We are pretty fond of challenges, aren’t we? And that can be a good thing. We should challenge ourselves, experience things, learn and grow. I am all for that. What I am not for is the idea that some how a challenge to your “perfect body”or “bikini body” is something worth working towards. Weight loss challenges need to stop. I have seen first hand how these kinds of challenges are bs.
When I decided I wanted to become a coach/trainer I was an “apprentice” for a local gym (in quotes because an apprentice is someone who learns a skill from a master of that trade. I didn’t learn shit, and these people weren’t masters of the trade of movement). I learned of a weight loss challenge they had, with a very restrictive diet, and an incentive to get the money back that you paid if you loose a certain amount of weight. Now, I didn’t know much about training at this point but I knew this wasn’t for me and I soon left. I could’t stand behind a program that promoted your worth based on the weight you lost.
Of course they will tell you it is to get healthy, feel better about yourself, to become empowered. But what do you do after that challenge? 1 week, 2 weeks, 30 days…okay you’re challenge is done, now what? Do you go back to your bad nutrition choices, stop with the workouts, and back to your old routine and wait for the next challenge to come around? What did you learn from this challenge, what new abilities did you gain?
I saw this picture recenlty and I was pissed. I don’t need a man, yes, this post was from a man, to empower me to do anything. Let alone anything to do with my body. Along with this picture was how to get a “sexy & stunning body”. This is where we go wrong.
What is an ideal body? To me, an ideal body is a body that is capable of day to day activities with out getting injured. An ideal body, to me, is capable of running marathons, hiking mountains, swimming in oceans. I try not to let my idea of my ideal body be based on looks. Of course, living in the culture that we do, I can’t help but focus on how I look at times. I used to wish I was skinny, now sometimes I wish I was more muscular or stronger. Sometimes I think I look stumpy and I hate it. But I realize these thoughts make me so unhappy that they are not worth my mental time. Instead, I continue to focus on my training and celebrate my little victories as they come – I can lift my bike off the bike rack, I can get my 80lb bag off the baggage claim, a new running PR…None of this is meant to put anyone down, I write this in hopes that people will start to think differently about why we do what we do as humans. What benefits do you gain by focusing so much on your weight? Compare that to the benefits you would gain by focusing on your abilities, your strength, trying new things, learning about yourself. Which would bring you more fulfillment, more purpose?
So all of my ranting brings me to this: I challenge you to be a capable human for the rest of your life. I challenge you to find a bunch of different movements you love (there are so many ways to be active!), eat well because you care about yourself, and I challenge you to be happy when you look in the mirror. You won’t win any money or prizes but you will gain a new perspective. And yes, this will take the rest of your life. There is no quick fix to anything worth having. Above all, don’t take for granted all that your body is capable of, because as I always say, there are others who do not have the abilities that so many of us take for granted.