After my last post "Women... Please Stop Doing This", I got into a very interesting discussion with a friend and client of mine, Amanda. Our discussion centered around the question: Is it possible to have a healthy body image, but not a healthy body? In other words, can you really love your body if you don't take care of it?
In my view, if you really love something, you take care of it, you don't abuse it. I think a well loved body is one that is moved frequently and fed healthy nutritious foods. I have witnessed amazing transformations in many of my clients but the most amazing one of all is seeing what happens to their confidence levels after they begin working out and eating right. This happens early on... before their weight changes, before their clothes get loose... this happens once they start moving and eating better.
They start to appreciate what their bodies can do. They start to love their bodies and want to take better care of them.
Another client recently told me after a brief "sabbatical" from working out and healthy eating that she felt "fat and lumpy again". Her weight hadn't changed at all, her clothes fit the same as before. What the two of us discovered was that her sense of body image was directly related to having a healthy body. After a couple workouts and a few days of clean eating, she felt better about herself again. Her weight was still the same, but she felt better.
I have heard many overweight, unfit people say they love their bodies just the way the are... but I don't buy it. How can you really feel good carry all the extra weight? And again, how can you love something you don't take care of? In my own experience, when I was 200+lbs, I was depressed, bitter and hated my body. I would not call that a loving relationship. I can also tell you that every overweight client who has come to for training and said "I love my body the way it is... I don't care about the weight..." is lying, at some point they have all confided that they do not in fact love their bodies, and they do care very much about the weight.
On the flip side, I have also seen some very seemingly "fit" people with very negative body images. They may appear "fit" on the outside but they've done some frightening things to get there and although they may look fit, they are not healthy. Unfortunately I've experienced this end of the spectrum too. That's a topic for a whole other blog that I'm just not ready to write yet.
I guess what I'm say is that relationships are complicated, and I think our relationships with ourselves is complicated too. I think it's a relationship worth examining... do you love your body? Are you taking care of your body? If someone else treated you the way you treat your body, would you stay with them? If you fed your pet they way you feed yourself, or subjected them to the sedentary life you subject your body too... would you be able to say you really love them? I'm pretty sure we'd call that neglect and you would lose your pet.
You don't have to look like a super model, or be rock hard lean, sport a 6-pack or run a marathon to have a healthy body image, but I do think you have to take care of your body to truly love it.
I think there's a discussion here... I'd love to hear what you guys have to say on this...