I’m opening this blog with a huge declaration: Being “fit” is NOT about shrinking your body.
I saw something on IG yesterday that really triggered me to go on a little rant here. I saw an IG post from someone I personally know (a person of the male persuasion), and it pictured a woman with the caption “5 Weird Things That Help You Get Fit.”
I won’t talk about all of them, although I found the entire post to be problematic AF. Instead, I’ll just focus on the one that really irked me.
Here is the tip that was so problematic that it literally took everything in me not to comment and start an entire discourse on why it’s NOT ok to promote these types of messages:
Buy a pair of jeans 3 sizes too small.
What in the actual fuck?!?
Like really? We still doing this? It’s 2017, and we are still peddling fitness services by marketing to the insecurities of people, particularly women? Like brah, I NEED YOU TO DO BETTER.
You don’t even get a side eye for that type of nonsense. Nope, I’m throwing full on shade.
The idea was that if you buy a pair of jeans too small (3 sizes too small at that), it will keep you motivated to stay active, stick to your diet, blah blah blah.
Here’s the real question. How is being fit synonymous with being a certain size?
So you mean that only certain size women can be deemed fit? Only certain body types? You mean that you can’t be fit unless your goals revolve around shrinking your body and wearing smaller clothes? Because that’s the reason all women work out, right? Because we ascribe our personal value to the size of our jeans and the hope of one day being smaller?
I was so triggered by this because I USED TO BE THAT WOMAN.
This bullshit marketing would have worked on me several years ago.
And by worked, I mean it would have shamed me into lower my calories once again, committing to upping my cardio to multiple hours per day, to stop taking rest days because I hadn’t reached my goal yet so I obviously didn’t deserve any days off, to swear off “bad” foods, to go another 900 calorie a day diet, to look in the mirror and pick apart my body, to question my worthiness, to ask myself once again why I couldn’t be more committed, to hate my body even more, to commit to losing another 10 pounds, to scroll through IG and find women I thought I needed to look like, to decide that I would be happy once I fit into those jeans smaller jeans, and to buy whatever this dude was selling because maybe he held the “secret” to help me finally successfully shrink my body to an acceptable size.
I was the woman who purposely bought clothes too small for me and imagined how great I would look and feel in them once I reached my goal weight. I legit had jeans in my closet with the tags on them because they were my “goal jeans.” I had them for years.
I also had several pairs of jeans from high school that I kept because I needed to fit back into them. When I could wear those again, then I would know that my body was finally good enough. Because obviously a great goal for a grown woman is to fit back into the jeans I wore when I was 17; makes total sense.
Not only did I own these things, but I would try them on frequently to see how close I was getting to being able to fit them. When they didn’t fit or get closer to fitting, I would become discouraged and berate myself further for my lack of discipline, willpower, and commitment.
I speak sarcastically about these things not to mock them or make light of them. It fact, it was an extremely painful time in my life because I was perpetually unhappy with my body, and I was constantly being bombarded with messages like the one above.
The messages that tell woman that we will be feel better and more confident once we reach that goal weight or wear those smaller clothes or get that “bikini” body. The messages that we aren’t worthy to feel comfortable and confident in our skin unless we are “skinny.” The messages that we need to work to get rid of our cellulite and work to fix our “problem” areas. The messages that tried to tell me the only acceptable fitness goals for women are to be smaller; to shrink and take up less space.
When I believed these lies, when I fell prey to the marketing of individuals who only cared to shame me into feeling bad about my body, to market to my insecurities, and to take my money, I never felt good.
There was always more weight to lose. There was always more flaws to fix. There was always smaller clothes to shrink into.
And before you jump to any conclusions, I don’t have any issues with people having fat loss goals. In fact, a lot of clients have fat loss goals which I help them accomplish. The truth is you can work on fat loss or other aesthetic goals while loving and appreciating your body at the size you are right now. These things are not mutually exclusive. You can do both.
The problem is when you strive for fat loss to “fix” yourself. In the words of Molly Galbraith of Girls Gone Strong, “Striving to improve your performance or aesthetics is wonderful, but if you’re doing it with the goal of “fixing yourself,” you will always feel broken, no matter how much you squat or what size jeans you wear.”
So here’s the question. Who gets to be “fit”?
The answer is simple. We all get to be fit, and you don’t need to buy jeans that are too small for you to get help you get fit or feel fit.
In fact, being fit has nothing to do with the size of your jeans, how big (or little) your muscles are, the presence or absence of cellulite, or how your body looks period.
If you ever come across advice on your newsfeed that’s anything remotely similar to the dude above, please do yourself a favor and unfollow. This type of advice is ridiculously stupid, lazy, and dangerous, and it preys on the insecurities of women. It’s just an EPIC fail.
If you ever catch me producing content that you feel preys on the insecurities of women (or men) or promotes messages intended to make people feel bad about their bodies in order to make money, please feel free to call me out.
It’s truly my desire to help women feel strong, empowered, fit, and confident in their bodies, and I never intend to do it by selling them on “fixing” themselves and definitely not by shrinking themselves. In fact, it’s just opposite. I want women to show up powerfully in their lives, to take up as much space as they want, to present themselves in the world however they desire, and to feel confident in their skin.
When I initially starting working out, it was with the sole intent to shrink my body, lose my extra body fat, get rid of the jiggle and my thick thighs, erase the cellulite, and get skinny. But through strength training, specifically powerlifting, what I actually learned is that I’m powerful beyond measure and the magic doesn’t happen in shrinking.
It happens in showing up powerfully in my life, creating a space for others to do the same, and using my mental energy not on the size of my jeans, but on how I can add value to the world.
I’m finally at a place where I’m completely unapologetic for my body, and strength training, specifically, powerlifting, helped me discover that. My love for lifting is the thing that allowed me to change my focus from what my body looked like to what body was capable of. My gratitude for myself improved. My appreciation for body soared. I realized my intrinsic value as a person was not based on what I looked like.
I finally threw out those jeans that were too small. I was never going to fit into them, and I was finally okay with it. I finally realized how I had set myself up for failure by buying into these lies. Not only that, but I now have a set of muscular quads and juicy glutes from lifting all the weights so I ain’t got time for jeans anyways. Did somebody say #TeamLeggings?!?
I now lovingly refer to my body as “juicy.” For the record, I mean that as a complete and utter compliment. I’m healthy, I’m happy, and I’m strong AF. As a matter of fact, I’m fit AF.
Lifting helped me change my relationship with my body in all the right ways. That’s one of the reasons I have a love affair with lifting, and it’s one of the many reasons I’m passionate about sharing it with others.
It’s also one of the reasons I created #PowerConditioning, my signature 12-week powerlifting and conditioning program designed to help you get StrongAF and Conditioned AF. I truly want people, especially women, to reap the benefits of strength because it’s truly empowering. Few things (IMO) make you feel as a bad ass as you do when you lift hundreds of pounds off the ground, but I’m admittedly super biased.
And nothing helps you stop chasing pant sizes or numbers on the scale like swapping that out for chasing strength gains.
It’s on sale for $47 this week (until Friday, October 27th at midnight). If lifting is your jam, I highly recommend snagging it before it goes away. You can read more about the details of the program HERE and purchase it HERE.
Can you relate to this blog at all? If so, please do me a huge favor and give it a share. The world needs more empowered women who are not afraid to take up space, play big, and show up powerfully in our bodies.
It also wouldn’t hurt to have more men who support us in these goals and abstain from posting messages like the dude who started this whole rant.
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