So last week I shared a post on Instagram that took a heap of courage to upload. It was something I had been meaning to do for a while, but a little bit of fear held me back each time I went to post: “What will people say?” “Is this even a powerful image?”
I finally bit the bullet and uploaded the before/after image knowing deep down that to be true to myself, my business and the message I am committed to sharing, then I needed to bare all – and as uncomfortable as it may be, if it means I can help at least one person, it is totally worth it.
I did not expect the wave of support, love and exposure this one post gave me. It gives me goosebumps.
It’s time to flip the #fitspo trend on its head once and for all. Social media is such an incredibly powerful tool in so many ways, but it is also incredibly damaging – especially for those dealing with a mental illness or some level of body image challenges. I am ALL for fitness and health and promoting a happy and healthy life, however what I have noticed is that the #fitspo trend, much of the time, is promoting unrealistic body image ideals for every day people who yes, are committed to working out and eating well, but may not have the physique of the Insta-celeb fitspo account with the abs and tanned skin and thigh gap. While this is completely okay and wonderful if you are mentally stable, and incorporating other elements of health and wellness (like adequate sleep, rest, self love, passions, gratitude and the list goes on), I see that much of these profiles focus SOLELY on what you eat and how you train.
We aren’t stupid. We know that to lose weight we need to eat healthy, and possibly less, and exercise more. But THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO IT THAN THAT.
If it was really that simple, there would be no multi-billion dollar diet industry (yes it is an industry, it is a business, and people make money off you being unable to lose weight) and we would all be flaunting our ‘summer ready beach bodies’ like nobody’s business.
What I am trying to say is – what you weigh, your body shape in general and how you look, is ONE SMALL ELEMENT of your overall health and wellbeing.
I see it ALL the time with my clients – coming to me wanting to lose weight when, in reality, there are MUCH deeper issues below the surface that need addressing first. Not feeling good enough, or beautiful, or worthy. Comparison-itis, not just to strangers on social media, but to family and friends. Poor sleep, panic attacks, coffee addictions, other addictions.
Here’s the thing; if these deeper emotional issues aren’t challenged and worked on first, you will NEVER feel healthy, happy and well. No matter what the scales say, no matter how skinny you look, no matter how many compliments your ripped stomach muscles get.
I know because I have been there.
Look at that first image. Look at the bags under my eyes, the forced smile on my face. I was tired, I was anxious – I remember the day before this picture was taken I stood in front of the mirror in tears because my body wasn’t at the point I wanted it to be. Yep, I hadn’t lost enough fat from my hips, my arms weren’t toned enough, my butt could have been bigger. Looking at the picture now saddens me, because I was just so lost. I thought that if I looked my best, I would FEEL my best. How wrong I was.
Now look at the picture on the right. I am genuinely glowing with happiness and health. My thighs are touching. There ain’t abs here! BUT I am getting a solid 8-9 hours a night of uninterrupted sleep, I can’t tell you the last time I had a serious panic attack, my skin is glowing, my body is thriving, I am eating healthily and without guilt (and just quietly I am having WAY more sex in the second picture…my libido was non-existent in the first).
If you are training and eating well and incorporating rest and a balanced approach to health and wellness on all levels, then I absolutely applaud you. Upload those before and after pictures, and selfies because honestly, you have earned it! I LOVE seeing people share selfies of genuinely happy bodies and results – it is the epitome of self love and I am all for it.
However if you are struggling with your weight or body image, and you think that once these two things are in order then your life will fall into place, think again. Look within. What are you REALLY trying to find? Happiness? Love? Chances are it is there already – you just need to recognise it in yourself.
You are beautiful. No matter what the scales say.