After an epic Super Bowl half-time show – yes I am a huge 90s hip-hop fan – one of the most talked about things was not how incredible it is that these performers can still put on an amazing show – but a lot of the chatter focused on how much weight one of the artist, 50 Cent, had gained.
Adults body shaming other adults.
I am sure, especially in our social media crazed world, it happens all the time. It doesn’t matter if you are a man, a woman, trans, young, old, fat, skinny or muscular . . . someone can find fault with how you look.
This is something that really bothers me, and I have invested my life and career in the fitness industry that one could argue is all about helping people achieve the “perfect” body. This is bullshit. In my mind and at Empower, there is no perfect body shape, size, or color and likely there is no perfect body (period). However, what we teach and preach is health and function. We want to help our clients develop the strength, mobility and vitality to do all the things they love most in this world – and a mommy pooch, a dad bod, cellulite, love handles nor the shape of your butt really interferes with this mission.
I think if you were to ask someone who was just diagnosed with cancer, ALS or another serious life-altering condition how much what our bodies look like matters – you would get a big reality-check response.
Can we shift the focus?
I know it is so hard. They inundated us with messages about what is beautiful, what is accepted, what is thought of as healthy. But trust me, you cannot assess someone else’s health based on what their body looks like – and we should stop trying.
Imagine this . . .
Instead of thinking about how flat our stomach is, we honor the fact that it once was stretched to the size of a large watermelon as we grew our children in our wombs.
Instead of focusing on the cellulite on our thighs, we honor the fact that our legs are strong enough to take us on a long hiking expedition that inspired our souls. (Being completely open here – this one is hard for me).
Instead of fretting the fact that we don’t weigh the same as we did in college, we honor the fact that we can get down on the floor to play with our grandkids (and back up, even).
We spend too much time and money chasing societal norms of beauty and youth. So, I recommend this. The next time you are beating yourself up about the number on the scale or the extra glasses of wine or scoops of ice cream you had, or the cellulite on your thighs (talking to myself) you ask your 90-year-old self WHAT REALLY MATTERS?
AND . . .
At risk of contradicting myself, I would also like to say – it is okay to both love your body, honor what it can do for you AND still desire physiological change. Body positivity (or *body neutrality) and working to become stronger and healthier are not mutually exclusive. However, that’s up for you to decide and not for others to judge.
If you are looking for a safe, health-focused fitness studio, we welcome you to join us at Empower. BOOK FREE SESSION
* Body neutrality is a different approach from body positivity. Instead of focusing on loving your body no matter what, body neutrality is a philosophy that focuses on how your body functions – what it can do, rather than what it looks like.