The Fit You

Love Your Body. Love Your Life

Month: March, 2017

Confronting the Insanity of Our Culture Head-On

insane fitness model

Something that I’ve never seen before is starting to come to light in the internet world of blogs and articles and talking head figures.  Apparently, it’s not enough to claim over and over again, that “any size,” woman can be healthy, that curves make a woman more realistic or relatable to people… I’ve come across a fitness model who has decided that she feels extremely guilty over using her fit body to sell women things for the fitness industry.

But she doesn’t just feel bad about selling “bad” things that don’t give real results (false advertising – something people SHOULD feel guilty for), this poor woman actually feels bad about her **success** in her fitness goals.  She feels guilty that her body looks so great that other women (she thinks) sees it and feel bad about themselves.  She takes their issues with their own self-esteem and their own responsibility to take care of their bodies and be responsible for their own fitness levels, and places all that responsibility onto herself and then feels guilty for it.

Her blog post is here.

I do feel sorry for this woman…  and I get it that she doesn’t want to “hurt” people, the problem is though, that the people who she’s talking about are actually hurting themselves.  Her fitness has little to nothing to do with their decisions to be happy or sad. Reading her post comes across as a form of projection of all her shame for being a cover model onto women who (in her own mind) see her, and are “miserable,” because of her existence.  There’s something very off mentally with that kind of shame.  First off, it is not someone else’s responsibility for another woman’s decisions in her life to get fit or stay overweight and unhappy.

Blaming fitness models for remaining overweight or unhappy (and this goes for any life situation) is bad overall for one’s mental health because it completely takes away that person’s individual control over their own life decisions.

Not to mention it’s just pure insanity on her part. 😦

Imagine if Olympic Athletes were apologetic in their athleticism.  If after winning medals, they went on “Apology Tours,” to apologize to children everywhere (or people in general), who they deemed would never be great enough to achieve their level of sport success?  What if they apologized that only the best athletes were able to go to the Olympics, and told the kids who were average or not athletic at all that they felt so ashamed of their successes because of how it must *negatively* affect all those kids?   First off, it’s incredibly insulting to tell all these random people (or children) that they’re just never going to be as good as you are.  It may be true, but making it a point to tell them is neither graceful or nice and kind.  Olympic athletes should rightfully feel no shame about their success, even if most of the world’s population will never go on to achieve their medals and fame and glory.  It would be entirely inappropriate for them to talk to children in that way – apologizing that they may never be good enough or achieve their level of athleticism.  They are an inspiration to children and people everywhere for a reason – because it is such a magnificent thing to behold when watching them compete or perform…  and if everyone was able to be an Olympic Athlete, it would no longer be the Olympics.

Now imagine if great musicians (past and present) felt ashamed of how great they were (either naturally or through hard work of perseverance) just because they may have made “normal” people feel bad about themselves when they take up piano lessons?  Imagine if they wrote lengthy, self-absorbed posts about how bad they feel for being so good, about how sorry they are to all those children who will never be quite as good as they are?  Again, just entirely inappropriate and insane for someone to behave that way.

Just as insane as a fitness model apologizing extensively for being her best and using her talent in fitness to inspire other women out there or to make money.  There’s nothing kind about telling people you’re sorry that they’ll never be as “great” at something as you are.  It comes across as fake and lacking genuine compassion or understanding.

***

It’s things like this that I want my children being exposed to, so that they can see through the lies and quickly get to the truth of what is going on.  Especially our coming daughter – I want her to have compassion for people who may feel bad when they see a fit model or are failing in that area of their life as far as being fit and healthy; but I never want her to feel ashamed of her personal achievements and success in her life.  Obviously I don’t want her to look down on others, but I don’t want her to devalue or cast shadow over her own shining light just because other people may have a bad attitude about her success.  I want her to set a good example, to be that shining light that motivates others.  Haters or miserable people will always exist… the only way to avoid them in life, is to do nothing and become miserable yourself.

We should never feel ashamed about succeeding in an area in life like being proud of our children, proud of handling our finances well, proud of taking care of our appearance, proud of doing well at work, proud of having a great marriage and being happy, or proud of using our talents (especially for God!), and yes, it’s even ok to be proud of achieving our highest level of personal fitness and feel great about (proud of) our bodies.

When someone who is successful in any of these areas feels a great deal of guilt and shame, psychologists would say there is a problem their in their mind that’s not healthy or good.  It’s certainly not godly to have false guilt or false shame about your achievements or being able to enjoy your life inspiring others.

So let’s be women who are proud of our achievements, even if they are “great,” and rare talents.  Let’s not be ashamed over gifts God’s given to us to use for His glory, and let’s not hide of our lights under a basket so that we never offend anyone or make them feel bad about their own life choices.

Every person has control over their own decisions, and you can only help the women who actually want to have that control – not the ones who may look at your success and use it as an excuse to remain unhappy in their own life.

Stephanie

Being Overweight is Normal, But this Isn’t Good for Women (or Kids!)

Keeping along the same lines of the last post, when undertaking mentally what is the “fit you,” we need to acknowledge that our society has a problem with even ADMITTING there could be a “fit you.”

Simply put: if you don’t accept your post baby body… if you have any desire to be better, to be fit, or to **gasp** to be thin, you’re shallow, and must be insecure for not wanting to accept your post baby fat and sagging skin.

And… if you DO achieve your fitness goals – well then… you’re just not “relate-able” or a “real w” anymore.

The criticism when you take your health seriously and lose the weight can get pretty nasty.  Women should be supporting each other in losing weight and becoming fit after pregnancy, not shaming women for wanting to do something ANY doctor would advise them is the RIGHT thing to do.

maria-kang

Since when did our culture get so used to overweight women being the “standard-sized” woman, that even seeing a fit mom who looks great in a bikini become something that is “body shaming” to the women who are overweight – to the point where they say she is “bullying” them by looking that good?

Remember when Maria Kang (above) posted her photo on facebook back in 2013 with her three children all 3 and under around her, and she asked “What’s Your Excuse?” as a way to show that if she could do it having 3 babies that closely together, anyone could do it?  Her motivation was coming from her line of work as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, and yet thousands of women were “triggered” by her photo, even calling it “hate speech.”

She got banned from facebook for posting that photo and explanations of her goals of helping women being fit.

I remember that incident well, our oldest was 3 and I had regained my pre-pregnancy body and looked incredible (finally, it took awhile because I gained a lot with our oldest!), and was so proud of my accomplishments regarding fitness!

As a result, I saw nothing wrong with Maria’s photo, it gave me even more encouragement that I’d be able to keep my body how I wanted it, even when I had more children.

She was an inspiration to me, and it was shocking to see other women respond so negatively to her picture.

Sure she is a fitness instructor and personal trainer, but I knew I had none of those degrees and no access to a gym or personal trainer, yet I’d been able to accomplish what she had through lots of faithful exercise and eating healthy.  I knew for a FACT that it was hard, but it wasn’t something impossible for most women to accomplish.

And when I saw “faithful exercise, I’m being serious.  If you want to lose weight, if you’re unhappy with your body, you NEED to be taking it seriously and working out at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes each time.  Otherwise, you need to accept that you will more than likely NOT lose the weight and accomplish your goals.  Because you aren’t serious about it.

It takes extreme determination and will power and discipline even when you only have a bit to lose.  It’s not for the faint-hearted.  It’s not going to happen for you if you just take 3 walks a week and have no intense fat-burning cardio that you’re doing at least 5 times a week on top of those walks and changing your eating habits.

You either go big, or go home and remain unhappy with your body and your weight.  Or try to accept it… along with all the health problems, less energy and overall happiness that comes with accepting defeat and letting fat beat you as a person.

***

Our American society has a major problem with accepting reality and being honest about things that are painful to acknowledge about ourselves.  And we really need to come to a place where we can acknowledge these painful truths in our own lives, in order to live better, more fulfilled lives we deliberately choose.

While it may be painful to see a woman who’s had three kids and still looks like a fitness model in a bikini, we need to be able to look deep inside and see what is CAUSING that painful reaction.

Is it because we are really unhappy with our own bodies and wish we could look like that; that she’s a painful reminder that we don’t yet?

Is it because seeing her makes us feel less confident in our own made-up mental “body acceptance,” and brings out our very real insecurity stemming from the fact that NO, we’re not really happy with the excess weight we’ve gained?

Or does it make us angry because we feel like we’ve tried to lose weight and still can’t – it’s not fair that she is able to and we can’t?

These reactions are normal, but they need to be dealt with psychologically in the correct manner.  It’s not enough to just say that her picture makes you feel uncomfortable or sad.

You need to search out the “why,” and then formulate a plan to do something about it!

Stephanie

 

From Maria Kang on having her picture censored for making women too emotional and angry:

Fit Pride Isn’t ‘Hate Speech’

Being a Wife, Having Babies, & Looking Amazing

Doutzen Kroes Shows Off Her Bikini Body In Spain

This post is equally part frivolous and serious… take it as you may 😉

In our Americanized, fast-food and photo-shopped culture, we have two opposing extremes that seem to affect us women… especially women who are having or have had children.

doutzen-kroes-trains-withballet-teacher__opt

I’ve read countless testimonies of women who felt “pressured” to look a certain way due to photo-shopping in magazines, ads, etc.  They always claim the same thing – that even the models don’t look like that in their ads, which is probably true.  Photoshopping really is awful and ridiculous, and it probably does cause eating disorders and problems for young girls, etc.  This post isn’t defending photoshopping by any means, it’s humoroursly congratulating inspiring women who are wives, have lots of babies, and still look amazing.

So it’s true, the models don’t look like their photoshopped selves.  But the problem is… it is EQUALLY true that those same models still look pretty damn good in a bikini when snapped in photos by paparozzi (see above images).

You could even say, these models, especially the often criticized Victoria Secret models,

look better than 95-98% of the female population.

The problem is that, even in real life or on television (which typically adds weight), these women still maintain a figure that most of the female population would seriously desire for themselves, but have no clue (or sometimes discipline) to work to make it happen. Over and over again women like this model, and many women not in the public light, maintain their figures and muscle tone even after having several children.  Why?  Because it feels amazing – both physically and mentally/psychologically to be that fit.

The fact remains… even though a lot of women wouldn’t openly admit it for fear of being shamed for having such “superficial” goals, almost every overweight woman has a deep longing to be thin and look good – at the very least, to FEEL good about herself, which unfortunately (but naturally) a lot of those feelings come from our appearance.  It IS good for women to accept themselves and know for sure that they are LOVED by God no matter WHAT their weight is.  But it still doesn’t negate the fact that our natural design (and desires) are to be what Eve represented to her husband and the world – God’s “masterpiece,” of creation.

When God designed Eve, who was naked and unashamed in the Garden of Eden due to sin not being introduced yet, her glorious form was probably as beautiful as the female body could get!  In my opinion, women have a deep longing to be beautiful, even to be thin since fat detracts in varying degrees from beauty, because it was how God designed us to be in the first place.  Wanting to still be beautiful and at a normal weight – especially in the eyes of your husband when you’re married – is a GOOD thing, a wonderful thing, especially when it increases his sexual attraction to you!

gemma2

And if there was a switch to give an overweight woman a super fit and bikini-ready body, almost every single overweight woman would flip that switch and think it was the best decision of her life.  Of course, nothing like that exists 😉 and it would probably *not* be the “best decision of her life,” but the fact that an overweight woman would hands down choose to be thin if such switch existed, proves something that diet fads and the fasion industry have used against women time and time again.  That desire to look beautiful and feel awesome and proud of your body – a body that other people would admire (since beauty is often *not* just in the eye of the beholder, but an actual statistically measured response), is totally normal and even maybe God-intended.

gemmagemma1

From knowing many women who have had weight struggles, including my own mom who I’m so thankful was open and honest about what fat really does to women (and how they get treated or feel etc.), I’ve always known that being fit and thin and strong – throughout life – was not a “superficial” goal for me.  I’m sure some women can place too much emphasis on fitness making it a kind of idol or measurement of success or happiness.  But for me it’s simply that it adds to my overall energy and mental health – literally making me feel amazing from the inside (my body working correctly etc.) and extending to the outside (looking great and being happier as well due to everything else)!

It’s simply a matter of being an adult and taking care of yourself responsibily.

Sometimes losing weight can be impossibly hard when a woman’s hormones are off or their diet is not “correct” for their body type, and the result is always them being incredibly unhappy with their body.  The overweight woman in the above photos has said before that she has an insulin problem that makes it extremely hard to lose weight.  Her weight gain wasn’t due to having babies, and she isn’t married (she’s been engaged to a man who assaulted her, but no marriage as of yet).  Even with her medical condition though, she was able to lose about 42 pounds of fat in one month when she really tried.  The difference was hard to see for some, but it was a significant difference that dropped her from a size 22 to size 16-18.  At the time of the bikini photos via papparozzi, she tried to be confident and happy with her size (she was a plus size model afterall), but admitted that her weight did bother her and that she desired to lose some of it.

Again… think of that imaginary switch.  If there was such a switch, I have no doubt that this woman would have flipped it.  Being overweight is not fun, and it doesn’t feel good physicaly, emotionally, or even spiritually (you deal with internal shame).

Since this issue is just so personal, many women don’t feel free to really confide in their friends and family.  Most try to act like it doesn’t affect them as much as it actually does emotionally.  You hear their admissions more when they’re in fitness groups or confessing to a trainer, or complaining to their husband about the weight issues they experience psychologically.  This unhappiness though, I don’t believe is healthy, as it literally affects everything in that woman’s life!

That being said, I also don’t think it’s healthy to seek out perfection in one’s appearance, to be too hard on oneself and critical to the point of mental illness as seen in cases of obsessive plastic surgery or anorexia.  Again, photoshopping probably does NOT help with those issues, but that doesn’t explain away the crazy notion that the models themselves look like “normal” women in any way imaginable.  Especially American women 😦 but even Australians and women in the UK are seeing an uptick in weight problems, especially after they have children.  Maybe some plus size models do look like the “normal” woman, but the mainstream ones that work out 6 days a week and watch what they eat carefully are not “fake” women, nor are they considered representative of “normal” women.

They are very real though, and attaining that kind of success for your body is not out of reach for most women if they understood how to achieve it.  It may take years to lose enough weight if the woman is seriously overweight (over 200 lbs is seriously overweight), but baring medical or hormonal disorders, I’ve seen it happen many times from the private fitness groups I’ve been in.

So… having the simple goal of looking your personal best, being strong and confident in a swim suit even after having multiple children, is just not as evil as some people make it out to be.  I think it’s normal and shows a woman’s strength and health.

 

Notes:  The woman, Doutzen Kroes, in the first photos has had TWO children.  The woman, Gemma Collins, in the later photos hasn’t had any.  And at that weight, she may have induced PCOS and is infertile 😦 .  So don’t let having babies be a mental block keeping you from losing the weight and enjoying being truly fit.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2545388/TOWIEs-Gemma-Collins-displays-curvaceous-bikini-body-Dubai.html