Helen’s Corner is one of our weekly emails where Helen (the resident adult of Trilogy) pontificates on life, fitness, nutrition and all the things intertwined with it. In this edition, she talked all about Body Image.
Ever wake up feeling mad at your body because it doesn’t look or feel the way that you want it to? Your back hurts, your stomach isn’t flat, you have a big bum…? We are constantly bombarded by ads, social media posts and magazine headlines (if you still read them, ha!) with messages like how to lose x pounds in x days, 30 days to a flatter belly, eat this new diet to feel better than ever, etc. No wonder it’s so easy to get caught up in what we don’t like about our bodies. This leads to extreme diets, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and lots of negative self talk. It can get to be so much so that people stop enjoying life because they are so fixated on this one thing.
When I first became more involved in fitness and health, I found myself focused on body image. How other trainers/fitness professionals look, how the industry says I should look. I became obsessed with reading all the articles and content on calories, eliminating as much sugar as possible, not drinking to be the ‘healthiest’ dang woman you would ever see. As a 21 year old, I found myself looking at food and beverages in numbers and being so restrictive that I basically gave myself an eating disorder. Extreme restriction led to binging on peanut butter, pistachios, pie… basically anything indulgent for a “cheat day.” Binges led to that guilty feeling you get after you eat 5 donuts and then feel like you have to spend all day at the gym to try to burn as much as you can off. I struggled with this pattern over the next few years. I knew I had to get it under control. I loved food. And I loved exercise. But I found I wasn’t enjoying them the way I had before.
I needed to make some changes.
Changes are hard to make, especially when we are trying to show ourselves some love. I’ve learned that self-acceptance, focusing on actions instead of outcomes, counting the little wins, and being 1% better is how we really start to minimize the negative self talk. Start looking at what your body is capable of now. Instead of thinking that your arms look fat, think about how they help you pick your kids up when they’re hurt, or help you do yard work. Instead of wanting six-pack abs, start by focusing on taking the steps needed to get down a pant/shirt size. Compliment yourself on taking a walk that day, choosing to eat 1 piece of candy vs 5 pieces, or eating a serving of fruit or vegetables. By reframing your mindset you allow yourself to be less stressed, love yourself more, and enjoy life in a new way.
We’re humans, not robots. Life endlessly throws curve balls, like Covid-19, and we slip up. That’s okay. We are in it together.