Be Your Own "Fitspo"

When you do a Google image search of "fitspo", you find that 99.9% of the pictures are of girls and/or guys with a shredded six pack, a thigh gap, or "motivational" phrases such as, "Would that cupcake taste as good as a flat stomach would feel?" These are the pictures that can cause self destruction, comparison, body shaming, and eating disorders. You start to think, "I must not be fit if I don't have a visible six pack or a gap between my legs", so you do anything in your power to achieve society's definition of "fit". I say this, because this was me (and yes, I do still have days where this IS me, and I struggle with comparison).

You know what I say to that?  

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In the fitness world, abs are glorified and being lean 24/7 is prioritized. Have you ever truly wondered what makes visible abs so much more "important" than any oher muscle? Why is it that having abs is the only indicator of one being classified as "fit"? 

Society. That's why.  

(Insert middle finger emoji here) 

For years (and still some days today, I'm not perfect), I have picked at my self image and done everything I can to achieve society's definition of fit. I have fallen into the trap that society makes it oh so easy to fall into; the self destructing trap that led me to the weakest points in my life. I've restricted my calories, exercised the life out myself, done an endless amount of sit ups, and tried every new diet phase that was put out there, in hopes of achieving the perceived definition of "fit". And I still didn't have a six pack or an "acceptable" image according to what the media says. I thought, "What's wrong with me? What am I doing wrong?". The answer to that is...

Everything

The calorie restriction? Wrong

Obsessive exercise habits? Wrong.

Low carb, high protein diets? (Disclaimer: This may work for some people, but wasn't sustainable for me)  Wrongo.

And most importantly, the self hatred and overly critical mindset. WRONG.

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The truth is, I've now realized and am learning to accept that there are SO many factors that can play into how your body looks.

The first? GENETICS.  

I don't care what fitness guru said it or what the magazines say, genetics play a huge role in your body shape and how it transforms/performs. Even at my lowest weight of 89 pounds, I didn't have a six pack. So if I didn't have visible abs in the single digits for a body fat percentage, maybe I'm just truly not meant to have them. Take my dad for example, Mr. 12% body-fat-I-can-eat-whatever-I-want, is incredibly muscular and doesn't have a six pack. Our body shapes are extremely similar. Genes are a larger part of the equation than one thinks. Genetics affects your muscle shape, how quickly it responds to activity, ect. We are all different heights. Our bodies all store fat in different areas. No matter how hard you work, you will never look like person X. Your bone structure may cause your back to arche out more, your hips may be wider or narrower, or whatever your body type is, it comes down to the fact that everyone. is. different.

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Number two: Normal Weight Fluctuations & Hormones

There is not one single human being on the face of the planet who walks around, looking exactly the same every second of the day. Our bodies' weight and appearance change ALL THE TIME throughout the day. What you eat/drink, how much you eat/drink, sodium levels, ect, ALL play a part at the same time, Sorry not sorry, but I don't have a flat stomach after eating or drinking a gallon of water. In fact, I have a pretty pronounced food baby, AND HIS NAME IS CARLOS AND I LIKE HAVING A LITTLE FOOD BABY OKAY.

But seriously speaking, being lean 24/7 is unhealthy and shouldn't be sustainable for long term. Your body likes a little layer of fat, so leave it there! Would you take away a cookie from a child? No (unless you love crying kids). So think of that little layer of fat your body has, as your body's cookie. LEAVE IT AND THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS BE. 

More specifically speaking to women, our hormones play a huge role in how our bodies look. You know that lovely part of the month that makes us so happy, fun to be around, and feel super confident? (Apply an intense amount of sarcasm to the precious statement) Yeaaaaah. When our favorite Aunt Flo pays us a visit, our bodies can look like they belong to a different person. Water weight, water retention, hormone freak-outs...the amount of side effects are countless, and as sucky as it may be, it's natural, it's normal, and it. will. pass.

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So as you can see, there are many things that play into how your body looks, and not just based off of what you eat or how much you exercise. 

I would rather be able to eat some carbs than have abs. It isn't in my best interest to lean out. I don't want to skip family gatherings for food in public places in hopes to maintain a "fit body". Being incredibly lean really serves no functional purpose. It doesn't make your body preform any better than it would at a normal state. Having visible muscles doesn't make you any stronger than if they weren't as visible. So many people hire someone as their personal trainer just because they are shredded or have the "dream 6-pack". Just because someone is insanely lean doesn't mean they are physically capable of more than someone who isn't as lean as them. Yes, for some people they are incredibly strong at a lean state. That's how their body works. Genetics. Hormones. It's who they are. 

It may not be who you are. Who are you? That's for you to decide.

My definition of fit: Being mentally okay with myself and food. To feel strong in the activities I preform. To learn to accept myself in all stages, whether I'm having a bad body image day or not, because bad body image days are going to happen. To recognize the self critical thoughts on bad body image days, and realizing it is just Ed in disguise, trying to rear his ugly head into my life again. To have balance in all areas of my life. To not be afraid of food. To be okay with not being okay sometimes. Flawlessly flawed.

There are some areas of my life that I'm working on within my definition of fit. I'm a constant work in progress. I always want to look for new goals, ways to better myself, and to give myself something to look forward to.  

You are a constant work in progress. Be your own definition of fit. The more pressure you put on yourself to become what society portrays as a "fit" individual, the more guilty you feel when you just aren't able to, and the harder it becomes to create a balance within your life. Be strong, regardless of what you think it should look like according to media. Be cool. Be dope. Be confident.

And most importantly (and as cliche as it may sound)...

BeYOUtiful.   

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