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Focus on what your body can do, instead of what your body looks like

“Focus on what your body can do, instead of what your body looks like”. That was part of our ‘thought for the day’ at yesterday’s bootcamp.

The media will tell us that being healthy looks a certain way. The message is everywhere. Sometimes it’s blatant and other times it’s subtle. But there’s an underlying message that says that fitness = looking a certain (almost always unattainable) way.

I struggled for decades with the fact that I just never could look the way that I ‘should’. I was always too big and too bulky and knew that I just was never enough, no matter how hard I tried.

The more people I talk to who open up about how they feel about their bodies, the more I realise that so many people are battling an internal battle because they just don’t look the way that they want to.

There is a big movement right now to celebrate more different types of bodies and sizes. While I think that is a good thing, I actually think we need to go one step further than that. How about instead of celebrating all body shapes and sizes, we just take the focus OFF shape and size altogether?

What if we start celebrating people for their achievements? What if we measure ourselves not on some arbitrary ideal of looking good, but on being able to do something new? For overcoming a challenge? For running your first 5km? For running at all?

What if we all start getting excited about what our bodies can do each and every day and just opt out of the BS story that puts all the focus on mirrors and scales and kilograms and calories and blah blah blah blah.

I used this photo for the post because a year ago, during a PT session with Rich, he asked me to do a box jump. As I lined up in front of it, I just couldn’t jump. It was a mix of my fear of heights (?) and fear of falling or failing. But I literally just couldn’t make myself jump.

Over the coming weeks I worked on it and it was a huge thrill to finally be able to do the box jump. I get even more excited now at bootcamp when someone else does it for the first time. Over the last few years I’ve really discovered the joy of pushing my body to do new things and accepting it the way that it is. Our body is something we live in. We can’t escape it while we’re here on this earth. So how about we start looking after it and enjoying all the things it can do for us.

And however that looks, let that be ok.

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