It’s no doubt that you’ve seen the body positivity movement on social media. It’s a movement that I’d like to say I’m part of and something that I feel is an important message. That being said I do feel that some messages have been slightly lost or misconstrued along the way, so wanted to share my thoughts and feelings with you all on the blog, where I have a bit more space than just an Instagram caption.
I workout for many reasons. I used to run to help lift my stamina levels, as it was always something I struggled with. I hated running for a while, then I learned to love it and then I had to stop due to injury. I also ran because it was a great way of doing exercises in just 30 minutes, being outside in the fresh air and burning some energy to make room for some yummy food. OH GOSH NO! Did I just say that I went running to burn calories?! If you want to word it like that, then yes. And this is where the issues lies for me.
Because there is so much talk around mental health and eating disorders – which is awesome – I feel that we’re almost scared to say that we’re working out for aesthetic reasons, because it might imply that we’re not happy with the body we have and therefore might have a bad mental relationship with our body. So it sounds pretty strung out to write it down, but this is how the world of social media can work sometimes, people are very quick to judge and quick to assume that they know exactly what’s going on in someone else life.
It’s important to recognise when you do have a bad relationship with food and exercise, but it’s also important to know that it’s ok to want to look good and there should be no shame in that. And remember that looking good to one person is very different to the next, as is feeling good.
Maybe you went on a two week holiday, ate all of the pizza and ice cream (go you!) and just want to get back on track now that you’re home. Honestly I think that’s awesome and maybe it’s just me being a blogger that I somewhere along the way stopped sharing those kind of things because I was worried how it would be perceived by my followers. Especially as I have spoken openly about having body dysmorphia and a history of eating disorders. Or is that you too? Do you feel the pressure to only be working out for mental health reasons rather than the desire for a body that when you look in the mirror you say “damn right, I’m beautiful!” I’m not saying you shouldn’t already say those things now. You are SO much more than your body. You have a soul that no doubt lights up a room when you walk in, but you also have every right to want to get a sweat on and feel like super woman (or man) for it and have a body that is strong, that you’re proud of.
So even though there is an underlying desire for me to ‘look good” and that’s why I workout, there is also a lot more to it than that. I’ve said this in so many blog posts over the years and I will say it again. Do something that you enjoy. If you find yourself dreading going to the gym and marching on a treadmill for a hour, ditch it and find something new.
The two things that I hugely recommend when it comes to training are the enjoyment that I just spoke about and goal setting. Goals that have nothing to do with how you look. Maybe it’s a goal to do a pull up. Maybe it’s a goal to squat with a heavier weight. Maybe a goal to compete in a crossfit competition. To do your yoga teacher training. To understand the mechanics of your body even better. Whatever it is, goals are healthy to have. Both long and short term, so I recommend making some if you haven’t already.
Anyway, as you can see, this ramble wasn’t made for an Instagram caption. I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Why do you workout? Do you think it’s ok to do exercise to look good? If yes, do you feel ok talking about that or do you keep those things to yourself? How does it make you feel when you see someone talking about getting “bikini body ready” on social media.
Personally I think all of these things are ok, as long as the messaging is healthy. I’m not a fan of “Get shredded abs in 4 weeks” or “Lose fat fast”, but I do think it’s ok to want a strong body and to want to lose a bit of weight if you’re doing it sensibly.
Love, Cat x