This week, I've had three amazing conversations with women who have changed their mindset around food and fitness… I want to share them with you.
To be honest, once you've gotten yourself to the point when you appreciate your freedom — in terms of what to eat, when to eat, how to train, how you should look like — then seeing people around you obsessing over every single thing related to their appearance, gets really exhausting.
That's what has happened to me. Sometimes I feel like, are we still talking about this… seems like it's never going to end!
Once you've experienced this freedom, you're already on the other side of the food, exercise and weight obsession. You've realized that you can be as happy, if not happier, 10 ir 20 or 30 lbs heavier than you were before. You've realized you're mentally so much less stressed than you were years ago. You've found how good it feels to move and eat the way your intuition tells you.
So when you still see people walking into the gym telling that their one and only goal is to lose 15 lbs, or that they can't start eating more in order to get their period back because their BMI is “already” 21, you feel like you want to throw your hands up and say, screw it.
But every once in a while you have these amazing conversations with women that prove you: Things are getting better, we're starting to think differently, we're not all about getting thinner and leaner anymore, we're taking steps toward intuitive eating and we celebrate our strength instead of trying to get smaller.
This week, I've had three amazing conversations, comments or insights from women, that I wanted to share with you, in hopes that they inspire you to think further than your weight or leanness too.
From Ham Hocks to Athletic Thighs
A friend of mine, a competitive kettlebell athlete, showed me a competition video that was taken a couple of years ago. If you've ever seen a kettlebell competition, you know that they have to perform a certain exercise as many reps as they can in 10 minutes. This work is no joke, it's exhausting! You have to be in an amazing shape to participate in this sport. It's incredibly hard and requires a good amount of strength and great level of conditioning.
Kettlebell athletes' bodies are strong and muscular, but that's not how my friend who showed me this video, saw herself back then. She told me that when she first saw the video, she felt awful because she was huge… and she felt like a cow.
She was hyper focused on her thighs, instead of being super proud about the fact that she was able to fight until the very last minute while a few other competitors had already stopped (it can be really brutal!)!
When I saw the video, I literally didn't see anything being wrong with any of the competitors' bodies. Because there wasn't anything wrong! What I saw was four super strong women showing extreme strength and power, and I couldn't care less about the circumference of their thighs.
Now, two years later, my friend has gone through a huge mindset shift. She focuses on her accomplishments. She told me that when she looks at this video today, she sees athletic thighs, not ham hocks. And that's all the result of appreciating what her body can do, instead of what it looks like.
Removing Good and Bad Labels from Foods
Another conversation I had this week started on Instagram when someone commented one of my food pictures. She said that she has come a long way in no longer categorizing foods as “good” and “bad”, and has even started eating eating foods that used to be in the “bad” category. She had eaten some ham with her scrambled eggs for dinner! Ham was something that had always been a “bad” food in her world, and now she was actually eating it!
I think that's amazing and that's exactly how you start eating intuitively. It's impossible to eat intuitively if you still believe that some foods are bad for you and that you have to be eating only the good ones for the rest of the life. This way of thinking will never let your intuition to speak because in the back of your mind, you will always have this voice critisizing you or telling you that you were “good”, depending on what you ate.
That's a huge step towards food freedom. Wouldn't you want to feel the same way?
Working Out To Get Stronger
The third conversation took place with one of my clients. We're working toward her first pull up, and she's making a great progress. As we were doing our last set of negatives, she jokingly told me: Why are we doing them? They're so hard! And I responded: I just want to make you as strong as possible!
Later that day, she texted me and thanked me for wanting her to get stronger, not leaner or skinnier or make her lose weight. She has her goals right and I love it.
I'm really glad to say that none of my clients are focused on weight or fat loss but they're working out for other reasons: to reduce stress, to stay healthy, and to get stronger. I'm really glad that I get to work with them. And sometimes, the weight loss happens as a side effect, if their bodies feel like there's the need to lose something. Remember that with moderate, healthy exercise and food, your body will find its natural weight, which, by the way, may be different from what your goal weight is. People's goal weights are often just arbitrary numbers that aren't based on anything.
I feel like things are moving in a better direction, when talking about women in health and fitness. We all should work for it, for normalizing food and not obsessing over the amount of exercise we did or how much we worked out. We need to change these conversations because that way we can actually become healthier person, both physically and mentally.
I'd like to hear your experience on how normalizing your relationship with food and fitness has changed the way you think and decisions you make!