out, exhaustion, feelings of failure, sabotage, etc. It’s also no fun living that way. And deep down, you know it. Our bodies and brains take steps to slow us down when we’re going extreme for long periods of time, so the story often ends the same way: we stop, give up and give in.
Aren’t you tired of that? That sucks, no?
How about this instead…
Do a little. Do more when you can. Do what you can when you can. Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t. And know that doing your best has value, even when your goals seem far off. (it’s also okay to change those goals, put then on hold, or ditch them).
The person who commits to a few days a week, most weeks (or who finds a way to move a little each day) and eats as well as they can without being too diligent can often keep it up for a LONG ASS TIME. Especially if they focus on finding things they LOVE. When we treat our workouts and diets like punishments, they feel that way. And your body doesn’t like to feel punished.
Happier, healthier people don’t always fit into skinny jeans, workout everyday or eat like health superstars. But they do keep thing relatively consistent, stay flexible, and they don’t beat themselves up. You can always add more when you can, but knowing that you can be flexible and do the minimum too is more likely to help you adopt habits longterm.
Living with “all or nothing” extreme thinking means you’ll have periods where you’re 100% on target and periods where you give up all together. If that’s YOU, try a new approach. You might just find it serves you better long term, even if you don’t hit your aesthetic goals.
Tis the season for food guilt, health shaming and misinformation memes! Here’s a few tips to deal with the influx of “1 serving of mashed potatoes = 30 minutes of running, 1 piece of pie = 300 burpees” crap you’re seeing today (or will see this weekend).
1. Let it sink in: these memes are total bullshizz, based on averages and guesstimates that are unlikely to represent you. Unless you’re hooked up to a machine, NO ONE can tell you how many calories you’re burning.
2. They promote a potentially dangerous and disordered way to think about food and exercise (very similar to the calculation process observed in those who suffer from eating disorders). A system of checks and balances might work in terms of overall consumption over a period of time, but not for individual choices and one-off days.
3. They are over-simplified and don’t tell the whole story: your metabolism increases when you overeat meaning you’re burning more calories for awhile (the body takes care of itself amazingly). You also burn calories through daily activity: more so than just your workouts. In fact, most of us burn far more calories OUT of the gym than in. (did you know your brains use approx 20-25% of your caloric intake a day?)
Calories in and calories out is a tricky matter and not as simple as the “experts” make it out to be.
4. Unless you’re eating 10,000+ calories in one sitting (AND continue to do so for days on end), you’re unlikely to gain any “real” weight this weekend. The bloat, poop and water will take care of itself in a day or so, and if you go back to your normal habits (NOTE: YOUR EVERY DAY NORMAL HABITS. No extremes), any weight gain will take care of itself too. Believe it or not, a few days “over” on the scale won’t kill you, break you, or even be noticeable to ANYONE but you.
Weight gain AND weight loss is about consistently engaging in activities that promote either over time. It NEVER boils down to one meal, one overeating session or one holiday. Thinking this way can throw an otherwise AWESOME program WAY off track: two extremes do not equal balance.
And if you DO end up gaining an additional 1-3lbs due to Thanksgiving business, good times and yum yums? SO THE EFF WHAT, lol. It’s not a big deal, EVEN if you’re on a weight loss mission. Just go back to what you were doing that feels good and supports your goals. Bam: you’ll be right back where you were. And loving yourself - not hating yourself - along the way can be mega beneficial to your overall success.
But stressing about it? Going extreme? Getting frustrated? Overthinking it? ALL things that zap the energy you need to get back to doing YOU. And the more you allow yourself to fester in these emotions & thoughts, the less likely you are to get back “on track”.
So ditch the infographics, misinformation, food shaming and guilt promoting pics and quotes. They don’t serve you, don’t help you in the long run and aren’t necessary. Plus, as stated, total bullshizz.
Bonus? All those extra treats mean hella full glycogen stores. Use them to power your workouts, have more fun and enjoy life like the bad ass you are.
NO GUILT. NO SHAME. NO JUDGEMENT. These things are not required to get where you want to go, nor do they cater to your greatness.
And you are GREAT.
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