Body Shaming and Why you Should Love Yourself

feb-2016The image to the left resonates strongly with myself as a personal trainer. Every day I see clients and gym patrons striving to change. Some want to change for themselves, and for their health. Others, like the photo, are trying to change to be something they were physically or genetically not made to be, and they hate themselves for not being that ideal type.

This is a form of body shaming, a more personal level than that on social media. In an environment like today where opinions and ideals can be voiced loudly and reinforced by others over social media, self body shaming is worse than ever. Many of us are constantly trying to live up to “the girl on the magazine cover” or “the guy with the six pack abs.”

To define body shaming is as follows; “the practice of making critical, potentially humiliating comments about a person’s body size or weight.” We do this to others and to ourselves without thinking. How often do you catch yourself saying to yourself as a larger person walks by “eat a salad,” and then saying “eat a cheese burger,” when the skinny person walks by? This is definite body shaming. How many of you have stood in front of that bathroom mirror and thought, I hate how my hips stick out here? This is also a form of body shaming, probably the most dangerous type as it means you are unhappy with you.

I want to make it clear, there is no ideal body shape, there is no ideal body size.

Now back to those clients and gym patrons. Many have told me they want to look like me or my coworkers. What I’d rather them say is they want to be like us, as in they want to be healthy and strong. What they don’t realize and what I try and tell them is that we are all on that journey of trying to find self love. When my clients say they want to look like me, it’s flattering but unrealistic, because I am my own person, I have my own genetic make up, my own metabolic rate, my own motivations and my own issues.

We are all made differently and unfortunately many people aren’t willing to accept that.

“Body Shaming isn’t just about Beauty. When we limit what is allowed to be called beautiful, we also limit who is allowed to feel confident, empowered, important, sexy, brave and proud.”-Author Unknown

Whether you are short, tall, skinny, fat, fluffy, stringy, weak or strong, we all have our own story and we need to accept that because of those stories, our journeys in fitness and life will be a little different which will affect our bodies in different ways. Belittling someone because they carry a little extra weight or because they have a high metabolism that makes them skinny is wrong. We need to learn to accept ourselves and once we are happy with ourselves we will be a lot less likely to judge those around us. When it comes to your body shape and size, as a trainer I do not care if you carry more weight or less weight than myself or other clients, I just want to you to be healthy. I want you to be proud of your accomplishments, I want you to feel confident and beautiful in your own skin.

Love yourself, every bit of you.

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