The value of the ideal body
For years I have been trying to illustrate my mission in this health and fitness space, to pinpoint exactly what I believe. It's quite challenging because although I enjoy the process of dieting and training and I love helping people learn more about it, I sometimes get worried that I could be doing more harm than good in the process. The other day, I figured out some stuff that made me understand my own concern a little more.
My biggest issue with the message or belief that happiness lives on the other side of weight loss is the most glaring. We CAN have value in a bigger body, we don't need to be cloaked in shame if we do. There are many fabulous humans in bigger bodies roaming the earth. The ideal physique is not a prerequisite for happiness. I refuse to sign up for perpetuating the lie that folks in bigger bodies need to seek smaller bodies, fuck that, I won't RSVP to that party.
Despite what we are told, happiness doesn't live on the other side of weight loss or having a better body, it just doesn't. The ideal body does not change your value. The process CAN add value but the outcome does not.
Through the incorporation of fitness and nutrition we can learn a lot about ourselves. We face fears, gain emotional strength, break up with damaging thought patterns or behaviors and navigate obstacles. We will likely miss it all though if our only focus is chasing a number on the scale. Damn I hate that. It seems like such a missed opportunity.
We would benefit from adjusting our lenses and see ourselves as humans who are filled with potential and worthy of joy.
For months I have been working on my first podcast. Podcasting has been a big goal of mine for a long time. I want it to encompass my beliefs with regard to health and fitness and help people create better relationships with themselves. Yesterday we were having a brainstorming session and working our mission, (shit gets really clear when you are trying to define your mission). In our discussion we said, "fitness and nutrition are only a piece of this human pie, they are ingredients that makes us better but they are not everything. With this podcast we are trying to introduce all the ingredients so people stop making bad pie. Nobody likes bad pie." Makes sense.
Fitness is a discipline much like yoga, it adds direction and structure to my days, it is the space where I explore my own limits, it's also a gateway to other amazing experiences. Our physical bodies are only a vessel. We want happiness and many of us suffer with if only, if only I were thin I would be happy, if only I had more money I would be happy, If only I had a better job I would be happy, None of that is true. We are essentially inserting an obstacle in-between us and our ultimate goal of happiness. Oftentimes that goal isnt even in our control. In this process we are missing out on joy. Isnt that odd? in the quest for joy we are cutting ourselves off from joy?
I hear myself when coaching my clients and I think I sound out of my mind when I talk about things like journaling and self care, gratitude, limiting beliefs and fears as essential tools. Those are some of the stepping stones that lead up to the side door. Let me explain, the front door is the obvious, in your face solution, in this case it's a better body. The side door is often unexplored, we are busy banging our fists angrily on the front door demanding happiness all the while the side door is open,, we only need to turn the knob and walk in. By simply shifting our approach and increasing our awareness we can walk right through this door and find joy more quickly.
In these past few years. I connected bodybuilding, my preferred form exploring fitness and nutrition, to my values. Bodybuilding became less limiting and more of an art form. I realized it was a joy, an experience I could make the decision to have. That was it though, it was a decision, not a "have to". I wasnt trying to find self love, I already had it. I wasnt trying to gain acceptance, I already had it. I gained all of that when I went in that side door, journaled, wrote gratitude lists, developed other hobbies, enjoyed friends added value outside of the realm of bodybuilding. Essentially I laid my practice on top of a solid foundation where I had integrated all of my things.
Most people reading this aren't bodybuilders BUT, most people ARE trying to find happiness and self acceptance and most people that come to me for help don't love the skin they are in. There is so much more to us than the skin we are in. I want to help people explore the rest of that space and find the happiness that lives there. Essentially, I want to invite people to accept this invitation to seek wholeness, honor all parts of their parts.
So, here it is, your invitation to look around with your new lenses. Explore what you want. Check your foundation for some cracks that may be causing you to fall. What parts of you are being ignored? What parts of you need a little attention? Remember that you are a WHOLE human.