A friend said she wants to join a boot camp. I was like “No! Don’t!” because I pictured a mean, muscle-y man yelling at people, making them feel inadequate and ashamed, reinforcing their belief that they must lose weight in order to be OK, to fit in, to be more lovable. This is just my imagination so it might not be true of the fitness coach. But that mean, shaming person exists. S/He exists in our heads.
Upon further discussion, my friend said she’s gained quite a bit of weight from her two grande caramel macchiatos per week over a few months. She’s going to a wedding in the summer, and instead of buying a new dress, she wants to fit into a nice dress she already owns. I agree, that is my economic reason for staying in shape too. It’s very reassuring that she has a concrete goal.
The important thing to consider when we want to lose weight is why. A lot of ads, commercials and magazine advice assume people want and need to “look better” as they name a lot of different potential weight-loss solutions and body-shaping exercises. When we see it and hear it constantly, we easily come to feel like we should be doing them.
I just want to make sure we’re not being led by voices that are not our own, or by the mean, shaming voice, to feeling inadequate, less-than, and not worthy based on our body shape and size.
Do we want to change our body out of fear or out of love?
If at the bottom of our heart we think: if only we can be skinnier (or rounder, curvier, bustier, etc) , we’ll finally find someone special / fit in / be lovable; and if we resent and agonize over the shape and size of our bodies, we’re in fear.
There is another voice inside of us who tells us we can be our better self. She says, Why not do some exercise? Everyone can benefit from some exercise! Any amount of it is good! And she says, Why not take a break from your workout today, you feel so tired. Why not cut down on sugar (or overeating, alcohol, grease, etc), try it and your body will let you know that it is OK without it. Why not change your routine, you are getting bored and it’s no longer enjoyable. Or maybe your voice doesn’t talk about fitness and weight at all. It just tells you when you better take a nap, take a walk, and then go hang out with your loved ones, or spend an hour doing your favorite thing.
This voice is Love.