Raise your hands if you weigh yourself everyday, suck in your stomach on a regular basis, think about food or dieting constantly, wish your thighs, ass or legs were smaller or constantly compare your body to that of other women? Now, observe how long you had your hand up. Did you put it down at all? Raise it the entire time or just for a few things? Regardless of whether you put your hand up for one, all or none of those questions, the problem still remains that most of us know, are friends with, or are related to women that would answer yes to most of these questions.
In my line of work as a fitness expert, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times women have sought out my guidance because they’ve answered yes to all of the above questions. And I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years.
So why? Why are we constantly chasing this so-called thin ideal? Well, for many reasons. We could blame, mass media, societal, cultural or familial expectations or social media–which tends to be the ‘fall guy’ these days for everything that’s wrong with society. Or we could do what would probably would serve us the most and that is taking extreme ownership over our actions, thoughts and words.
What do I mean by extreme ownership? It’s the idea that we are responsible for everything that happens to us–good or bad, in our lives. Not blaming other people or other factors for our actions. So in this case, rather than allowing the media, marketing, family or society to dictate how we should feel about ourselves or specifically our bodies–we in turn take ownership of what we need to do in order to feel better about our physical aesthetic.
Here is my manifesto for women to help us navigate through some of life’s perils as it relates to chasing this idea of wanting to be thin at any cost:
- Be fiercely kind to yourself
- Comparison is the thief of joy so don’t do it
- Don’t think or say anything negatively to yourself that you wouldn’t think or say to your daughter
- Eat real food, mostly plants
- Workout to build a healthy mind and body
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive women
- Think of yourself as limitless
- Foster a mindset of confidence
- Appreciate your body
- Throw away your scale
- Quit heavily restricting foods
- Don’t subscribe to diet dogma
Whereas this manifesto might not be a complete solution to the issue many women face with regards to chasing skinny. It is however meant to serve as a framework for which to build upon and as a means for starting a conversation. Remember, being thin does not translate into being healthy or vice versa. Being healthy has more so to do with taking care of both our bodies and minds. Anxiety, depression, judgement and self-doubt will begin to subside the minute we decide to take extreme ownership over our health and stop chasing skinny.