There sure is a shit ton of dieting going on these days. I don't know if it's my age or the rise of network marketing businesses that are capitalizing on people's insecurities - but I feel like I'm constantly looking at "before and after" photos and "here's my food" pictures.
I'm not going to lie, I often look at those rock-hard abs and think "daaammmnnnn" but I refuse to hit "like" because then my inbox will be swarmed with invitations from people wanting me to "join them on their health and wellness journey." And then I'll have to say mean things like, "No thanks, I prefer to eat real food," or "I was in a cult once already, I'm not interested in joining another one."
And truthfully, I have another confession about health and wellness: I TRY NOT TO OVERTHINK IT. I'm happiest when I don't.
I was more self-conscious about my body when I was eleven years old than I am now (22 years and 2 kids later!)
I used to weigh myself constantly, and pinch the "fat" on my belly. I was a foot taller than all of my friends when I was in fourth grade, and I got leg-hair and pit-hair before anyone else. I felt like a monstrous giant. I was always the one to give the piggy-backs, and I was always on the bottom of the pyramid. I felt like she-hulk and I hated it.
I was a competitive figure skater, and had the defined quads to prove it. I'd give anything for those quads now, by the way, but at the time? I didn't appreciate my own strength and my body's own amazing abilities.
My Mom is probably crying reading this thinking, "how did I fail you?" But you didn't Mom. You tried so hard to compete with the messages that surrounded every day. And that was pre-internet! (It's hard to believe such a time existed, isn't it?) I can't even imagine how difficult it must be today, raising a daughter and son of internet-using-age (this will be my reality in a few short years)! Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, Filters, Filters and MORE FILTERS! Likes, "loves", comments, hateful comments, trolls, bullies...
That is some bullshit, right there.
As I'm typing this I'm realizing how easy I have it right now, parenting two young kids. I say "yes" and "no" to whatever media they consume. I'm careful with the language I use around them. My kids have never heard me describe anyone or anything as "fat." Instead, I try to use language that focuses on the amazing things their bodies can do because really, THAT is what matters. "Oh wow! Look how strong you are! You climbed all the way to the top!"
I'm a huge advocate for health and fitness - but not the kind that's being marketed towards me constantly on Facebook: the kind that really blurs the lines between a healthy lifestyle and orthorexia. My favourite non-diet dietician blogger, Sarah Remmer wrote a great post about this topic a while ago.
So what can we do?
We can take a page out of BodyPosiPanda's book - and start some authentic conversations about body image, health and fitness. We can share real (un-filtered photos). We can stop pinching our belly fat when we sit down, and remind ourselves that WE LIVE IN CANADA AND NEED TO STAY WARM IN THE WINTER - we need a certain amount of insulation, damnit!
And if you have 1% body fat - and that's your natural body type? That's okay too! Just let me know; and if you need it I'll come hug you when the snow falls. Okay?