Weight Loss Wars

 

I used to weigh myself every Sunday morning without exception. This was a weekly task written in my agenda that I could not skip. At that moment, I felt like I was about to wage war with myself. My ”Once-A-Week-Ritual” was creating unnecessary stress, pressure and I became fixated on my mass. For me, it wasn’t a numerical reflection of my relationship with gravity, no sir, this was a measure of my worth as a person.

That number on the scale determined my self-esteem for the next week. My entire mood became dependant on that number. If the scale went down, I was pleased (but it was never enough). If went up, my day was instantly ruined – I had failed.

Then one day, it clicked :

This number doesn’t define who I am.

It doesn’t need to dictate my value as a human being.

I rather set myself on fire than hop on that scale again to be honest so I wrote an e-mail to my coach telling him I had enough of this restrictive dieting lifestyle and that it interfered with my emotional wellbeing and happiness.

 

Why

Why do we value thinness, leanness, slenderness, slimness?

Why do we believe it’s a symbol of beauty and associate it with being successful, happy and disciplined?

Does our culture pressure us with medias to determine our self-worth by our appearance?

Has our society become obsessed with the idea of losing weight?

I feel like if our society wasn’t so hyper focused on weight, nobody would care. Being ”Fat” wouldn’t be seen as an insult or something to be ashamed of.

Fat Shaming vs Fat Acceptance

We live in an a time where obesity has become a major problem. But is obesity considered a disease ? A disability ? Is it okay to be overweight ? Is our thin obsessed culture feeding this epidemic and damaging our healthcare further ?

There are negative comments everywhere about overweight people . While some of these comments come from mean-spirited people, others think fat shaming will motivate overweight folks to lose weight.

Some individuals (like John Bourque, see youtube link below) think that being overweight is  lacking discipline and that fat shaming can be constructive and motivate obese individual to take responsibility of their health.

You’d think that only fit people engage in fat shaming, but you’d be wrong. Overweight people play a part, too. Fat people criticize others who are fat. Even worse, fat people stigmatize themselves.9731697_orig

I personally think this type of shaming makes people feel beyond shameful excluding them completely for the world of health and wellbeing.

It triggers overeating and leads to poor body image. People aren’t motivated to take great care of their bodies if they hate them right ?

 

It’s impossible to feel good about yourself if you’re constantly practicing self-destructive behaviors, I agree.

 

BUT, perfectly normal, healthy individuals are labeled plus sized or unhealthy simply because they don’t match society’s definition of health & beauty.

 

War against obesity

The word success and failure often describe folk that battle weight loss but losing weight isn’t as predictable and progressive at you might have been led to believe.

People will use 3 common strategies to lose pounds:

  1. Specific macronutrient based diets
  2. Counting/Restricting calories
  3. Increasing calorie expenditure by exercising

Usually the vicious cycle of weight loss looks a lot like this

Cycle

Barriers to Weight Loss

There is a lot of factor that can interrupt a weight loss journey.

  • Stress, Anxiety or Depression
  • Overeating/Lack of portion control
  • Yo-yo dieting or Crash diets that leads to a reduced metabolic rate
  • Negative self-image
  • Leptin resistance
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Pain
  • Financial issues
  • Time

While obstacles can often seem to stand between an individual and their desire to lose weight, they’re often there to allow us to demonstrate how badly we truly want to achieve those goals.

A better way of looking at it

I say: Try to be a little better tomorrow than you were today.

Try changing your behavior in a healthy way.

Independent of weight loss, eat whole food and increase your amount of daily exercise.weight

It’s healthy whether you lose weight or maintain it. Make these choices in consistent ways in opposed to crash diets or exercise plan where the primary purpose is to lose weight. Don’t focus solely on the scale. Remove that unrealistic goal of looking like a fitness model and that self-judgement based on whether or not you are able to lose weight.

Focus on being healthy.

The Way I see It

My perceptive is to live the healthiest life that you can ENJOY over time.

After all, isn’t life about maximizing your enjoyment while at the same time maximizing your health ?

Persistent effort and adherence over time is goal to weight loss. You need to devote substantial time in your day to exercise and maintain a caloric deficit.

 

But at the end, if you don’t like yourself fat, guess what, you won’t like yourself thin either.

 

Advertisements

The Female Version of ”BroScience” ; Misconceptions Surrounding Women & Fitness

 

Let me start this post by stating that I Hate almost ALL fitness marketing that’s geared towards women.

If fitness magazines, Instagram fitness models or products were telling the truth, they’d be saying things like:

  • “Want to tone and tighten those abs? Don’t waste your time with these exercises”
  • “Want to banish that belly fat? This waist trimmer/belt/trainer won’t help”
  • “Want to get stronger? You’re going to need to pick up something heavier than this ”
  • “That perfect or ideal body shape you aspire to have is neither healthy or realistic”
  • “Your favorite online Insta-coach, celebrity or PT probably has no qualifications”
  • “There are no shortcuts to places that inherently take time and patience to reach”
  • “ A single “best” way for everyone doesn’t exist.”

womenshealthmagazine

And then you have popular opinions like my personnal favorite here :

“You’re going to get bulky and look like a man”

 

This has never been said by a girl who knew the first thing about lifting…

 

Broscience, what is it exactly?

 

Urban Dictionary has a pretty accurate way of describing  it :
”The uninformed opinion of “meatheads” or “jocks” on topics relating to health, strength, or athletic development.
Word of mouth knowledge passed off as fact, primarily among bodybuilders or weightlifters. Generally spouted by men who have used loads of steroids and are huge, have no idea what is happening to their bodies and share that same cluelessness with others who make the false assumption that their experience means that they have knowledge. ”

” Broscience is the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research

Broscience in action:

“Bro, you gotta slam 40-60 grams of carbs plus 20 grams of BCAA within 7 seconds of finishing your last set of squat rack curls. Otherwise, you’ll go straight catabolic.”

download

Now, There is a Female version of this so-called ”Broscience” but nobody ever came up with an official name for it…

You-go-girl science? Bimbo Science? Bikini Science? They all seem too long…

I can definitely think of what it might entail though :

  1. Only do cardio and stretching otherwise, you’ll turn into a man

2. If you must lift weight, never use more than 3lbs or, see number one

3. If you lift heavy weights, your uterus will fall out

4. Muscle will turn into fat when you stop working out, it’s a fact so don’t build muscle just ”tone”

5. Having an expensive, sexy outfit or just wearing a sports bra and some Lululemon leggings is an integral part of your gym workout; perfectly coiffed hair, like your ready for prom in an hour and being thoroughly caked up is also encouraged.

perfect-makeup (1)

6. Our special, no-run “fitness make-up kit” will have your face looking great at the gym

7. Don’t eat anything unless it has a “lite” or “fat-free” sticker on it. Then, you can eat as much as you want!

8. Carbs are evil, stay away from them

evil_by_sarahpea

9. Eating is generally discouraged, keep your calories under 1200 per day.

10. The cardio machines are precisely counting the calories you’re burning. This helps with measuring your caloric deficit of 1200 per day

d2994b27cfb2c5d1396338dfe7e4d5a4

11. If you’re sweating, you’re working out too hard, men generally think it’s gross. If any sweat stains begin to appear, leave the gym immediately.

12. Make sure you follow a famous Instagram NPC bikini competitor model and do all the same weird ineffective exercise they do daily

 

13. Training your legs every day is necessary to develop a booty so use the leg spreading-contracting machine every. single. day.

14. Training a specific muscle will result in fat loss in that area of the body so to get toned abs and to get rid of that belly fat you should be doing endless abdominal exercises.

15. Detox diet is totally worth your time and money. They are a great way to ”reset” and ”stimulate the liver” to eliminate ”harmful” toxins from the body

17. Certain supplements or food can magically make all your fat melt away.

18. If your workout isn’t posted on Instagram, then no progress was made #workingout #selfie #sweat #loveit #feelinggood #summerbody #abs

 

I hear this stuff all the time from my clients, my friends, around the gym, and basically, everywhere I go and it makes me cringe.

Think lifting heavy weights will transform you into a female version of Arnold Schwarzenneger? Think again. Adding more weight to your bar won’t automatically make you look “bulky” or “manly,” (which, by the way, is a highly subjective term).

 

The myth that women shouldn’t lift heavy is only perpetuated by women who fear hard work and men who fear strong women.

Becoming Flawsome

There’s just something about people who embrace their flaws.

People that know that they aren’t perfect, but accept that about themselves and embrace their imperfections.

And yet, do I really accept my flaws ?

Do any of us ?

Between all of the high-end cosmetics (if you’re shocked by the image, you’d be traumatized by their price tags), lotions and potions that are standing on my bathroom vanity right now, I have to admit that I have a lot of work to do in this department.

A must watch on this subject is Kelli Jean on Ted Talk :

She explains that people (especially women) will do almost anything to not be one thing : Fat.

Kelli affirms that billion dollar industries thrive because of the fear of being fat.

She is not chubby or cuddly, voluptuous or curvy she is Fat and she is Fabulously Beautiful.

When you watch her talk so confidently, it will make you envious  :

I wish I had her confidence. Even when she is far from what our society  would call “perfect”.

Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than being ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’?

-J.K. Rowling

https://www.ted.com/speakers/kelli_jean_drinkwater

There is something endearing and inspiring about someone who can be proud of their “imperfections”

If Tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think about how many industries would go out of business

– Dr. Gail Dines

The urban dictionary defines ”flawsome” as:

”Flawsome. Something that is totally awesome, but not without it’s flaws.”

A “Flaw” however, in this context does not refer to a detrimental quality or a life changing mistake, the focus is rather on a small mishap, idiosyncrasy or quirk.

I have a couple of crooked teeth for example. Growing up, I saw all the teenagers getting braces and after having them removed having perfectly symmetrical smiles. When I asked my dentist about fixing my tooth he said : You’re teeth are fine, it gives you character and charm. After all, it’s imperfections like these that make the world’s most beautiful faces.

In Western countries, crooked teeth are seen as imperfections and most people consider a straight set of pearly whites ideal.The story is slightly different in Japan, where “yaeba,” or snaggletooth, are considered cute; with some men finding the imperfect smile they form enduringly childlike and attractive

 

What makes you different or simply the quality of being transparent and not claiming to be more than you are is to be flawsome.

Before and After Makeup
All Women are pretty without makeup but can become pretty powerful with the right makeup

For example I used to spend hours trying to hide all my blemishes with concealer. I could have used that time cooking with my boyfriend, playing with my dog, reading, enjoying a nice stroll in nature, spending quality time with my grandmother or writing in this blog which are all thing that would have made me smile.

Becoming more aware of what’s really worth your energy is key.

The opposite to being flawsome would be presenting or marketing yourself as perfect and flawless.

Social Comparison

Nowadays, people seem to be obsessed with showing off their lives on social media so that the whole world knows how they live a ”perfect, Happy Life”.

What’s the point of being happy if you’re not going to post it right ?

One of my guilty pleasures is looking at what stars look like without makeup. Some look just as pretty (if not more) without it but let’s be honest here, with professional teams of hair and makeup that follows them around all day it’s rare seeing celebrities out and about without their faces on. And we’re all here wishing we’d look like them.

 

Another example is seeing those (annoying) romantic couple on our newsfeed because it serves as a constant reminder that everyone on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc are having perfect relationships.

 

Single? well let’s just say I can sympathise with your resentment. It’s quite easy to forget that people only post their best moments online while hiding their worse.

Personal anecdote

I used to religiously train at a CrossFit gym and there was this “perfect” couple that used to train every morning with me. I remember thinking “that’s what I want, a relationship like that” They did the workout together, holded hands, took selfies, they always locked lips after the workout, wore matching clothes, bragged about their romantic adventure on social media, etc. Little did I know, their marriage was so broken they were on the verge of getting a divorce.

So much effort was put into presenting themselves as the “perfect couple” on social medias and in public. Why ? Because maybe they thought that the success of their relationship was measured by the amount of likes they would get on the pictures they posted about their date, or how romantic their post seemed to be.

The word ‘Imperfect’ actually spells ‘I’m perfect’ because everyone is perfect in their own imperfect ways.

– Anonymous

Checklist to being Flawsome 

  1. Being Flawsome doesn’t idealize one particular body image

How many times have you hear “Real women have curves” or  “Nothing feels as good as skinny feels” ?

That last one makes me cringe…

Flawsome is not about pushing you towards being a gym rat, being toothpick thin, eating clean or not taking care of your physical appearance anymore ; it’s about embracing you, as you are, and loving yourself.

 

You deserve to be happy

You deserve to live a life you’re excited about

Not one drop of your self-worth depends on other people’s acceptance of you so make yourself proud !

2. Being Flawsome builds confidence from the inside out

Your lines and wrinkles are emotional souvenirs. They’re a representation of every emotion we have experienced thought-out our lives, therefore, they are a reminder of what made us who we are today. You don’t have crow’s-feet, you have laugh lines and they were worth it !

 

Cellulite, wrinkles and dimples are totally normal.

I could go on and on but the point is :

It’s not your body that’s flawed, it’s your belief system 

Despite what the beauty industry claims, true confidence doesn’t always come from what’s on the outside (or from a bottle…).

Recognize your value and your talent and do something about it !

Reach those personal goals, finish that project you always wanted to do and most importantly do things that bring you happiness. Each of us bring something special to this world.

3. Being Flawsome alters our notions of perfections

Rather than altering yourself to fit the mold of “perfection”

(that changes every couple of years by the way)

CHANGE IT !

The reasons why so many girls struggle with body image is because they think, no let me rephrase that…  They’re  absolutely sure that there is a “more perfect” version of themselves that’s hidden inside of them and with hard work they will reveal it.

Go on about your days with confidence, don’t hide, don’t complain and stop spending precious time and money on altering your already perfectly, unique self.

Give up Perfect for Being Authentic
– Hal Elrod

Altering our Notions of ”Perfection” : Becoming More not Less

How we perceive, feel and think about our bodies and our sense of how other people view our bodies is more important than the reality of your actual physical appearance

According to research, approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies.

During the past 5 years, consumer spending doubled, pornography became the main media category and thirty-three thousand American women told researchers that they would rather lose 10-15 pounds than acheive any other goal.

The greater our discontent with how we measure up when compared to social standards or media supported norms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter) the more negative our body image and the lower our self-esteem will be.

The greater the risk for and resort to :

  • Expensive cosmetic surgery (who hasn’t though about a little Botox or Fillers, liposuction, bigger boobs or a perfectly symmetrical nose)
  • Unhealthy extreme diets (Fasting, low carbohydrate/calories, high protein, paleo, ketogenic, IIFYM, sounds familiar?)
  • Extreme exercise compulsion (Is your workout is always your top priority, are your a slave to fitbit ?)
  • Weight obsessions (weighting yourself multiple times a day, counting calories, beleiving thinness will magically solve your problems, tricks to avoid eating or hunger)
  • Bulimia, anorexia, binge eating
  • Using steroids for muscle building and weight loss (yes, women too)
  • Mental disorders and conditions (anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, substance abuse and dependance)

Just to achieve their ideal body shape.

About 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed in the media (and even then, the perfect girl you’re constantly creeping on instagram probably photoshops, airbrushes or edits her pictures – even i’m guilty of touching up selfies with retouching software)

So roughly speaking, you’re being bombarded everyday with hundreds of images and messages of people seeming totally happy, perfect and having amazing lives and it’s impossible to not feel like there’s something wrong with you (even though we are well aware that everything is not as it’s posted)

Our culture of self-comparison today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations – all the positive and self-help stuff we hear, read and buy all the time, all those beautiful women we see and envy on social medias, all those promises the beauty industry are handing us are actually making us fixate on what we lack.

It’s making you feel as though you aren’t succesful enough, loved enough, healthy enough, fit enough, pretty enough, rich enough, intelligent enough etc. It reminds us over and over of what we are not, what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be.

I am here to tell you that your are enough and being overly stressed, overly neurotic and overly self-loathing about this or that is part of being human.

My goal as a blogger, is to create a beautifully designed blog to revitalize, inspire and make women think about the way they eat, move and live.

I want to provide you with reliable, valuable resources, personal anecdotes and practical advice from nutrition to fitness to stress management to how-tos and more in order to empower you to make positive changes (and hopefully, make you smile).

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑