I love fitness. I loved it so much that I made it my career as a former Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
While I still love moving my body, my perspective on fitness has changed.
Fitness has gotten entangled with diet culture. We’re told to:
- Get a beach body.
- Earn and burn your food.
These statements seem benign because we’re so used to hearing them yet they can be incredibly harmful for both men and women. They make us feel ashamed of our bodies unless we have “shredded abs” and X percent body fat.
Needless to say, there’s a lot wrong with this picture.
Shift How You View Fitness
I used to be part of the problem. I used to buy into this harmful messaging. At the beginning of my career as an exercise professional, I believed that if clients just worked harder and smarter, they could achieve the “perfect” body. If they did the “work” and weren’t getting results, then I assumed it must be due to poor nutrition.
But nutrition messaging can prey on our self-worth too, with the terms “good foods” and “bad foods.” It’s no wonder so many of us think healthy eating has to be stressful and restrictive. Many of us don’t know how to eat “normally.”
Every body deserves fitness
After working with hundreds of clients in both fitness and nutrition, I’ve find that both of these strategies are wonderful ways to nourish our bodies.
But they don’t guarantee an “ideal” body.
Did you know that less than 5% of women naturally possess the body type that media portrays as ideal?
Fitness and nutrition are two self-care choices we can choose to engage in to feel good.
Not because our bodies aren’t enough.
Not because we don’t have a flat belly or a thigh gap.
Many of us want to feel better but we’re tired of the seemingly never-ending struggle to maintain or attain this unrealistic ideal body type. We’re tired of having to avoid “forbidden” foods that bring us pleasure in order to change our bodies. We’re tired of trying to live up to culture’s standard of being fit, and what toxic diet and fitness culture has determined all of our bodies should look like.
One way we can create a cultural shift is to take the focus off exercise as a means to change our bodies appearance and instead exercise for the ways it makes our bodies feel.
Body Positive Fitness
Body positive fitness promotes fitness as one way to care for our bodies. It promotes health, not needing to change your body size or shape. It does not use shame tactics and language that preys on our insecurities.
As a culture, we can shift to a body positive fitness perspective by changing the language around fitness.
Instead of believing we should “shred our abs” or we have to “earn and burn our food,” we can value exercise as something that is adding to the quality of our lives.
If you want to change your body, I want it to be your choice instead of feeling like you must in order to be accepted, by yourself and others.
Interested in supporting a shift to body positive fitness?
3 Tips to Support Body Positive Fitness
- Start noticing how toxic fitness messages make you feel. It starts with awareness. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it!
- Show your support for fitness businesses that promote with positive health and body messaging – with your wallet and your voice.
- Focus on the many benefits of exercise: stress reduction, improved sleep, increased energy, improved mental health, reduced and improved self confidence, brain power, increased strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, and heart health.
As a Wellness and Personal Growth Coach, I’ve witnessed too many tears and too much stress around how we perceive our own bodies. The messages that we hear and see every single day are producing an epidemic of body dissatisfaction. But, we have the power to change that!