This is a quote from an episode of the School of Greatness podcast with Lewis Howes and Kathryn Budig and it has stuck with me. Kathyrn is a yoga instructor and author of several books focused on women’s health, nutrition and self-image. Similar to Kathyrn, I’ve had the honor of working with hundreds of clients from professional athletes to extreme weight loss and guess what? Every single one of them has had issues with their bodies and often still do. You heard me, professional athletes are not exempt, we can always find things we want to change about our bodies, regardless of how they look. This epidemic of regret, doubt, and personal disappointment is known as body shaming and I want to share my own personal struggle with you.
In the words of the iconic Sir Mix-a-lot, ‘baby got back.’ I used to be embarrassed about my big hips, butt and thighs, growing up as a Tom Boy it seemed natural and I never gave it much thought but that all changed when I moved to Toronto and started working in the fitness industry. I was quite clearly ‘not in Kansas’ anymore, working in an extremely busy downtown gym with the “bulk” (no pun intended) of my co-workers made up of fitness models and body builders. This was a whole new world to me, I grew up in rural Nova Scotia and didn’t know a single person who looked like this but in a few short weeks this had become my new norm.
Gone I thought were the Nova Scotian fish and chips, replaced with daily boiled chicken and broccoli and isolated chest and bicep exercises three times a week. I became insecure about my “athletic body”, embarrassed of my curves. I thought I had to be thinner, have more muscle, eat only boiled food, plus, my hips were too wide, my butt was too big and my upper body was not “toned” enough. I had spent my entire life being active, playing every sport, running in the back yard, hiking, biking but apparently that was all wrong, that wasn’t ‘fitness’ and I needed to start over.
The athletic body is all different shapes and sizes BUT it will rarely ever look like your favourite magazine cover. I’m sorry to break it to you but you can’t just follow that workout routine found on page 19 and expect to get the body of that month’s cover model, nor should you want to.
The athletic body is strong, functional and confident. The athletic body has big muscles, lean muscles, body fat, and even cellulite. The athletic body comes in the shape of short men, short women, tall men, tall women. There is no one size fits all when it comes to the athletic body. This is a difficult concept to grasp, we have been fed a steady diet of misinformation from major brands in several industries: fitness, pharmaceutical, clothing, etc. All in hopes of shaming us in the door and opening our wallets for the magical solution. That solution doesn’t work, instead we need to address our personal opinion of ourselves, it is going to take time and work but it can be done and I want to help.
3 Mindset shifts to own the body you are in:
1) Acceptance. Accept the body you have right now, not the future, not the past. This is the body you have and if you don’t love it right now then you never will. Accept that it is ok to have curves, cellulite, imbalances, etc. You are enough, you always have been enough and you will always be enough. It may be the hardest shift to make but the most meaningful.
2) Respect your body. Your body has done a lot for you, it is has healed your injuries, fought off illnesses, hugged loved ones, and ran as fast as it could away from your big brother. Unfortunately, we are hard-wired to think negatively about our bodies first, there are always things we want to “change” or “upgrade”. Your body has already done so many amazing things for you, getting you to this moment. Why not show it some love? Respect it and care for it the same way it has respected and cared for you. This means, getting more sleep, eating well, moving every day, meditating, spending time on self-care. ‘You only have one body, why not treat it right’ We should just live based on quality, not quantity, living an extra 15 years in bed-ridden misery because we refused to respect and care for our body earlier is not a desirable fate.
3) Start Now- It may be hard for you to completely love the body you are in right now, I get it, it takes love, patience, and practice every single day and you will never be perfect, but that’s not the point. We can’t dwell on it, we have to move on and if you would like to change something about your body, take action NOW, not tomorrow, right now. Do you want to start eating healthier? You can have ONE more serving of veg with your next meal, you can add one more glass of water before you go to bed. The best time you can start something was yesterday, the second best is right now.
The process is challenging, and by no means am I perfect. I still struggle on certain days when I wish I was a little bit more or less of something but like everything else worthwhile it is a process.
What does your athletic body do for you? This is not about posting the perfect picture, it is about being proud of the miles it has walked, how high it has climbed and the scars you have accumulated.
I am going to leave you with this badass video put out this week for International Women's day by allure magazine, click here to check it out
- Sylvie (OG Lifestyles)
Ps. My Inner Athlete Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching Program launches this week! Join the wait list here and receive more information with early discounted access. (*** There is no obligation to sign-up for program joining the wait list, it is simply to get more information)