As my alarm goes off and I grab my phone one of the first thing I do is tap the Instagram app. There are some #tbt pics, friends, inspirational quotes & then a chunk of fitness photos. Women with abs, women with round shoulders and lean arms and women wearing thongs to show off their perfect firm glutes (yes thongs on the internet). The second thing I usually do is climb out of bed look down at the cellulite on the back of my legs and head toward the bathroom. I glance in the mirror and notice all the “imperfections” my body has. I finish up my daily routine & head to my first job where I train people to be “more fit”, “toned”, “lean” and any other adjective people use when referring to becoming healthy.
In today’s society we are bombarded with what health “should” look like. For years I thought “being healthy” ment to have abs, to eat “clean” and to sacrifice activities and leisure time to look a certain way. There came a point in my life (about a year ago) where health no longer ment those things. I have been an athlete my entire life and I have been a figure competitor for the past 4 years. Throughout those 4 years people looked at my as the poster woman for “health”. I was lean (6-8% body fat at times), I could do pull ups, I had abs and cuts in my legs and I prided myself on looking that way. What a lot of people didn’t and don’t realize is 6-8% body fat is unhealthy for women. There were months I went without a menstruel cycle. There were days on show prep I was literally gagging down egg whites because that’s what “it takes” to be a competitor. There were times I would sit in my room and cry because I wasn’t lean enough or because I had no energy to even have a social life. Not exactly ideal for a “healthy” woman.
On Instagram, Facebook, twitter etc. We see women daily who are healthy and fit. They post about their “clean eating” lifestyle, they post pictures of the treadmill timer showing 60 minutes and 500 calories burned, they post quotes stating that if you go out for a night with friends you aren’t “hardcore” enough for the fitness industry. Maybe that makes them truly happy.
Personally, I love working out, the fitness industry and the science behind eating for your body. It is something I am passionate about. However, there are a lot of other things I am passionate about and things that make me truly happy. If I lived each day wishing I was thinner, wishing my abs were visible, wishing I looked like someone else; I may have never noticed all of the other things I am good at besides being fit.
Don’t get me wrong- we should not overlook the obesity epidemic and say “love yourself no matter what”. People should always love themselves, however health should be a top priority for indivials and families. Some people out there will never have abs, will never have the “famous thigh gap” and will never get to 8% body fat and that is FINE. Those things are not the perfect image of health.
So the next time you scroll through Instagram and see that itty bitty bikini bottom hardly covering buns of steel here are a few things to remember.