I think many of us need to reevaluate what it is we want from our bodies. The media has pushed this image of what perfect bodies look like with paper thin models like Kate Moss plastered on billboards and male models in the fashion industry having gone from healthy and built to noticeably thinner so that clothes hang on them better, more like they do in the stores on a coat hanger.
Fitness models have a completely different build than is sought out in high fashion. They work out, value muscle and consume enough calories and nutrients to sustain them. They are not featured in the majority of ad campaigns.
The other problem with this is the focus not on health but on outer visual image only. Many of these models are not healthy – having eating disorders or dieting very restrictively on a permanent basis in order to maintain the ideal weight for the industry standard.
We seem to be stuck on our number. What do I weigh? Am I over weight? What does the chart say? – Is that what really matters? I guarantee outside of the fashion and body building worlds people aren’t looking at you and thinking “hummmmm 123, 220, 156?”
They are visually size you up – impressions of “healthy”, “fit”, “happy”, “attractive” or the opposite “fat”, “out of shape”, “flabby” – but none of that is number dependant.
What is your goal? Simply to get into in smaller clothes so that you can say you are your ideal imagined number or to be fit, feel healthy and look good?
Muscle weighs more than fat. But, with that said, muscle also takes up less space. When you have a toned muscular build your body is denser and tighter, where as if you are simply smaller, having reduced only your weight whether through calorie restriction or exercise you still may appear larger than your muscular counter part. Two people who weigh the same on a scale may look very different visually and may be in very different health conditions.
If you want to tone you have to train muscle fibers not just your cardiovascular system. Weight baring exercises and resistance exercises are recommended for toning. You can run and do cardio till the cows come home, burning off the fat and calories needs to be balanced with the actual building of muscle.
We need our bodies to do more than just look good. They need to feel good and work well. They need to be strong in order to fight of infections and pollutants. In order to really live and enjoy your life feeling good is a prerequisite. If you feel run down, ill, tired or even just generally worn out, life loses its luster.
What we need to realize is that health IS beautiful. Beauty isn’t about wearing designer clothes or fitting into a size 6. It is about how you feel on the inside, which in turn radiates outwardly.
So the next time you go to step on that scale, realize that it is just a number. Let the mirror and how you feel be your guide instead.