We love it. In fact, we cannot get enough body talk. Everywhere we turn, someone is talking about some part, piece, or example of a body. We’re bombarded with diets and workouts, clothing styles to buy and fabrics to wick, and we’re literally saturated with the idea that our body is imperfect...but could be…IF…
And the irony of me being a yoga/barre/Pilates teacher...I GET it okay, I also infiltrate the market hoping people will need me. But it’s different. Lol no trust me, I’m different.
Maybe it’s having an eating disorder. Maybe it’s my 10 years working for an industry that cares more about retroactive care than full time, preventative homeostasis.
Personally, I think we all find frustration with “wellness.” We’re subconsciously made to believe we’re lacking and should constantly be working to improve. Instagram is such a crusader - seeking prey on our psyche and confidence. We open and scroll through post after post of perfectly filtered, airbrushed, and facetuned bodies that defy the laws of being a living, breathing human.
And it’s not impossible. I’m not hating on those that have put in the work. I admire my dedicated students who live for macros and musculature. I’m impressed by brute strength and the path to peak form. It takes dedication and commitment.
What I am concerned with is:
The hyper focus on physical appearance
The desire young men and women develop to look EXACTLY like society demands
Those that take control to a dangerous level
Let’s talk about it. You cannot walk down any NYC street without seeing a store front packed with mannequins dressed in clothing we can’t afford, styles we can’t wear, and with ideals we don’t believe in. Yet…we want to. We want to look and feel the way money tells us to. The way the fashion industry tells us to. The way they look, think, act, dress, behave.
We’re lost in a realm that isn’t real and doesn’t fit (lol literally). Not only are we unconscious of healthy attitudes but we’re OBSESSED.
And our youth are the most susceptible. And as were we just through different media lenses (y’all remember Teen Vogue?!). Under impressionable glasses young people are literally brainwashed to believe they need “success” to be healthy. Only “successful” people have the best workouts, the best performance clothing, and access to the newest fad trends that are “guaranteed” to keep you young. So CHILDREN are taught to fight their natural state and work to HAVE, forgoing happiness and internal acceptance for outward, if even debt inducing, appearance.
We’re all guilty. I’ll speak first that I advocate and buy from stores like Alo Yoga who are albeit overpriced but a huge player in the problem. Walking into their stores you see impossibly thin mannequins doing impossibly outrageous asana. Their sponsored ambassadors are picturesque and preach a lifestyle that many cannot achieve. We’re not fortunate enough to leave our day job to live freely in [insert exotic location here]. We have hormones that change our bodies, obligations, student loans, and a lack of access to REASONABLY PRICED wellness services.
So what do we do? Naturally we turn to what we do have access to: our body. We fight for an inhumane level of self control, restricting, dieting, “researching,” and working out. And if we’re not, we’re miserable. The fitness industry INVENTED cheat day. Do you know why? To convince you to buy into synthetic protein, supplements, energy drinks, and ionizing, manmade money wasters that you “NEED” to take twice daily every day for literally forever. The more you spend, the more you’ll take, addicted to the idea that this HAS to work because they did STUDIES, and you’re too quick to judge those that maintain without. Salvation on cheat day right? The one day a week we’re PERMITTED to eat OTHER things besides the ones we’ve spent hundreds of dollars on.
It is important to digress and note that I am not an old, conservative, Republican. I’m remarkably liberal and truly do appreciate all bodies, lifestyles, and perspectives…
Nutrition isn’t the nature of this post though, that one is to come. Whether or not the body needs synthetic protein, soy, or excessive supplements is widely debated and I encourage all my clients to do what works for them. My clients will tell you that I never encourage nor push them into any anything. I provide education and thought provoking inspiration that leads them to discover their own path. But nutrition is one of the very few things that I stand fairly firm on…that’s a rant for another day…
You can do whatever you want. Assuming, what works for you is actually WORKING. Assuming you’re eating your recommended caloric intake, satisfying your “recommended” nutritional needs, and including protein powder because you WANT to.
Ahhhh. The difference. The major differential in what’s working and what’s just restrictive coping.
Want vs need.
Desire to do vs should do.
If we find enjoyment and internal peace out of life filled with constrained eating and specialty clothing then by god, CONTINUE LIVING!!! I have no qualms with those who meditate through diets and appreciate the fluctuations of the wellness industry.
If you’re like me and use food to cope, you may experience guilt, shame, and play the blame game with yourself ENDLESSLY. It goes like this:
*Stays up all night doing anything other than sleeping and snoozes 1000 times in the morning*
*Shit. I’m late. Fuck, why didn’t I wake up earlier omg now I can’t fucking work out*
*Okay bitch calm down. I’ll work out on my lunch break*
*Fuck it’s lunch and I can’t take a break. Fuck you’re so fucking fat you should have gotten out of bed you squishy, lazy slug. Good thing you don’t have time to eat anyway. Fine, you’ll work out after work*
*Mother of god I’m starving. One snack and then I’ll work out. I didn’t even eat lunch so I have to eat*
*Eats enough for 7 people to make up for lack of caloric intake during the day*
*You are SO stupid! Now you have to work out double you disgusting pig person*
*Either: works out and gets sick because didn’t wait long enough to digest or is too full to work out*
*Online binge shops for gear, leggings, protein that will definitely inspire heathy living*
*Okay, I’ll get a good night’s sleep and do it right tomorrow. But I’ll do exclusively 2 hours of HIIT every day for a week so I can make up for being so disappointing*
*Repeat every day until you die*
Sound familiar? Probably. Sound sustainable or happy? NO!
And here’s what it boils down to. You do you. You don’t have to buy, have, possess, or control to feel healthy. And feeling is so much more important for sustainability and longevity than looking healthy is. Remember your genetics, your natural state, and find the balance where you can live without pain or panic.
Mental health is viably a lot more important than physical health. So many mental health issues find manifestation and expression through the body. Meaning? If you calm and work FOR your mind, WITH it, instead of against it, your body will respond.
Watch those abs appear after you let go of the control...trust me, I had anorexia AND bulimia for 10.long.years. Stop fighting and you’ll get results…or your money back.
And if you need help, I’m here. I teach all kinds of mindful workouts that will make your limbs fall off...and then we’ll rebuild them! Working from the inside out. Reiki is so important. It digs deep and unlocks emotional blocks, stored trauma, and allows the body to relax. Relaxation leads to rest which leads to repair which leads to…? Anyone? Yes! Leads to PEAK PERFORMANCE. Repair leads to release from pressure and guilt. Shame lifts and makes room for focus, breath, and peace.
With peace and through healing, we can bring about practices like yoga that encourage our body to explore itself. Yoga is not just a workout or a stretch - yoga is a way to enforce energetic cleanse. Yes, you can do some of the ground work on your own in a yoga class. We have asana not to “tone” but to atone, forgive, grow. So that’s where I come in. To guide y’all along the road to self acceptance, self love, and clarity. Our bodies are simple creatures and have so many means to protect. Our minds hypersensationalize and use control to distract us from the deeper issues - and thus, anxiety related our issues are born.
As Demi Lovato would sing, if my body had a say...
Now go eat a snack and get some sleep!