When I hear my friends harshly criticizing themselves, I have to ask, “Would you treat a friend that way if they were struggling with the same thing?”
Well, I’m going to have to take some of my own advice this time. There’s a girl I know who is absolutely gorgeous — judging by how often she posts pictures on facebook and the kinds of comments they get, surely she knows this! What’s more, she’s smart and talented. Our value is not in how we look, ladies! Anyway, so this girl posted today about wanting to lose 20 pounds, which would no doubt be very difficult at her already-healthy size and with her petite frame. Why would she want to do that? And yet here come the local women-bashers telling her that she just needs to have more self control. Quote: “Diet (self-control) is the FIRST rule of weight control.” That, by the way, is coming from a man who has a very crass label for any divorced woman, including this one he’s “friended” on facebook.
So I’m re-typing my advice to Emily as a means of reiterating it to myself: Encouraging women to shrink to unhealthy sizes by damaging methods is the first rule of making them weak and powerless! I recently shrunk myself to a “healthier” weight and could no longer do the things I enjoyed! I had to let myself gain some back, and I’m a bit frustrated that I have to be heavier than I want to feel strong enough to get out and do things, but, here I am.
So my best fitness advice, which I told my friend and will repeat to myself now, is this:
Make a list of the ways you would like to enjoy moving your body. Dancing, hiking, swimming, skating… whatever you really like to do. If you aren’t doing those things now, start. Even if it’s only a little at a time.* Then keep doing them, and keep getting better. Add in other exercise (like strength or endurance training) to help you get better at your chosen sports. Love your body. Give it the food it needs to feel great. If it needs to adjust itself to meet your fitness goals, it will over time. Just remember fitness is NOT a number, it’s how you feel and what you can do! Love yourself.
And don’t listen to ANYONE – family, friends, magazine ads, or even yourself – who would try to make you feel as though you’re not lovable as you are. If they can’t love you as you are, you should know they never will, no matter what you do to please them. They will always nitpick and blame your lack of self control, because really it keeps THEM in control of YOU. Encouraging women to shrink themselves to ridiculously unhealthy standards is a way to leave them weak and powerless. Just say NO. ❤
*They say you should check with your doctor before beginning any fitness program, and they are the experts, not me. Some of us can't afford that, but that's a post for another day. In the meantime, please do be reasonable and loving with yourself as you make changes. 🙂