I’ve been the industry’s standard of skinny, curvy, chubby, overweight, thin, toned, normal and just about every other descriptive word you can think of when it comes to weight. And many moons and lifestyle changes later, I can assure you of one single thing:
Being a particular size doesn’t make you happy, it doesn’t make your life any easier and it certainly doesn’t make you a better human being.
I think that many of us can relate to a time that we’ve scrolled through image after image on Instagram and been inspired by the toned abs and perky butts peeking out from underneath a pristine-looking chick’s workout gear. And that’s awesome! She’s clearly worked hard, she looks fabulous and, hell, if I had abs that good I’d be wrapping a snake around my neck and doing my own take on Britney’s “Slave For You.”
Like, for real! That would be fun!
But here’s the thing, my babes: It’s unrealistic to believe we can be pristine and perfect for every second of the fricking day, and not all fitness selfies are created equal.
What about the before shot of hauling yourself into that Air Yoga pose? You know, the one where your arm is trapped in the ropes, your nose is squashed, you’re most certainly not aligned horizontally (and um, there might be some camel toe happening down there).
And this is why I love an imperfect fitness photo ever so slightly more than the one of me nailing a pose: because it’s real! Because it’s relatable! Because it’s a split-second example of a positive message to unleash on the world that perfection is overrated.
My journey to fitness has been an interesting one. My goal was not to look like a supermodel or avoid having a muffin top in a bikini. I was actually looking for ways to manage my anxiety in a more sustainable and natural way and—boom—sweating like a crazy woman and getting those endorphins pumping hits the spot every time!
Fast forward three years, and if it involves me moving in one way or another, I’m all for it!
But the sad thing is that since my ever-increasing involvement in the world of health and fitness, I’ve sometimes obsessed over the looks side of working out and compare my body to others. It doesn’t happen often and I’m aware of it. Nobody’s perfect right?
And this is why you’ll often see the photo of me in pain stretching out with 72 chins after class or that time the reformer clearly had it out for me and I had no control over what was happening to my legs.
Pilates 1, Emma 0.
May I take this opportunity to point out that not every second of working out is pretty/flattering/an opportunity to get your abs out. There’s also the sweat, pain, weird noises and double chin to factor in ? CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH ?? Getting my stretch on after @tjlawrence3 and I were put through our paces tonight at @inspiredmvmt thanks to @classpass ✌?️ I’m yet to find another gym where I can play football and juggle in between reps ????? Check it out ✔️
It’s a reminder that I am so much more than a fitness selfie or the way my body looks in a particular angle. I’m the girl who just owned that workout like a boss, and you can, too!
It’s important to not only limit these crazy expectations we impose on ourselves when building a healthy body and mind but to also recognize how it makes us feel when we do. Why focus on how someone else’s looks when we can pour our energy into cultivating happiness from within? Body confidence starts from the inside and no amount of filtered photos or perfected poses will ever change that. Fact.
And hey, I love a good selfie as much as the next person, and if I happen to look fabulous in my new gear and a cute ponytail hanging from the gym rings, you can bet your bottom dollar that baby is going to feature on the gram! It’s about finding that balance and learning to love yourself. Every side of yourself.
I’m beyond proud to be a part of a generation that is lifting the veil on body image and striving for better awareness. We come in all sorts of packages, and as long as we are happy and healthy, what’s not to love about ourselves and each other?
So we can strive for perfection and the fitness selfies a lot of us expect to see or we can have fun working out and cherish the bodies that do so much for us than we sometimes give them credit for. Chins and all.
I know what I choose. What will you?