I think we (including myself) need have more compassion, empathy, and less judgment.
Let me explain...
I have been an athlete my entire life and in the fitness industry teaching for the past 15 years. I have never had weight or food issues. Working out comes natural to me and I enjoy it. I know this is not the majority of the population, which is why my role as a mom, wife, daughter, friend and fitness instructor becomes even more important.
I had a couple interesting conversations with fitness professionals lately that caused me to stop and think. This wasn't just one or two people it was several which is why I thought it warranted a post.
The comments all were along the same thread, fat=lazy, fit= healthy. Back with I was young, dumb, and self-center (see ages 18-23) I'll admit I use to think the same thing..."Why don't you work out more?, Stop eating that and you won't be fat, duh!, Stop watching so much TV and move your body, Don't complain about your weight and not do anything about it, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, Just work out!"
Now being a business owner, wife, mom of two young kids, friend, daughter and fitness professional I do realize this world is way more complicated then just work out, eat right and you won't be fat.
Social media has glamorized and exacerbated the term “fit”.
Sometimes I fell like I am viewing soft porn with some of the pictures posted by “fitness” folks. So many posts are not about being healthy it is about being sexy and showing how do these 5 exercises you too can look like this. Without showing you the real story behind the video or photo filters.
Daily we are bombarded with eat this, not that, try this work out program, in 21 days you will look and feel amazing, or wait... in 30 days you will only eat whole foods and your life will be better than you ever imagined.
If it were only this easy! There is so much conflicting information from Vegan to Paleo. If you do HITT, Crossfit or Yoga plus eat no gluten, dairy, soy, grains etc then you will achieve ultimate health. I am not here to debate which method is best, although at one point I would like to read all the scientific data behind all assumptions.
Rather I would implore all of us to use compassion and empathy first before passing any judgement.
Yes, there are some people who fall into the lazy category but I would say for majority of people overweight, there are much deeper issues going on both mentally and metabolically. Issue that we will never know nor do we need to know. So often in life we expect people to think like we think, do what we do and be how we want them to be. Health and fitness is no different. It comes easy to most of the fitness professional hence the reason we do it.
I have several friends who are dealing with weight issues and it is not because they are lazy and uneducated on how to care for their body, actually it is quite the opposite. They are so busy saving lives, building businesses, caring for their family and conquering the world they don't have the time or energy to focus on themselves. While other are battling with depression, dealing with autoimmune diseases, recovering from deaths in their family and just trying to keep it all together.
I dealt with my own health issue a couple years ago. I will tell you it was the best physically I have ever looked. I was 10 lbs below my normal weight. It is not because I was working out and eating right rather it is because I have been sick. So although on the outside I might look like optimal health internally I am just trying make it to my next meal.
Careful before you start judging other.
I'm guilty of it myself for passing judgment and assuming optimal health is easy to achieve. But my hope is next time the judgment monster or inner critic pops up we can ask ourselves, what else could be going on in their lives and how can meet the person exactly where they are at? Or if you are the one judging yourself, I would ask you to take a step back and acknowledge all the great things your body CAN do.
I know you have heard this before but now more than ever. It is not about the outside physical appearance, so don’t let some unrealistic expectation drive your internal emotions.
We call could use some compassion and empathy -- let's start with ourselves.
By Elizabeth Cumby, M.B.A. - Entrepreneur and Wellness Expert