I got an inbox this morning at Iron Beauty from a woman who really struggles with her weight. She asked the following questions.
“How come the people in your pictures are in great shape? I never see anyone who looks anything like me. Do larger people go to your gym?” Well that opened up a real heartfelt and honest conversation with my friend about a very real subject and it was a conversation that I’m glad we had. YES, there are women all sizes in the gym (and in my pictures, but some people HIDE in the back because they don’t want to be seen and I make them get in). Fitness bodies are not all small. A big woman can be a very fit, strong woman. Even that can be intimidating. Immediately after she asked me those questions, she thought about it and said, “The truth is I would never want to be in a picture because then I would have to look at myself.” Heavy heart moment. If one person feels that way, then countless others do to. We are never alone, which is why I share this story.
Our body fat is often attached to a bigger issue, an emotional one. We’re eating to numb ourselves, we’re addicted to sugar, we have experienced trauma, loss of a loved one, poor body image, stress with a relationship, kids or simply because it’s all we know. It could be how you grew up culturally. Thirty years ago there was no internet. Our parents and grandparents did the best they could (or not) at the time. There were no guidelines on food and when the guidelines did come out in the early nineties, in the form of a pyramid, it called for 6 to 11 servings of grains, bread and pasta which we now know was so wrong. But we trusted in the experts at that time! We’re only as smart as the Dr’s right? Not in this case. My father had his first heart attack at 48! He grew up without money and my grandmother fed in quantity not quality. She did the best she could. She also smoked like a chimney and had a yellow circle in the ceiling above her head from the smoke. I didn’t know her struggles as a woman, only as a child. 9 strokes later she passed. She did not have the info we have now. Pregnant? Yes, gin and tonic please. Now with a touch of a button and my voice I know how many calories are in anything. I know the effects of smoking and foods that lead to the dangerous fat but people need motivation, to be held accountable and most importantly to FORGIVE THEMSELVES! Everyone is worthy of feeling amazing, but they have to believe they are first. It’s important to note that I am not saying there is an ideal body for all, because there is not! We all have our own personal visions of our own ideal bodies and some of us will be fit or feel great in a much larger frame than someone else. Sexy is not achieving skinny. Sexy is owning your body and having love for yourself. Clearly, one of the biggest challenges, regardless of fitness. Just a beginner. Take baby steps. Just walk to get started. Let’s not think in terms of what we can’t do or weren’t able to do but appreciate what you can do. Need help? Ask for it.
A picture here or there cannot show you the thousands of conversations that go on day and night with so many for so many different reasons. I ask the question to women when I first sit down with them who are over a certain weight, “When was the last time you were under 200 pounds? Or 300 pounds? And the answer I hear most, from grown women in their 40’s, is high school and even middle school! That’s over 20-30 years ago. They have lived their whole adult life at a certain weight. So if we can get to the emotional aspect of why or when, maybe then we can begin the process of releasing. Releasing first what got you there. If obesity was not a medical issue would it be a discussion? Unfortunately it is in that it increases risk factors for disease.
Here are some facts to consider from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:
About Overweight and Obesity and the prevalence of it in the United States.
Overweight refers to the amount of body weight that may come from muscles, bone, fat and water.
Obesity refers to an excess of body fat.
- More than 2 in 3 adults are considered overweight or obese
- More than 1 in 3 adults are considered obese
- More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity
- About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese
- More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese.
Did you know that the terminology on a body fat chart is skewed and that the word “average” is actually overweight and “above average” is obese? The “ideal” category is what is considered normal. They are using words that sound nicer. I coach online, in a gym and have coached corporately. By nature you will see more fit people (all sizes!) in a gym, but in real life America and big, high stress corporations that’s not the case.
My wish: That when someone thinks to themselves, I don’t want to be in a picture, I don’t want to look at myself, or that they are alone, that we don’t bury ourselves in the negative emotions, but recognize that in this country, the land of plenty, there are millions that need help. That when you find a place that is safe and holds no judgement you hang on! Let’s talk about it and what to do. Iron Beauty is a safe place. There is no discrimination in our world. I am very involved in fitness, but not all of my clients are. There is a reason why I coach, because so many people need help. I am grateful that she brought up what she saw and how she felt so we can talk about the reality that it is not all pretty pictures, it’s a ton of work!
If you have read this, please take a moment to honor yourself and where you came from, your struggles, losses, addictions and that fact that you are here to read this. Then I want you to think about this. . . Please tell yourself or me FIVE positive things about you. Write them down. Then really think about what it will take to you get in that picture and let’s talk! Send me pictures!
Your Iron Beauty Coach,
Health and Wellness Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Instructor
Mother, Wife, Loving Stalker, Friend