Fit Not Thin and What Are We Telling Our Kids?

The other day in the gym one girl told another she used to hate her thighs. Now I hear this self loathing talk fairly often but this young woman was maybe a freshman in college, but more likely in high school. Both women wore shorts and sleeveless shirts so it was easy to see they were both athletic and fit looking. The positive note was that she used to hate her thighs because they were muscular.

Recently a woman asked me if my thighs got bigger from running and spin class. She wouldn’t attend spin since someone told her it would make her thighs bigger. Another well-meaning relative told me not to do a workout by a popular fitness instructor because she had big thighs and I was sure to get them as well.

My thighs did not get big from doing the workout video nor did they get big from spin class or running. They did tone up quite a bit and I have more muscle definition. I don’t consider that a bad thing, it’s nice to see the results of hard work.

That  young woman and I both have the same thought: our bodies can do amazing things. These legs have run over a dozen half-marathons, hours of running practice, 5Ks, 10Ks, and cycled hundreds of miles. I can squat, lunge, and dead lift weights.It makes every day life, such as picking up a child, dog, or groceries, a heck of a lot easier. It’s also empowering.

Which is the gist of what I told my niece when she was 8 and said to me, “look how big my legs get when I sit down.” At 8 years old! After showing her that everyone’s legs did that we talked about what she liked to do and how being strong helped her accomplish that.

Which leads me to wonder what messages we’re sending to those around us, including children and teens. Would you rather they viewed themselves as strong, fit, healthy, and capable or as slaves to the scale and worried about looking too big? Do you express verbally or non-verbally unhappiness with your weight or your body? Kids notice this and mimic that behavior.

It helps to talk positively about what you like about yourself. Praise your kids for what they accomplish and the effort they put in, rather than focusing on how they look.

What makes you feel fit and healthy? What do you like about yourself?

Need help with eating in a way that supports you and your lifestyle? One where you can feel fit and healthy? Email me at janinemchale@gmail.com to see how I can help you.

Why I Laughed at the Trainer’s Ideal Weight For Me

WeightLiftingYesterday I had my complimentary training session with a trainer at my gym. I wanted a few tips on form and ideas on what to incorporate as I strengthen my hips and glutes. He was cool and I liked the moves, almost all of which I already do. We talked about goals in the post session assessment. And, of course, this always includes weight loss.

I have started to lose the extra weight I’ve gained over the last year, I have more to go. Stress over my husband and training for a marathon had me eating more than I should. (The food might be healthy but there was too much. I’m sure there were instances my choices could have been better as well). The goal the computer picked for me had me cracking up though.

Um, no, I may look good at 142 but I feel like crap. I’m tired and my body aches at that weight. A few pounds more and I’m a happy camper. I also will not count calories, calories are not created equal. And counting calories tends to lead me to crazy town. I’d rather focus on hitting nutrients and getting in my 9 servings of veggies. (Yes, 9. A serving is a 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables. It’s not that hard).

You could tell the trainer thought I was a bit nuts. I did explain why I won’t count calories and he understood. We both understand that there are many healthy, nutrient dense foods and that’s what I need to focus on with my training.

My current weight isn’t unhealthy, it’s just too much for me. My ideal weight is also well within healthy norms, just not as low as charts say it could be. As long as your body is healthy and strong don’t get caught up in a specific number or size. I have a few people who are my height and weight and none of us wear the same size. I’m no longer stuck on it.

I can run 18 miles. lift weights, touch the floor with straight knees and carry my 30+ pound dog when she’s afraid to go up stairs. That all means more to me than if I can wear a size 6 or 8 jeans.

Do you struggle with weight and body image? I’ve been there and it sucks. Shoot me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to discuss whether working with me is right for you. No blame, no shame – just getting healthy.