As a personal trainer I hear A LOT of body shaming and “fat talk.” People come in wanting to have a 6 pack, really toned arms, or to lose 10-20+ more pounds than I would ever guess. Pounds that would put them in the underweight BMI category. Pounds that if lost would likely increase their risk of being fertile. Why?
Because of so many different factors. To name a few: tabloids are at every checkout stand in America with titles like “How to Lose 20lbs in 1 Week”, the diet industry(a 60 billion dollar/year industry) flooding the world with new diets and supplements every week, social media pressures including Instagram posed fitness model pictures & Pinterest “Bye Bye Thigh Gap” exercise instructions, or Sitcoms so frequently using overweight characters’ bodies as the basis of many of the show’s jokes.
All of this combined has created a population of people who don’t think they are good enough. A few disheartening statistics:
- Did you know that most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women?(1)
- If mannequins were women they would be too thin to bear children. (1)
- 1 in 4 7-year old girls think they are bigger than they are. (2)
- 58% of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight. (3)
- In a survey, more than 40% of women and about 20% of men agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future. The statistics remain relatively constant across gender, age, marital status, and race. (4)
- 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. (5)
The world today wants us to think that the way we look matters most, but it’s just not. There’s so much more to you then that.
Your worth doesn’t need to be validated by your appearance.
I teach a cycling class and often I notice participants watching surrounding neighbors cycle. I notice some immediately start to give up because they’re not going as fast as their neighbor. I’m at fault for comparing myself to others, too. We all are. BUT, doing this is not going to help. There’s always going to be someone better, and someone worse off.
Why instead of focusing on others progress, we start focusing on ours?
It’s time we focus on finding our HEALTHY. It’s focusing on health, not weight or size. That place where we feel comfortable in our skin, where we listen to our bodies and give it rest when it’s needed, but also love our bodies enough to strengthen it & reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. That place where we adapt to the different stages of life, and accept the changes our bodies will go through.
Finding our healthy looks different on every person.
So, start celebrating your progress. Start celebrating your body–whatever stage it is at. Change the way you talk about yourselves. Your children, friends, & family will notice your positivity. It will make a difference.
I look with my heart and my ears and my mind because beauty is lost looking just with your eyes.
Tri Delta – Fat Talk Free Week 2008 video.
The never ending pursuit of perfection: Dieting, Body Image & Health video by The Good Enough Diet.
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. “Eating Disorders Statistics.” ANAD. http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/.
- ASAPS: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. “Survey Finds That Women Are More Likely To Consider Plastic Surgery Than They Were Ten Years Ago.” http://www.surgery.org/media/news-releases/survey-finds-that-women-are-more-likely-to-consider-plastic-surgery-than-they-were-ten-years-ago.
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. “Eating Disorders Statistics.” ANAD. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/.