About a year and a half ago, I connected on Facebook with a charming blogger over an issue that we both had similar views about. She struck me as being someone who is at peace with herself, quiet yet strong and very talented. In the last few months, I’ve been following her writing more closely and have been very impressed with her engaging style. Today, I’m happy to have the lovely Fabida doing a guest post for Everyday Gyaan.
Fabida is an erstwhile Software Engineer and current Stay at Home Mom to her boisterous 5 year old. In between all the baking, nagging, reading and cuddling, she manages to blog a bit about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes. Follow Fabida on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus
Balancing Self-Acceptance And Fitness
The first month of the year has ended, and those of us with resolutions are busy taking stock. One thing that struck me as different this year, is that a good many people are focusing more on mental well being like staying stress free or living in the moment than on diets and exercise. It looks like people are tired of singing the ‘I-want-to-lose-weight’ tune!!
In fact, the past few years have been seeing many campaigns geared towards body love and acceptance, with taglines like, ‘Enjoy your Curves’, ‘I Love my Thighs’, ‘Love the Shape You’re In’ and so on and so forth.
All the above campaigns stress that you should love your body no matter what your size and that perceived ‘flaws’ are just normal body parts. They emphasize the fact that you shouldn’t be misled by the media projecting skinny women as the beauty ideal, especially since they either have loads of trainers and plastic surgeons at their disposal or are simply photoshopped into looking like clones of each other.
And they’re right. There just needs to be any award ceremony involving a red carpet, and social media sites are abuzz with who wore what – a lot of which comes down to body comparisons and people ‘ooh’ing and ‘aah’ing over someone’s toned legs or gravity defying behind. It’s no surprise then that we end up with a generation of women who obsess about every part of their bodies leading to absolutely ridiculous body fads like ‘thigh gaps’ and ‘bikini bridges’. Seriously, since when do we measure the gap between our thighs and what significance does it have with regards to our general health?
I suppose that explains the existence of all the ‘Love your Body’ campaigns. But while I wholeheartedly agree with the message that your body is not something to be trashed and found fault with all the time, I sometimes wonder if political correctness is taking the focus away from health. After all, there’s no denying the fact that obesity is NOT something to be loved and appreciated. And it’s not just about appearances or skinny girl-shaming (“Someone give her a sandwich!!”). There are heaps upon heaps of scientific research that tell us the various health conditions that arise from being overweight. You can’t just ignore all that and say you love your body. Throw your genes and age into the mix and it becomes that much more complicated!! In the spirit of body love, the idea of a plus sized Barbie has stirred up a controversy on Facebook regarding encouragement of unhealthy body proportions. You can read more about it here.
My point is, there has to be a middle ground.
I came across this quote on Pinterest that says, “I don’t work out because I hate my body, I work out because I love it.” That statement, I think, says it best. You love your body because of all the wonderful things that it’s doing for you, and you care too much about it to leave it susceptible to illnesses.
Here is a simple little 3-step Plan to reach that elusive middle ground:
1. Acceptance – Of yourself as a person, of your genes and your body. We all have certain body types which we were born with and it is futile to try to change that. You want to be the best version of yourself, not someone else. This also includes acceptance of others, and not being judgmental.
2. Setting the Right Goals – Yes, you want to look good in the clothes you wear but think beyond that. Aim to stay within a healthy weight range, and to increase your stamina, flexibility and balance. These are what will keep you agile and fit at all ages.
3. Having Fun – In his famous Sunscreen song, Baz Luhrmann said, “Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. ” Truer words were never spoken!! Dance, swim, do somersaults, run after kids, get on the swing – do things that actually make you enjoy your body without worrying about how it looks, but rather about how it feels.
Doesn’t seem too complicated now, does it? Setting yourself free of restrictive body images is liberating not just for your body, but for your soul as well. Welcome to a year full of peace, self love and good health!!
Have you ever dealt with body image issues? How did they affect your overall health?