shifting body perspective: strong is not a look
I don't know how I could write about anything other than tidbits from the past weekend of GoodBodyFeel Teacher Training. So many lessons. So many feels. This is becoming a common theme with this training month to month I tell ya.
Something that has stuck with me since, was Jo Gale's message of STRONG IS NOT A LOOK because well, you know, it's not.
Last week I wrote a post about the damage that restricting certain foods in your diet can do, and I was so moved by the response. Many of you reached out and expressed your support of the message by sharing your own struggles with food. It was really heartwarming to hear how much that post resonated with you, because that means we're slowly starting to shift our minds on what it really means to feel and be well. Let's get rid of the before and after picture #fitspo stuff, and instead make room for more compassion to others AND to ourselves.
Because we all have our issues with body image or food anxiety to some degree, don't we? So let's speak up about it!
In my early 20's I started to have some pretty concerning digestive issues that lead me to cut out certain foods from my diet that were doing harm to my body. But even just cutting out those foods, I still felt awful, and would often skip meals in order to ensure that I could get through a shift at work, or a hangout with friends without having to deal with any stomach pain until I was home.
And I'm the kind of person who gets real hangry when I'm hungry, so it sucked for both me and those around me...
And as a result of this restriction and elimination I started to lose weight in a very unhealthy way. I felt awful in my body: crampy, bloated and had such little energy to do anything I wanted to. Yet, on the outside, I was told I looked great, fit and thin. Because for some misguided reason, weight loss is almost always seen as a good thing, to be celebrated, to praise someone for.
And you know what that's saying to that person? That they look great NOW. That before, prior to this weight loss, they didn't look as great. It tells that person that whatever they're doing to lose weight, no matter if it's restricting their food intake, working out excessively or obsessing over their body, they should stick to it, because it's working.
I had a coworker ask me what my secret was, and when I half-joked that I had cut out most foods from my diet, he told me to stick to it... WHAT!?
STRONG IS NOT A LOOK.
How your body looks does NOT define how you show up. It does not define how many elevator squats you can do at R&B pilates, or how long you can hold plank. It does not define how or when or where you choose to move (or not move) your body or how you TREAT other people, what you mean to other people or how important you are to this beauty planet we're all a part of.
We are so much more than something as trivial as our looks, which is sometimes clouded by things like the world of social media. So this is a call to stand up and be okay with kindly asking others to shift their observations from the mere shape of your flesh to more important things. It is so inconsequential to who you ARE, so let's shift that focus to what really matters when talking about others and when talking about ourselves.
I'm gonna end with this quote from Rupi Kaur, because she is SPOT ON with her words:
“I want to apologize to all the women I have called beautiful
before I’ve called them intelligent or brave
I am sorry I made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on I will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because I don’t think you’re beautiful
but because I need you to know
you are more than that”
STRONG. IS. NOT. A. LOOK.