Thursday, 14 June 2018

#InShapeMyShape

   We are constantly bombarded with pictures of 'perfection'. With celebrities whose career partially relies on them looking good, who have the money to hire trainers, and the promise of a big paycheck from continued roles in films and editorial features as long as they maintain their beauty. But, often times, it doesn't end there. They're so frightened of losing their beauty that it leads to the extremes of plastic surgery. Because even they are subject to these ideas of 'perfection'.
   It's easy, in that case, for anyone think they're 'supposed' to look a certain way, and judge themselves by the one-size-fits-all of celebrities. But real people aren't like that, and we're beginning to see that more and more as social media continues to ride its wave.
   Of course, it's still all too easy to get in your own head, and once you're there, that little voice doesn't just set up camp, it builds a freaking palace. Because that voice is arrogant and is convinced it will win. Because it thinks it's louder than you.

   The first step is to realise, understand and accept the simple biological fact that no one's body is the same. Even twins vary. Our genetic make-up, our surroundings, our own individual combination of DNA - it all impacts our bodies and minds. But we're all capable of doing the same things, going through the same motions, and if you want to change, it's all on you. Nothing can stop you. See Tatsiana Khvitsko, or Danny Mardell.

   That first step leads onto the second: realising, understanding and accepting that one person's fit isn't another's.
   Some irritating people are naturally slim, and they'll tone up easily. Others store fat more easily and muscle, while present, may always be hidden under a thin layer of squish. Even the fittest, slenderest person may not be capable of growing abs or a thigh-gap. Some people's bones are aligned differently (I knew a boy in school whose ribcage was at about a 30 degree angle) and one person's hips may be sharper or rounder or wider than another's. A size 8 on one person may be sleek and toned. A size 8 on another may be squishy.
   You could be Jillian Michaels. You could be Cassey Ho. You could be Iskra Lawrence. Fit, healthy and happy women with completely different fit, healthy, happy bodies.

   I never really noticed this until I used fitness DVDs. Jillian Michaels has lots of different women in her videos and so many of them have very different fit bodies, down to their choice of personal training, diet, needs, lifestyle and DNA. But they're all fit. They're all healthy. They're all happy. Some are thicker, others are smaller-framed; some are clearly strong, others would surprise you; some are flexible, others are not; some are flat-chested, others are not.
   It was while using Kickbox FastFix that this fact finally hit home.

   It's still too easy to compare yourself to others in the world we live in now, and social media makes it even easier. But, if you let it, it can also be a source of inspiration. As I said, everyone's fit body is different. Look around, make peace with it, and learn to love what you have.
   At the end of the day, it makes no damned difference to the world if your body looks like Jillian's or Iskra's, as long as you're healthy and happy. And if you've put the work in to it, then you have no reason to feel bad.

   I admit, I suffer with this big-time. It has never stopped. I compare myself to others, and I try to find fitness inspirants who have bodies similar to mine to remind myself that I may not ever be what I originally dreamed, but that's no bad thing. But I'm still doing it wrong. Because it's not their body, it's mine. Some workouts just don't work for me, others work wonders; certain foods disagree with me. Then there's the fact that I suffer from migraines which mean that over-exercising or under-eating will do me more immediate damage than others, which means that, while some people can take things to unhealthy extremes, I can't. And even though I know I should be pleased with what is essentially an alarm that I have and other people don't, I have resented it in the past. Because I've gotten that desperate.

   I used to think that a size 8 was slim, firm and perfect. I was a size 16 back then.
   Well, I'm a size 8 now. And I've still got a good layer of belly fat. There's still a bit of jiggle on my upper arms. I avoid the mirror whenever I can. That single, blurry picture of a weighted squat lift two/three weeks ago was an immense achievement.
   But so what? I've got good, strong legs, but I'll never have a thigh gap. I've got strong arms, but I doubt they'll have any clear definition. I have a bum. And I have no negative to add on to that, though, because I never used to have anything back there at all. No junk. No trunk at all, in fact. And recognising that massive achievement right there is what I always forget to do: to look at where I am, how far I've come, not how far I have to go.

   I'll still work towards all these possibly-unobtainable goals, but in the process I'm learning to accept the fact that, if I never get them, it won't be because I haven't tried. It's because they're not part of my fit body. My shape. In shape. Instead, my fit body is, simply, my fit body. It is what it is. It is stronger, faster and sleeker than what it was. And it can be so much more. It might not look like I expected it to, but it already feels better than I expected it to.


   #InShapeMyShape.



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