“Stop trying to be skinny, and start trying to be healthy.” Wow. This says it all, doesn’t it? It highlights the extreme focus we put on our body image. Let me first admit that vanity is not a bad thing. Liking how we look makes us feel better. When we get a compliment on our appearance, suddenly a wave of joy crashes over us because of one undeniable truth. We want to feel beautiful. This can transform healthy eating into restrict/obsessive eating. When we value our looks so much, we often overlook one thing: how our bodies feel. Our disproportionate value on our bodies’ looks over our bodies’ health results in our endless cycle of eating poorly/restrictively and being inactive/exercise obsessively. These extremes are so hard to maintain because they don’t build sustainable behavior. Even Oprah, the universe’s richest and most powerful person, has struggles with maintaining her weight. So, where’s the middle ground?
The middle ground is ever-elusive “balance.” To find this balance, it requires a shift in our perspective…”stop trying to be skinny (or super buff) and start trying to be healthy.” We go on quick fad/yo-yo diets which set us up to be disappointed when we don’t reach our unrealistic goals. Additionally, we demonize fat as a bad thing, and that negative behavior fuels our low self-esteem. Fat is beautiful and healthy. Not many say that. It can be as beautiful as someone who is thinner, taller, shorter, hairier, darker, lighter, etc. Why? Because a person’s weight doesn’t define how healthy they are, physically/mentally/and emotionally. I know many skinny people who eat the crappiest foods and never exercise. I don’t say that to judge them. I say it to make the age old point: you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
HEALTHY is beautiful, and our health is maintained by the choices we make everyday. The important roles which food and exercise play in our lives are inescapable. Try thinking about how our bodies are nourished by the food we feed it and our bodies are strengthened by our commitment to physical activity. For example, the recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables is to encourage us to feed our bodies with fresh produce and the wonderful nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they provide. By eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, we can displace some of the less nutritious junk food we eat. A secondary result may be weight loss because we’re eating less junk. SECONDARY.
So, I challenge you. For the next 7 days, think about all the “healthy” things that you do. Are they centered around your weight or are you making these choices to improve your health? If you want to, then make the proper adjustments so that you can build a sustainable, active, and healthful lifestyle. Make your health a priority. Make yourself a priority.
Find your balance,
NASM Certified Personal Trainer