Fitness isn’t about a number on a scale. Or the image in the mirror. Fitness is about health. Whole health — mind, body, and spirit.
I love my body. I appreciate how well it works, how strong it is, and how much it has been through. That’s why I am committed to making it better. To making it healthier. To being the best me I can be.
When I talk about losing weight, leaning up, gaining muscle, doing more — I’m not coming from a place of unhappiness and self-hatred. I am doing what I can to make my body a healthier, happier temple for my soul to reside in. I am an educated person, I understand how food works with my body and I know my body better than anyone else. If I say I need to lose weight or body fat, I mean it. It’s not a plea for compliments.
We’re a culture of affirmation. We live in a Facebook world where we anticipate our likes and throw comments out simply to get reassurance. This doesn’t help anyone. If your friend who is obviously not as fit as she’d like to be (even if her standards differ from yours) says she wants to get healthier, I would hope your first response is one of encouragement and positivity. “That’s great, way to go!” Because, when you tell someone they don’t need to do something they feel they do, you are downplaying their goals and essentially their future accomplishments. You’re not doing anyone a favor by giving them a way out, or making them second guess themselves.
Now, I understand there are people out there who have a problem. I suffered from an eating disorder for over 6 years and dropped down to barely livable weights before anyone really said a word. It was a very strong and supportive person who looked me in the eyes and told me “You are going to die,” that gave me the courage to seek help, and it worked because I wanted to be better. If you know a person like this in your life, do what you can to support them, but know that saying “You don’t need to lose weight!” or “You are so skinny!” isn’t going to deter them. It takes love, kindness, support, and their own will for them to seek help.
Good health is something to be encouraged and supported and it looks different to everyone.
I read this article this morning and I loved it. Especially this excerpt:
“On top of that, we understand human biology. Humans evolved in situations in which food was scarce. This led to an evolutionary adaptation that causes you to crave salty, sugary and fatty foods. Consuming foods with these characteristics actually lights up the same pleasure centers in the brain as cocaine.”
So when your friend is trying to change their eating habits, they are basically fighting an addiction they didn’t even know they had. It’s a tough road, whole wellness, but it starts one step at a time. If that first step is met when resistance it can easily lead straight back to where we were trying to break away from in the first place.