I thought about posting this photo four times this week. But I never did. Why?
Because I'm terrified.
My entire adult life I have worked to be smaller - thinner - leaner - lighter. And it's not surprising either, because seemingly, that's what the world wants for me (and you) too. There's a one-size-fits-all expectation that's going around like a bad stomach bug. And I'm sick and tired of it.
This notion that hip bones, thigh gaps and shredded bellies are something to aspire to...it needs to change. Hear me when I say - I believe weight loss can be a powerful, life giving tool. Most of my career is centered around helping clients lose weight and live happier, healthier lives, and I love it! It's rewarding beyond measure. But these clients would tell you that their lives are improved by the healthy habits they adopt, not shrivelled and scarred by them.
But the expectations we place upon young men and women, upon each other, upon ourselves, to be a certain thing or look a certain way; it takes, it deprives, and it devalues anything that's not "front cover worthy". Why are we okay with this? If we're not happy where we are, why don't we move?
Let's move! I never thought I'd say this (at least not willingly and intentionally), but friends, I am gaining weight. I am setting fat loss aside right now to focus on building muscle, on getting stronger, on being healthier. And I'm sort of really excited about it. And I'm also sort of scared, because, whyonearthwouldIwanttotrytogainweight!? But, over the years I've learned a lot about health and wellness - some academically, some occupationally and some recreationally. And the most important thing I can share with you is this - balance. Wellness is a wheel, not a straight line. There are seasons to be more aggressive, seasons of maintenance and yes, even "off seasons". And I encourage you to not judge or criticise yourself for whatever season you may be in. But ask yourself this, where would I be happiest right now, given my current circumstances? And if it's not where I am currently standing, why the hell am I not moving?
Do something because you want to, not because you're afraid of what everyone else will think. Do something because it's what's best for you, not because someone - or some magazine/TV show/friend of a friend - told you to. Just do you.
I remember, at 17 years old; a size 4 weighing 123 pounds at 5'9", a modelling photographer taking my picture and saying to me, "you could go global if you lost 10 pounds".
And I remember, as I worked hard to recover from an eating disorder and gain weight back, a friend saying to me with disgust written on his face, "but you aren't going to add too much more muscle, right?"
Well, I'm throwing it all back in their faces because, yes, I am working to gain muscle which will make that scale go UP and I am going to love and accept myself more because of it. Because I refuse to be defined by a number or an emaciated expectation. I've been there, I'm not going back.
So for me, right now, stronger and sexier is the goal.
But I want to hear where you are. What's your goal? And are you happy there?
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.