In the United States, the news is cluttered with the faces of airbrushed, famished superstars that make us look at our own bodies with worry and shame. Why do we look at people with beauty teams and personal trainers and find ourselves compelled to compare our own bodies… As if we’re all just assembled pieces that we can just trade in for the next great piece? When did our bodies become products rather than flesh-made vessels for our souls?
I used to look at my chub rub (you know, that area where your thighs touch) with disappointment and almost anger. I had worked so hard at the gym, poured enough sweat out of my body to fill a ten gallon tank basically, and the one spot on my body that I needed to kick for good was kicking me back… in the face. It was hard to accept that it would take a little more time and a little more push, but eventually, I did achieve the look I was aiming for. No, my thighs didn’t touch anymore. But was I happy? No. I wasn’t happy. I had realized something by that achievement. I was looking at celebrities as images of what I should look like, rather than trying to achieve my own personal success in my own body. It was shameful. I was naive, but I’ve learned better since then. Now, I do still have a chub rub. But you know what? I can also push myself to 400 lbs on the calf machine at the gym. I’ve learned that my progress in the gym, the weights that I lift and the cardio that I endure, will make me a stronger person, both mentally and physically. My body won’t be thin like a supermodel or an actress trying to snag a movie role that circulates around the specific Hollywood “look”. My body will have muscle everywhere, not to the point where I look like the Incredible Hulk, but to the point where it doesn’t hurt to pick up my hand weights, carry suit cases up stairs, and move out of my apartment on my own. It’ll not only give me an aesthetic I’m proud of, but it will gift me with the benefits of someone who treasures their body and wants to improve it, rather than break it down to keep it thin. My own journey has taken me off the scale and onto my own path to fitness, and I can honestly say I couldn’t be happier because of it.
Don’t let the tabloids tell you how you need to look. Don’t let gaining a pound on the scale dictate how you eat that night. Take care of yourself, and your body will evolve. We all have our own paths and our own pace in which we progress through our fitness goals. Remember to evaluate how you wish to accomplish your goals and what is the driving force of those goals. Do you want to be healthy, or is the goal something else? How can you make your body image one of appreciation, rather than disheartening comparison?