Your Body Shape Isn’t Your Body Image

02 Nov

YOUR BODY SHAPE ISN’T YOUR BODY IMAGE

 

I was never really afforded the “ideal” body shape. Whatever that means! Are any of us really afforded the “ideal” body shape? I spend my time exercising. I spend my life teaching others to exercise. I can work out for hours a day and I still have the typical roll of body fat on my stomach. Got a bit of cellulite in the usual places, but again…. what woman doesn’t? I’ve met plenty of women with the “ideal” shape and they have body fat like you and I. They have self confidence issues just like you and I. My logic is, “Even the most beautiful women have cellulite.” So why are we trying so hard?

I don’t necessarily equate my body fat with how I feel about myself. I’ve always loved the person I am as more than just my appearance. Let’s face it, I’m not a model. I don’t have to be nor do I wish to be. If you’re blessed with beauty then I admire that. My thought is that even underneath that beauty lay something far more important. The way you see yourself on the outside doesn’t always match what you see on the inside.

EVERY woman has something to offer. I decided long ago that I’ll never have the perfect “bikini body” and yet I wore a bikini anyway! I’m not saying you have to go and wear a bikini to feel confident. I guess what I’m saying is you need to wear your self confidence no matter what clothes you have on. That’s not necessarily dictated by how many tummy rolls you’re blessed with. I say, OWN THEM AND LOVE THEM! This is the only body we’ll ever have so why not enjoy it?

If you’re not feeling healthy in the body you’re in, then you have the power to change that. That requires eating well and exercising. It’s hard to do but well within your ability to change. The focus is on being healthy mentally, emotionally and physically. At the end of the day, I do not care what you look like. The goal should always be about health. Let’s work towards that.

Love yourself always!

Why I’m Perfectly Okay with My Imperfect Body

24 Sep

I feel pretty good today. I did a great work out and I feel strong and… a little bit hungry now.

I consider myself pretty blessed to not excessively worry about what I eat or how my body looks. You may look at me with disdain and think, “Yeah right..” The truth is in the course of my day, I maybe spend a few minutes in the mirror. I look at my hair and see some grey coming in. I brush my hair and tie it in a braid. Nowhere in the course of my day do I ever spend saying negative things about my body. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments. In general I have learned to control my thoughts and put my body in to action. Exercise always helps refocus that negative energy. By the end of the work out, I feel a hell of a lot better. Does it rid me of my cellulite? Nope. Nor do I expect it to.

My life has always been centered around exercise. I’ve worked out for close to twenty years. It damn well feels amazing to feel strong and healthy. I feel like I can take on anything. I wish every woman could feel that way about herself. The truth is those little things get the better of us sometimes. Those stretch marks, those wrinkles, the cellulite on our hips are all very much a part of being female. I can work out for three hours a day (and most days I do) and still there’s no ounce of perfection about my body. Do I feel better about the body I have? Absolutely!

I don’t expect to rid myself of my flaws. I show off my arms with pride even if they still jiggle a bit. Lots of me jiggles a little bit despite the fact I’m in great shape. That’s just the way my body goes. I’m pretty much okay with that. I don’t look at these so called flaws as a bad thing. It certainly will never keep me from loving life. I refuse to let that happen. How silly to let a bit of body fat ruin my otherwise good time. If you are one of those women who takes care of her body and works her rear end off and still has those jiggles, I say own it! Love it! Keep working hard and don’t let anything stop you.

   Loving your body starts with loving the person inside that body.

 

The Feminine Filter: What You Say is Not What We Hear

07 Sep

As women we think differently and feel differently.

When someone makes a negative comment we truly take it to heart. It impacts us emotionally and physically. Women overcoming eating disorders can pinpoint the exact moment someone made a mean comment. This sparked a negative spiral in their life. Many females who suffer from low self esteem can pinpoint exactly when and where something was said. We need words of support and encouragement.

The one thing I tell most men is that as women, we probably already know what’s wrong with us so stop pointing it out.

Here’s some real life examples:

 

“I can’t get her back in the gym. I keep telling her she needs to go.”

What we hear is, “I’m not good enough.”

 

“I tell her she needs to lose weight and she’ll feel better.”

What we hear is, “I’m overweight and I’m too lazy to do anything about it.”

 

Telling someone what to do usually has the opposite effect. Honestly speaking, no one wants to be told to get in to the gym. They especially don’t want to be nagged about it. What we need is emotional support and encouragement. Standing and pointing the finger and saying “here’s what I think you should do” comes across as judgmental and critical.

 

What we want to hear is:

“I’d love for us to be active together.

If there’s something you’d like to try,

I’m happy to help you get started in any way I can.”

Getting healthy is not an individual effort. It’s important for your partner to feel emotional support coming from you. It helps when it feels like you’re in it together. I hope that encouraging your partner helps her reach her true potential. Your words have power. Use them for good!

Women & Weight Training

17 Aug

      I could get away with it back in my early twenties. I don’t lift so heavy anymore…

Ten years makes a difference to the body. Being in my early thirties now, I realize that I don’t need to constantly lift heavy weight in order to be strong. Strength is an accumulation of time and effort spent lifting a variety of weight. I’ve learned the hard way when you lift so much all the time, it takes a toll on your body.

Weight Training in the Gym

I’m a strong advocate for women in the weight room. I have seen a shift from when I first started weight training at thirteen. I remember being surrounded by young boys trying to look buff. Weight training was not a woman’s sport. I’m happy to say many more women have adopted strength training in to their life. I have seen the benefit of consistent training. The key to continued success is to change the training.

I’ve been in the gym for most of my life. Twenty one years to be precise. I started lifting weight at my mom’s gym. I loved it! The feeling I got from being strong and capable has been a source of joy for me. The key to my continued success is to constantly change what I’m doing in the gym.

Changing the Exercise to Develop Strength

A client of mine and I were talking. She is in her early sixties and has been an avid gym goer her who life. “I can’t lift as much as I could when I was in my thirties.” That’s a good point. As you progress through life, so to should your exercise program change. I have no issue picking up a forty pound weight and putting it over my head. It doesn’t mean I need to do that all the time. It’s hard on my body. I like to reserve my strength for when I need it most!

There is such thing as lifting too much weight all the time. It’s counter-productive to developing strength. Lifting heavy weight all the time is terribly hard on your joints. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. When you get injured, your muscles atrophy and then you have to start again. It’s a vicious cycle. If you’re in to lifting weights all the time, then you know what I’m saying.

It’s not worth the risk of injury to lift excessive weight all the time. Your body needs rest and recovery. That recovery period is when your muscles grow. The mentality is to lift heavy all the time to gain muscle mass. If that’s the case, then you will pay the price.

I’ve limited my heavy lifting to once or twice a week. It’s enough to maintain the strength I have. That rest period between work outs actually allows me to lift more weight next time. In the mean time I’m working on stability training in order to accommodate my heavy strength training days. Lot’s of ab and back stability work on Swiss Balls and Bosu Balls. It compliments strength training nicely and allows me to be stable enough to lift heavy.

Canoe Paddle on Bosu Balls

This is my definition of ab work! I created this exercise to challenge both stability and core strength. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to keep upright while those bosu balls are beneath my feet. (Do not try this on your own without direction from a professional)

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Friday, August 10, 2018

 

For the average woman just starting in the gym, strength training three days a week is sufficient. It’s important to change your program every twelve weeks in order to develop strength. Change the program in order to get results. That’s my lesson here. If your goal is to get stronger, then you need to change what you do. That advice applies to beginners and more advanced gym-goers.

Whatever your goal is, keep at it and success will follow!

 

The Confidence Confusion

27 Jul

 I’m sitting down here today reading another headline story about a female celebrity who posted some pictures on instagram…

It’s a bathing suit picture with her rear end exposed in a thong bikini. A rear end is not much to get excited about these days! It’s hardly what I call nudity. To read some of the comments brought up an interesting subject. The message was one of confidence. People are looking at that thinking she’s trying to attract attention. Maybe she should cover up because people are just going to see her as a piece of ass. What does confidence have to do with the way we look?

Confidence reveals itself in different ways. I’m proud of my body too. I’d rather not wear revealing clothing. I think the message can be confused at times. Confidence doesn’t necessarily mean you should wear revealing clothing. I’m afraid we’re starting to associate body confidence with having to reveal our body. Is that the message we really want to send to our young girls? I know the intent is to teach self love. What if that girl is like me and doesn’t want to reveal herself like that?

Why are we portraying confidence as just a body issue?

Once again we are back at the same issue. Women are being judged by their looks. Confidence is being equated to only loving your body. Aren’t we more than our bodies? Why are we taking pictures of ourselves in bikinis and showing it off to the world? I think it’s wonderful to feel comfortable in your skin. We are more than what we look like. We can do more than just love our bodies. We can love our mind. We can love our character. We can love our skills and talents. Loving yourself in a bikini is part of the equation. You need to love yourself whenever and wherever you go.

The way you look is part of the whole. I think its one small part of a much bigger picture. Loving your body is one thing. I encourage you to think beyond your body. Self confidence is more than just the image you see in the mirror.

 

Image Sells & Intelligence Doesn’t

16 May

Image Sells & Intelligence Doesn’t

My thighs rub together and I don’t see it making headline news.

I often sit and cringe when I’m reading these articles about thigh gaps and body shaming. I sit there with a furrowed forehead and ask myself, “Why is this even a news story?” Does it really effect me when a women’s thighs rub together or not?  Is it too much to ask for society to admit that intelligent women exist? Not only that, we come in all shapes and sizes.

            It pisses me off that any article written about women has everything to do with how she looks. I want to see intelligent women doing intelligent things. Personally, I don’t really care how she looks. God forbid she’s saving lives! Oh no, she has cellulite! Let’s mention that first. Who really cares that she’s using her brains to help others?

          I spoke to a male teacher who articulated the problem so well.

A young woman will often hide her intellect but flaunt her body.” He told me.
My response,
We’ve been taught that a woman’s body is more important than her intelligence.”

He just nodded and said, “That’s absolutely true. Sad to think that is the case.”

That pretty much sums up the point I’m trying to make. While watching the Olympics, story after story of top level female athletes being criticized. These are women who are intelligent and athletic. I think most women would die to have a body like that. Even top athletes in top form are subject to judgment. Here are a few topics that I posted on my facebook page:

            “Why don’t the media take athletic women seriously?”

            “Canadian athletes can Identify with Mexican Gymnast who was body shamed.”

“As women succeed at Olympics, commentators fail to discuss their success without sexism.”

“Why do female volleyball players wear bikinis and men wear tank tops and shorts.”

            “You Throw; An Olympic shot-putters Feminist Mission.”

            I challenge you to find a headline where male athletes had the same problems. So what is it about being a woman? Is it because we have breasts or body fat that we are subject to harsh criticism? These are top athletes being judged on their looks. It just goes to prove a point. Women cannot win. You can be a top athlete or housewife, apparently your body subject to judgment.

It’s always interesting how a woman is judged for breast feeding in public and a nude photo of a female celebrity is deemed, “sexy.” Sure, a woman can show her breasts and be praised for being self confident but a woman nursing her child is seen as inappropriate. I’ve never understood that logic. As long as a woman is objectifying her breasts for the enjoyment of others it’s okay. If she’s feeding her child, it’s not attractive. I think there is nothing more womanly than a mother feeding her child. That is the epitome of womanly to me.

Someone who’s trying to market themselves and toting “self confidence” while showing her naked body isn’t something I can get behind. There’s a distinct difference. The woman feeding her child isn’t trying to market anything. When you genuinely feel confident about yourself it doesn’t need to be sold to the public. It just shows.

Eating What I Want: No shame, No Regrets!

22 Feb

Eating What I Want:

No Shame, No Regrets!

Because your weight isn’t all that matters.

Chubby Awkward Phase!

I went through that awkward chubby phase as a kid. I think we all did. Did I eat too much? Not really. Was I inactive? Hardly. Did I have a hang up with food? Never. I don’t actually remember food being an enemy of mine. My mom never made comments about my eating habits or my body shape.

In fact, she was always very active and taught me how to cook. Food was fun!

Playing Hockey with my Brother

I played every sport I could. I was pretty athletic as a little girl. Certainly not the dainty or delicate type. I always played with the boys becuase I could afford to be more rough. I don’t recall anyone calling me names or mentioning my weight. Looking back, I don’t think I ever had time to sit still long enough to listen. It never ever crossed my mind to be embarassed about who I was.

The Only Girl in the Gym- Eighteen Years Ago

 

I work with a lot of young women who suffer severe self esteem issues. It takes one negative comment to set these women on a negative course. Each one can pinpoint the exact comment. It’s fascinating how one innocent comment said in passing can change the course of a life. I’ve always wondered how that works. I’ve learned to develop a thick skin and really ignore nay-sayers. Doesn’t mean a negative comment doesn’t hurt. It simply hurts for less time.

I’d rather be happy and imperfect than miserable because I’m not perfect.

I decided my life wouldn’t be wrapped around being self conscious. I didn’t want to spend my life in the shadows because I have body fat. I took on a “Who cares!” Kind of attitude. I’m not in it to be perfect and I don’t have to justify my body to anyone. I learned a harsh lesson long ago. Those who are hurling the insults often are hurting inside. I feel sorry for those people and want to help them. That’s why I don’t take insults personally. It’s often never really about me.

I may come across as non-chalant. Is it really that easy to be so carefrere about your body? No. I’ve had many moments of self doubt. I’ve looked in the mirror and felt unpretty. I looked down at my stomach and wish it was flatter. I spent most most of my life feeling like the “ugly duckling” becuase guys were never interested in me. Yes, it bothered me. No, it didn’t bother me enough to make me want to change.

Trying to be perfect means chasing an impossible dream.

I’d rather be happy as an imperfect person than be miserable because I’m not perfect.

I’m not really hung up on food. I don’t count calories or worry excessively about carbohydrates and sugar. I’m “a little bit of everything” type of gal. I find much more freedom in allowing little bits of what I want. I’m still active and exercise 4-5 days per week. Will I worry about that one piece of birthday cake? Nah. I trust myself to keep it reasonable. Life is far too short to deny yourself something for the sake of a pound.

Take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to live.

Secrets for Women in Exercise: The Group Mentality

16 Feb

The Group Mentality:

Secrets of Success for Women in Exercise.

Having a little too much fun before class!

Having a little too much fun before class starts!This group works so hard. Way to go ladies 🙂

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Getting Stronger Together.

After fifteen years in our group exercise class, comraderie rings true! These women were having some fun before exercise class. They were jumping around to the music and laughing. It epitomizes my entire article in one short video. Why are group classes so successful for women?

I definitely notice a difference between female and male participation in a group setting. Women seem to participate in higher numbers. That’s not to say males don’t participate in group classes. These women in the above video have been members for fifteen years and participate four days a week. What keeps them motivated?

There’s still a misconception that group classes for women are “girly”. I don’t like using that term. I use it as a way to describe the sterotypes that go along women in exercise. I’ve heard the term “Jazzercise” or “Booty Bootcamp”. These terms come from those men who have that “80”s video, women wearing leg warmers and a unitard” type of mentality. “One more! Two more!” I think we’ve all seen the videos. I’d like to think the group class has evolved from that. The truth from what I’ve seen is that women like a challenge. Why would we design our classes any other way?

Here’s a clip of what we do:

Step and Half Ball Circuit

Here's what we've been up to all week 🙂

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Thursday, January 25, 2018

Notice we have no women in unitards jumping around like jack-rabbits. No choreographed steps to remember. No annoying instructor belting out, “ONE MORE! TWO MORE!” These are not particularly easy combinations to complete. Most of these women are over fifty. So when I hear these outdated terms used to refer to group classes, I have to laugh. I participate in these classes and I can tell you from experience, they are not easy. That’s the way we like it.

Women are definitely more social. They like the encouragement from their peers and feel a sense of obligation to come. “I feel guilty when I don’t show up!” I hear quite often.

Women are REALLY hard workers.

Being a part of a group means you are a part of something. Damn it, we want to contribute to that group. We really do come together and work hard with each other. We push each other to be our best. That’s why I think group classes can be successful.

Our group classes have fun for fifteen years. We have the same group that started fifteen years ago. It’s really a wonderful environment for those just starting out as well. The veterans help the rookies. The rookies get stronger and the veterans keep getting better. It’s really about helping each other. We all keep getting stronger together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becuase Loving Yourself is Easier

07 Feb

        It always surprises me how amazing, talented and hard working women still manage to find something wrong with themselves.

I work with women of all ages, shapes and sizes. What’s the one thing they all share in common? I see too many negative messages. Either we’re too big or too small. We do too much or not enough. We’re not pretty enough. We’re not smart enough. The list goes on. I’d like to change the message.

We were in fitness class talking about all the latest plastic surgery and diet fads. This lady blurted out,

“Loving yourself just seems easier.”

Because beauty is embracing who you are at all times.

How right she is. I thought to myself, “Why do we go to such extreme lengths to punish ourselves?” Whether it’s starving ourselves to lose weight or not participating in sport because we’re so self conscious. Some females I’ve worked with cannot even meet their own gaze in the mirror. We have learned to define being a “woman” by what we look like.

“Who we are as women is not measured by our waistline”

Being self conscious to most means that we’re afraid everyone is looking and judging us. Let’s focus on who we are. The way I define “self conscious” is a little bit different. To me being “SELF conscious” means being aware of what makes our inner SELF happy. Shouldn’t that be the focus? Just because you’re not some definition of perfect doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to be happy. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. When that relationship flourishes so too will life around you. Loving yourself is so much easier than being something you’re not.

Beauty is measured by our strength of character.

The Weight of Your Success

19 Sep

What does her weight have to do with it?

I came across this interesting article on Yahoo. It inspired this topic for today. If you take the opportunity to read it, like me you might be furrowing your brow. You might be baffled as to how these stories continue to flow in the mainstream media. Yes, women can be successful.

https://ca.yahoo.com/style/investor-said-ceo-overweight-sell-cosmetics-now-runs-billion-dollar-company-202732960.html

            First of all, I watched a news program that stated that the “plus size” fashion industry is booming. Let’s clarify what plus size means. Anything over size 10 appears to be “plus size” and yet this is average. I hate the phrase “plus size” to label what is actually normal. The lady featured in the article is smart and just happens to be a curvy woman. Yet, an investor told her that no one would ever buy her cosmetics because of her size. Obviously this investor didn’t do his homework. The industry is now shifting. Yes! Curvy women exist! Why is this such big news? The even bigger question is why is taking so long for the industry to catch up?

I’ve come to a realistic conclusion. You can be a size 0 or a size 16. Women are judged by their looks no matter what size. What’s worse is we are still being stuck in this “one size fits all” box. If the women in this story looked for investment from a female, would she have gotten it? If the woman in this story was a size four, would the male investor been more interested? The point of the story is that she kept trying. She didn’t let one negative attitude deter her. I’d rather that be the moral of the story.

            The weight of your success is not determined by your body shape.

Oprah. Melissa McCarthy. Ashley Graham. Just a few familiar names there. I could go on… It’s an example I know you understand. If weight were an issue, how come they have been so successful?  It’s a shame some people still don’t get this point. We look in the mirror and decide we aren’t worthy of success because we quite literally don’t “fit” the definition of success. I guess you need to ask yourself, “What is MY definition of success?”. The only way you’ll ever change the attitude of those around you is by changing your own. Whoever sat down and decided that a smart woman needs to fit in to a particular size? Or that beauty comes in one size?

https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/ashley-graham-supermodel.html

              The only person who decides her success is YOU.

As different as we may look, so is the definition of what success looks like. It comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. It really doesn’t matter what you hope to achieve in life, weight has nothing to do it. Self esteem and self love matters a hell of a lot more. The sooner we realize the power within, any dream we have can come true no matter who tells us, “it’s not possible.”

Take a look at the successful women you know. Do they look the same? Do they act the same? Do they fit in to the so-called box that is required for success? Probably not. What do you admire most about these women?

My definition of success is this…

“The only path to follow is the one you create.”