Good morning !
Day 5 – great work on getting this far!
Even if you’re just reading emails for now, or still yet to start.
That’s ok. We are all on our own journey.
I hope one of these emails hits you where you need it, and you find your WHY and get started.
Today is a pretty big topic, that I’ve covered before but it never goes away.
Today is about body image and self talk.
I always like to learn the reasons why behind a lot of our beliefs about ourselves – it can shine a light on how ridiculous they are sometimes.
So here’s one that is just bizarre to me..
We all know that having curves and being a little ‘chubby’ was the fashionable thing not that long ago.
Being more round but also ‘dainty and fragile’ was a status symbol – it showed that you were rich enough not to work and also had more than enough to eat. You had people to bring you the food instead of doing hard labour to feed yourself.
One of the many pressures to be ‘thin’ followed when food became cheap and mass produced around the 1950s.
Now, anyone could become overweight – so it became a status symbol to be THIN.
Being a thin wife meant your husband was rich enough for you to stay at home, barely eating except for the now mass produced diet pills and shakes, and do no physical work. Because you were too weak to work.
So frail that you can’t work, so you can show all your neighbours how rich you are.
There were 100 other pressures that made us focus on ‘thin’ but this one stuck out to me as SO ridiculous.
And it wasn’t that long ago, so has been passed on from mothers to daughters and here we are – still obsessed with ‘thin’ and ‘skinny’ – sometimes we kid ourselves and call it ‘toned’.
Ok enough of the history lesson, but the point is:
Healthy might not be the same as ‘thin’ for your body.
It isn’t for most of us, and it definitely isn’t for me.
It also becomes less realistic with each year that passes.
If you are looking at photos of your 19 year old self and getting annoyed you can’t get back there, that weight might not actually be healthy for you anymore.
Often our ‘ideal’ bodies are not achievable for us but we keep obsessing over them.
It might be a tiny waist but strong abs, delicate shoulders but toned arms and back, round bum but thin thighs, no cellulite but curves in the ‘right places’ <<< a huge bag of contradictions.
I encourage you to examine what you are chasing as ‘ideal’ and re-evaluate based on your health.
I was forced to do this when I started enjoying high intensity exercise – because the body that was coming out was NOT the body I had in my head as ‘perfect’ (that damn perfect word again).
Here’s what I had to let go of, in order to be my healthiest:
– No tiny waist, because that meant weak abs. Core exercises give me a thicker waist
– To stop lower back pain from working at a desk, I need strong glutes and quads. That means thick legs. They wobble when I run. Because now I like running, because I am strong enough to do it.
– I wanted ‘toned arms’… that means muscles (‘unfeminine muscles’). So the guns are growing 💪
– To improve my posture and mobility, I worked on my back and shoulder muscles. This means no ‘ultra feminine’ shoulders.
Ultimately, I have to let go of SKINNY or THIN and replace it with HEALTHY and STRONG.
This took time, many years, of finding exercise and strength. And I still slip back into old thought patterns sometimes when I see ‘perfect’ bodies.
But I try to set an example of giving up on an unreal goal, and going for what my body is capable of.
So, what unreal ideal are you going to let go of?
P.S If you want to read more about this, I highly recommend the book Burnout. It’s about stress, hormones, emotions, body image – and what to do about them all based on science.
This article is really informative.
Thank you Saze! I am glad it was of use to you.