One thing I’ve realized as a fitness instructor is that bodies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Those who work out… specifically women who work out, want the perfect weight and proportions. But here’s the hard truth: You’ll never feel skinny. I tell you why I feel this way in today’s blog.
“I Just Want to Look Like You!”
As a group fitness instructor, people tend to idolize my shape, whether I’m carrying a few extra pounds (bingeing on pizza will do that to you) or I’ve slimmed to my skinniest (teaching high intensity classes will do that too!). I can’t tell you the amount of times a student has come up to me after class and said “I just want to look like you. Then I’ll be happy.” But here’s what I’ve actually noticed:
- Our bodies don’t work like most people expect them to. When it comes to exercise and dieting, you can’t predict where exactly you will lose the fat that you want. Sometimes it comes of the places that you want it in. Your breasts and butt first if you’re gifted like I am (note the hint of sarcasm in that one?), your tummy and thighs last. And PS – those bat wings may never go away!
- What you see in the mirror doesn’t fix deeper, internal issues. If you’re unhappy with your life, changing the way you look may make you feel better temporarily, but not for the long haul. I’ve seen women and men of all ages achieve their weight and body fat loss goals only to set new ones. Or they fall back into old habits, lose confidence, then struggle to make it all happen again.
The Lesson: Most people are never happy with their bodies, whether they achieve their goal weight or not.
“Hard Bodies” Are Hardly Achievable
But why have we become this way? My take is that we’ve become so used to a steady stream of fitness media that most of us think there’s a RIGHT way for our bodies to look.
- Toned yet curvy
- Slim yet voluptuous
- Strong yet glamorous
- Sexy yet tasteful
Well here’s a little tidbit from someone who is not only a fitness professional, but also a content creator… those bodies are often over-worked, under-fed, oiled up, spray painted on, AND photo-shopped on top of all that. You can keep lifting and running toward that ideal, but unless you’re a body builder, chances are low that you will ever reach it. Don’t get discouraged, though. I’m here to offer up an alternative…
Stop Aiming for Skinny
I’m not trying to promote any specific physique agenda (even the “strong is the new skinny” campaign has it’s faults). What I’d like instead is for you to start thinking about what’s BEST for YOU.
- Feeling healthy
- Being happy
- Finding a sense of fulfillment
Trying to force your body into a particular shape is like feeding yourself with empty promises.
Figure Out What Brings You Joy.
Are there things that you do once in a while or have done in the past that filled you up with feelings of excitement, peace, or gratitude? Find a way to incorporate at least two or three of those things into your life every week. It could be:
- Spending time with positive people
- Spending time in nature
- Enjoying a cup of coffee or tea while reading a book
- Singing in the shower, etc. etc.
Chances are there are dozens of things like this in your life, but you haven’t taken the time to formally incorporate them into your routine. Make them habits so you can experience that joy regularly.
Take Care of Your Health.
There are a few things you need to stay healthy.
- Eat nutritious food – Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect. Just taking a little bit of time out each day to learn about nutrition helps
- Exercise regularly (not religiously) – engage in activities that are fun and make you stronger, even if it’s just nine or ten minutes.
- Seek emotional/psychological stability – a regular practice of yoga or meditation can help get you started. Also, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Therapists are a hugely underutilized resource.
Healthy Habits, Healthy Life
Being skinny doesn’t equal being healthy. Nor does it guarantee that you will ever feel good about yourself. But treating your body, mind, and spirit right is a good step toward finding balance and fulfillment. So, to reiterate…
My advice: Stop trying to feel skinny.
Take it from someone who has been larger, smaller, and finally landed at feeling good. Skinny means nothing. And I’d rather put my time and effort into something worthwhile. Wouldn’t you?
PS – If you’re interested in learning more about building a routine of healthy habits, for a healthy, happy life, PN Coaching might be right for you. It’s a year-long deep dive into a sustainable lifestyle of healthy eating and wellness. Best of all, all lessons are online. Click here to learn more about this life changing program!