I’ve been spending a lot of time writing about ways to eat healthy, exercise, and stay away from cookies but it’s time I touched on the most important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle: your own self view of YOUR own body. First of all, let’s get a few things straight, I’m even going to bullet them so you won’t miss any:
- No two people have the same exact body or body type
- You can’t change your bone structure
- There is more than ONE type of beautiful body, in fact there are endless types
- Perfection lies within being proud of what your body is capable of, not how it looks compared to others
- Perfection is imperfection
- Most photos you see online, in the news, in magazines are all photoshopped now (but some sources are doing things to start changing that)
Ok good, glad we’re all on the same page now. And feel free to add to that list, in your head, with your friends, or in a comment below. I already know I missed a lot of important points.
Let’s use an analogy (my friends tell me I’m good at these). Do you like cookies? Sure you do. Some people like chocolate chip cookies warm and gooey, fresh out of the oven; some people like to throw them in the freezer and then gnaw on them slowly. While others prefer peanut butter ones, molasses, sugar cookies, or would really rather have a bag of potato chips. Point is, in reality, all of those things are tasty. They all bring us satisfaction. Can we all agree that food is good? Cool. Same goes for body types. There are men out there that love a big ass, just like there are women that love a man with a chest full of hair – that’s because these are attractive aspects of people, some people just consider one thing preferable to another. Did I really just take a paragraph to lay that all out to you? Yes. I know you’re thinking “DUH!” but sometimes we need to be reminded of this, in fact, we need to be reminded of it a lot.
In my weight loss journey I keep saying things to myself like “I’ll be happy with my body when I can see my full collar-bone when I wear a strapless dress” or “when my waist is 5 inches smaller” yada yada yada. Even though, realistically, there’s a very good possibility that even if I do keep losing weight my collar bones may never “pop” the way I want them to. That’s because everyone stores fat differently. And just because your friend has lost weight and has a flat stomach, doesn’t mean you’ll get to that point just as fast, just as slow, or in the same ways they did. The key to everyone’s journey into lifelong healthy nutrition and fitness habits is learning how their body works, loving the ways it’s unique, and continually adapting to what their lifestyle needs are.
Stop working towards other people’s ideals and goals and KEEP working towards YOURS!
There are many tools in place to measure someone’s health, I don’t have the time (or the energy) to debate or explain how accurate these tools really are. In reality, they are quick tools used to assess someone’s heath in a timely fashion. High body fat %? You’re probably not in great health. Even though, myself included, it’s easy to pick apart the system. Should you be striving for a lower body fat % for better health? Yeah, probably, but it shouldn’t consume your mind and worry you until you reach “althlete” status. Some people tend to be thinner than others, some people struggle with food more than others, we all have our own battles and it doesn’t make one of us better than anyone else.
Another measurement tool I recently took more interest in is the Waist-hip ratio or WHR . Women tend to store fat in their hips and thighs as they advance through puberty and age, while men tend to hold more of their weight in their midsections. By measuring your waist just above your belly button and then your hips around the larger part of your bottom you can calculate your WHR by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement. Basically the smaller your waste is compared to your hips, the lower your WHR will be. I’ll jump in the pool first. Mine is a 0.7. So what does that look like?
Although I must admit, my bust isn’t even half that, the WHR holds true. I also want to share that when I first found this picture I immediately panicked in my mind and thought to myself “that’s a lot like what I look like” then I started picking it apart (I know, not even I, your all-mighty blogger am perfect). I kept going at this in my mind “her stomach is kinda fat, my stomach is kinda fat, are my hips really that wide?” Then I sat back, ashamed at myself as I read the comment below on the woman’s blog “This is the type of body I dream to have.”
Think about that for a second. Think about how many people out there are thinking the same thing about the body you already have while you’re off day dreaming about trying to look like someone else. Ironic, isn’t it? We need more self-love. No, you need more self-love. Are you loving yourself yet? Think about what you love about your body. NO! Not what you “hate.” What do you love? Say it out loud, whisper it if there are people around, ok mouth it to me. Yeah, that is sexy. Are you loving your body yet? Parts of it? Good. Now love it harder. This is YOUR body.
I could also go into a DEEP political shpeil about how much the media plays a role in what we internalize in terms of self-worth, attractiveness, and body image. But I’ll spare you the Sociology minor in me, at least for the time being. What I will say is take a look at how “ideal” body images are constantly changing, evolving, and in flux. Take Playboy for example, with the WHR of their centerfolds increasing from 0.62 in the 1960s to 0.7 in 2000 and beyond. It’s just interesting and the more aware of all of this you are, the better.
Live for life, strive for health, and obsess over how amazing you already are. Goals will be met in time. Remember that you’re a human being, not a manikin.