Tell me, how many times a day do you come across headlines such as:
‘Get Your Dream Body Now’
‘Melt Belly Fat in 10 Days’
‘The Ultimate Fat Burning Workout’
‘Get Shredded Fast’
‘30 Days To Your Best Self’?
If you’ve ever so much as googled a pair of gym leggings or clicked on Joe Wicks’ profile, I’m guessing the answer is A LOT!
They’re everywhere! And not just on every social media platform - but slapped across magazine covers; spattering the features of morning news and day time TV. Inundating us with pics of perfect peaches and shrunken waistlines, topped with BEAMING faces that MUST depict the sheer epitome of health, happiness and self love.
Well, what if I told you, the story is a little less cut and dry.
That in fact, the size and shape of your body has a little less to do with health than you think, and A LOT less to do with happiness.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where ‘a picture’s worth a thousand words’. Where we rely on images for judgements. Where before and after pictures are the sole measure of a fitness journey. And the smaller body on the right is ALWAYS the ‘best’.
And because of this, because we now view our lives as a series of pictures on a feed, we have become OBSESSED with the external.
So obsessed, that the internal gets lost, disregarded or utterly sacrificed. ‘Living on a diet of rice cakes and celery juice is boring AF, utterly joyless and requires all my energy to stick to BUT IT’S FINE BECAUSE THE 6 PACK I’LL HAVE AT THE END WILL SOLVE ALL MY PROBLEMS.’
It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, and obviously that’s an extreme example, but seriously, how many of us spend significant amounts of time stressing about manipulating what we look like, completely forgetting to check in on how we FEEL?
Now, of course, the two are linked. We’re sold the idea that once we’re in that perfect body, we’ll feel SO much more confident, because social validation is a powerful influencer of the way we perceive ourselves.
But, believe me, if that validation is coming at the cost of your freedom, your self-compassion, your ability to go out and have fun with your friends without worrying about how many calories are in that glass of wine, that confidence will be 1) a massive anti-climax 2) short-lived.
Because once we place ALL our value on the way we look, it will never be enough. There’ll always be more we can ‘improve’.
Now of course, I’m not suggesting we give up on self-improvement altogether. I’m not suggesting we stop worrying about our health or our appearance.
I’m suggesting that this work needs to be done alongside INTERNAL self-improvement.
Because health doesn’t just = physical health.
And health DEFINITELY DOES NOT = being skinny.
Mental health is equally, if not MORE important.
You’re not going to find happiness by focusing solely on your body and not on what’s going on inside your head!
Because, obviously, that’s where happiness really lies!
And so the real answer? To cultivate that happiness, INTERNALLY… FIRST.
Because if you can learn to accept your body, love yourself, find forgiveness and compassion, you are far more likely to treat your body with the care and respect it deserves.
To nourish it with exercise and nutrition because it feels GREAT to do so!
The aesthetic goals, they may or may not come after that. Our bodies are all wonderfully unique, they are supposed to look different, which means health and happiness looks DIFFERENT on everybody.
But if you’ve done that internal work, you’ll unlock the ability to be happy with whatever does come!
Now I’m not saying it’s easy (but hey, neither is never eating carbs). This option, however, is SUSTAINABLE. If you get it right, though it will always require some level of work, it will last you a lifetime.
So that when your body changes, like it’s supposed to: when your boobs go south, your skin starts to pucker and wrinkle and any hopes of a 6 pack are long gone with your twenties,
You can still be happy.
And that is really bloody powerful.