The issue of body image comes up a lot in my mind.
It comes to mind for personal reasons, and because I am a physician who treats women and men who struggle with their weight.
Often I wonder to myself, how do we balance our desire to be healthy and fit with our desire to look a certain way?
How do we differentiate that desire to be “perfect” based on society’s norms and wanting to be healthy?
It’s a fine line and really boils down to our motivations. Our “Why?”
What do you see when you look in the mirror? How do you define yourself?
Do you judge others based on their physique?
What if we can change the way we think about our bodies? Not by a standard defined by magazines, media, and celebrities?
What if we could look at our bodies by what they DO for us and then treat our bodies with the respect and attention they deserve?
What if I could look at my arms (in the dreaded side angle picture) and think instead- these strong arms help me carry my children, carry the groceries, and have allowed me to provide support to my aging patients?
What if I could look at my legs and think- these strong legs have allowed me to travel the world, go for a leisurely walk and to assume the warrior 3 yoga pose I worked so hard to master?
What if I could look at my stomach that has never been “quite flat enough” and think- it is my core and supports me in all I do, constantly holding me up?
Our bodies are an amazing gift, given to us to experience LIFE.
The result of this kind of thinking could be that I focus on strengthening my arms and legs. I could focus on strengthening my core so I could give my body the support and balance it needs. I could focus on reducing my abdominal size by choosing better nutrition because I want to reverse my risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
I could focus on the nutrition and nourishment my body deserves to fuel the cells in my brain, heart, lungs, gut and skin that allow me to think, love, breathe, stay free of disease, and feel.
When we put the right types of foods into our bodies, get enough sleep, decrease environmental and emotional stressors, avoid toxins like alcohol and sugar, and exercise our bodies- we are respecting this amazing gift we have been given.
Let your motivations not just be about your appearance or what you think you should look like to others, but when you embark on your health and fitness New Year’s Resolutions this year- really consider your WHY. LET YOUR REASON BE YOU- inside and out.