So this is obviously a loaded topic particularly among women. Even more so among women postpartum, which is where this conversation started. I personally hate scales. I step on them reluctantly at my annual check-up and knowing the number puts me in the same tizzy that it puts every woman in. What? So high? But I train so much...
To which two friends recently said very frankly "but you're all muscle". There's a thing that I find hard to accept about myself although I have to admit it is true. My ability to build and maintain muscle is enviable (to men) but it's also something that has been pointed out to me by mostly women a LOT! I know my friends are coming from a non-judgemental place but some women in the past have not. Oh we can be so cruel to our peers.
Now, what can I do about this fact? NOTHING. Would I try to do something it would probably include me having to starve myself to the point of losing muscle which in turn would ruin my upcoming marathon performance and make me a generally very unpleasant person to be around because I'd be in a bad mood most of the time.
This to me is dieting.
I touched on the the topic of detoxing or cleansing on my Instagram and Facebook a short while ago and all this comes down to one thing: making a temporary change in ones diet ( because of over-indulging for a while or feeling unhealthy) can be good. A diet in this sense means ones own way of eating which should be sustainable and ideally provide us with our best body and health.
However, dieting as it has been defined in society is the unhealthy approach to eating by either eliminating food groups or limiting food intake in a way that can not be maintained and is bound to lead to failure. And thus the downward spiral begins (which is very much in the diet industry's interest: $$$).
When I talk to clients, one of the things I tell everyone is to incorporate a cheat day per week. Changing one's habits towards healthier choices is hard in the beginning and so I want you to have one day a week to signal your brain and your body that everything is fine. No need to decrease your base metabolic rate and no need to feel like you will never ever have, chocolate, french fries, wine, candy, etc. EVER again! It helps your body relax and thus keep your metabolism cranking and your mind to be at ease because you can still socialize without being the weirdo who brought their own food to the restaurant or won't touch anything at your friends' BBQ.
Try and remember this the next time you step on a scale or someone reminds you of a body part that you personally don't love. Those body parts usually serve us well in a particular way. My muscular thighs made me a kick-ass fencer as well as runner and... have you seen my calves lately ;-)
I'm sure that you can find ways to embrace you perceived imperfections and make them loveable. If you are a woman transitioning back from having given birth, please think back to what you just achieved over the course of 9 months and 5-30hrs of labor. It is incredible and it didn't happen over night. Nobody expects you to be up and running right away or losing ridiculous amounts of weight. If they do, send them my way, I can show them their shortcomings in one very short personal training session.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.