Have you ever caught yourself wondering if you’d be happier if you were a stone lighter? Or thought of all the things you would wear/do/visit if you were thinner? It is the messaging I hear all too often. Women telling me that they hate their bodies and want to be slimmer, lighter, tighter. But I have to honestly say, after many years of training women, that slimmer does not equal happier. Wearing the next size of jeans down will provide, at best, a brief flicker of satisfaction but that’s where it will end. Happiness comes from the people you choose to spend your time with, the activities you fill your day with and the positive messaging you speak to yourself, not your body shape.
After 7 years in the industry I have noticed no obvious correlation of fitness to dress size. Some of my fittest clients are not my slimmest, nor do they give a shit. Why would they, they’re ridiculously strong and fit. They’re busy running marathons, cycling across countries and opening tough jars of pickled onions their husbands can’t open. In my opinion there are far more satisfying goals to have than to want to be slimmer.
Body shapes differ, just like eye colour, or hair texture. My body is not the same as anyone else’s and nor should it be. It’s mine, and it works, and it’s healthy and it’s beautiful. I have cellulite, barely any eyebrows and my thighs chafe when it’s hot and sweaty. But those same thighs help me squat more than my body weight and run marathons.
If you were having a really terrible day, a tough break-up, or lost your job, think of the person you would choose to call. Are they the person with the best body, the smallest dress size or the most perfect ass. I doubt it, they’re probably stuck at the gym. It’s the person who makes you feel happiest. The person who you know will help ease your worries. We remember people based on how they make us feel, not on what they weigh. Why then do we feel that our weight is so important, as if it defines us and that lighter must somehow mean better?
And who are we trying to lose weight for, when it can be so draining, such hard work and so miserable to focus on that little dial on the scales, constantly changing, rather than how exercise makes us feel, it surely can’t be us we are doing it for!? If it is to please others then stop and think ‘what would make me happy’, and do just that.
Now I am not saying don’t exercise, or go and eat all the fish and chips you want. I am talking about solely putting weight loss on a gold encrusted pedestal. What I want from all women is that they choose to be strong, healthy and happy, not weigh less.
Now that might seem like a vague goal. We’re always told that we should choose goals that are measurable. How can I really measure being healthier, or happier? The problem I see time and time again is that having a measurable weight loss goal, such as losing a stone, does not promote long term wellness. We lose the stone, realise it was horrifically unenjoyable doing so, and stop whatever diet/fitness regime we were doing before. If instead we choose to make lots of small changes to our life, that don’t involve drinking cabbage soup and farting our way through 6 weeks of hell, we are far more likely to do them forever. And if we fall off the wagon and forget to do one of those changes (mine is forgetting to do my Headspace) it’s ok. We can start again tomorrow.
So I say let’s stop judging our bodies on how they look, what they weigh and what dress size we want to be and instead choose health and happiness. Because no-one ever said “if I could go back and speak to my 18 year old self I’d tell them to diet more”.
Does this resonate with you, or do you know someone who would benefit from reading this? Please feel free to share the link with the incredible women in your life (copy and paste us into your social media posts). Hx