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Balancing Self-Acceptance and Fitness

About a year and a half ago, I connected on Facebook with a charming blogger over an issue that we both had similar views about. She struck me as being someone who is at peace with herself, quiet yet strong and very talented. In the last few months, I’ve been following her writing more closely and have been very impressed with her engaging style. Today, I’m happy to have the lovely Fabida doing a guest post for Everyday Gyaan.

 

Author Bio_Photo

Fabida is an erstwhile Software Engineer and current Stay at Home Mom to her boisterous 5 year old. In between all the baking, nagging, reading and cuddling, she manages to blog a bit about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes. Follow Fabida on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus

Balancing Self-Acceptance And Fitness

The first month of the year has ended, and those of us with resolutions are busy taking stock. One thing that struck me as different this year, is that a good many people are focusing more on mental well being like staying stress free or living in the moment than on diets and exercise. It looks like people are tired of singing the ‘I-want-to-lose-weight’ tune!!

In fact, the past few years have been seeing many campaigns geared towards body love and acceptance, with taglines like, ‘Enjoy your Curves’, ‘I Love my Thighs’, ‘Love the Shape You’re In’ and so on and so forth.

All the above campaigns stress that you should love your body no matter what your size and that perceived ‘flaws’ are just normal body parts. They emphasize the fact that you shouldn’t be misled by the media projecting skinny women as the beauty ideal, especially since they either have loads of trainers and plastic surgeons at their disposal or are simply photoshopped into looking like clones of each other.

And they’re right. There just needs to be any award ceremony involving a red carpet, and social media sites are abuzz with who wore what – a lot of which comes down to body comparisons and people ‘ooh’ing and ‘aah’ing over someone’s toned legs or gravity defying behind. It’s no surprise then that we end up with a generation of women who obsess about every part of their bodies leading to absolutely ridiculous body fads like ‘thigh gaps’ and ‘bikini bridges’. Seriously, since when do we measure the gap between our thighs and what significance does it have with regards to our general health?

Shock at the results

I suppose that explains the existence of all the ‘Love your Body’ campaigns. But while I wholeheartedly agree with the message that your body is not something to be trashed and found fault with all the time, I sometimes wonder if political correctness is taking the focus away from health. After all, there’s no denying the fact that obesity is NOT something to be loved and appreciated. And it’s not just about appearances or skinny girl-shaming (“Someone give her a sandwich!!”). There are heaps upon heaps of scientific research that tell us the various health conditions that arise from being overweight. You can’t just ignore all that and say you love your body. Throw your genes and age into the mix and it becomes that much more complicated!! In the spirit of body love, the idea of a plus sized Barbie has stirred up a controversy on Facebook regarding encouragement of unhealthy body proportions. You can read more about it here.

My point is, there has to be a middle ground.

I came across this quote on Pinterest that says, “I don’t work out because I hate my body, I work out because I love it.” That statement, I think, says it best. You love your body because of all the wonderful things that it’s doing for you, and you care too much about it to leave it susceptible to illnesses.

Here is a simple little 3-step Plan to reach that elusive middle ground:

1. Acceptance – Of yourself as a person, of your genes and your body. We all have certain body types which we were born with and it is futile to try to change that. You want to be the best version of yourself, not someone else. This also includes acceptance of others, and not being judgmental.

2. Setting the Right Goals – Yes, you want to look good in the clothes you wear but think beyond that. Aim to stay within a healthy weight range, and to increase your stamina, flexibility and balance. These are what will keep you agile and fit at all ages.

3. Having Fun – In his famous Sunscreen song, Baz Luhrmann said, “Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. ” Truer words were never spoken!! Dance, swim, do somersaults, run after kids, get on the swing – do things that actually make you enjoy your body without worrying about how it looks, but rather about how it feels.

Doesn’t seem too complicated now, does it? Setting yourself free of restrictive body images is liberating not just for your body, but for your soul as well. Welcome to a year full of peace, self love and good health!!

Meditation in the a park on a warm summer day

Have you ever dealt with body image issues? How did they affect your overall health?

 

 

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45 Comments

  1. Sophia Thomas Sophia Thomas August 12, 2016

    I agree that it is important to accept your body and be proud of your accomplishments in life.

  2. […] Why You Should Stop Blogging and read and agreed with the 7 Deadly Sins of Blogging. However, when Fabida,  who writes at Shocks and Shoes brought this article –  12 Reasons  You Should Start A […]

  3. Richa Singh Richa Singh February 7, 2014

    Fabida it is here that many lose track. I personally feel maintaining any middle ground is tough. As humans we have a tendency towards developing a bias. That bias can be grounds for us sticking to certain school of thought with deep rigidity.
    Hence we often find people either obsessed with diet consciousness or couldn’t care a damn about it.
    Richa Singh recently posted..How Should I tell her about you- 100 words on Write TribeMy Profile

    • Fab Fab February 7, 2014

      That is true, Richa, which is why I called it the ‘elusive’ middle ground. A change in attitude, in the way one looks at her body is paramount. Only a wholesome approach will reap results, the others are either fads, or a downward spiral to ill health.
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  4. Obsessivemom Obsessivemom February 5, 2014

    I started out reading this post and almost dismissed it as one of those ‘love your body and forget about weightloss’ ones. However I’m glad I did read on. I haven’t read so much sense in a long time. I’ve had weight issues ever since I remember… Way before I hit my teens. And I have HAD to watch what I eat.. Always. The only time I let go, after my kids were born, I got into cholesterol problems. So letting go is not an option for me. I did have body image issues but have learnt to ease out now. I love my exercise and healthy eating is pretty much partof life. That’s not to say I’m in perfect shape.. But I’ll get there I know. Thanks Corinne for this guest. Off to check Fabida’s blog.

    • Fab Fab February 5, 2014

      I’m glad you read through the whole post!! Even I was chubby as a teen, and hated it when I couldn’t wear what my friends were wearing. You’ve managed to find that perfect balance, congratulations!! I think most people find it hard to actually like exercising, but thinking of how good you’ll feel after that helps, at least in my case!!!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  5. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian February 4, 2014

    Lovely post!

    Some things, like height, can’t be changed at all, and must be accepted without fretting. In fact, they may not matter at all. Aamir, Salman and Shahrukh are almost a foot shorter than Amitabh Bachchan, yet all are superstars in their own right.

    Some things, like weight and shape can be controlled to some extent, and should be without obsessing over them.

    The important thing is to be healthy and feel fit.
    Proactive Indian recently posted..“Just having harmless fun” or simply being cruel?My Profile

    • Fab Fab February 5, 2014

      I think having the right role models is important, even though it shouldn’t be at the expense of appreciating your uniqueness. Thanks for reading!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  6. Rachna Rachna February 4, 2014

    This is a lovely post, Fabida, with oodles of common sense advice. Indeed, I am a complete believer in the philosophy, “I exercise because I love my body!” Nice to see you on Corinne’s blog!

  7. Sulekha Sulekha February 4, 2014

    I have been a little on the healthier side, ever since I had my kids, which is fine, but for my skinny family members 🙂 Both my sisters in law are super thin and my elder sister is a yoga instructor and a fitness freak. I have been told by them on numerous occassions, that I should lose weight and stay fit. I feel fit and healthy, I go for my walks and have a good night’s sleep, I am healthy. I am at peace with myself and with others too, their comments don’t bother me at all 🙂 Thanks for your lovely post, enjoyed reading it.

    • Fab Fab February 4, 2014

      Sulekha, you are a very strong and self confident woman to stay calm in the midst of everything!!! You are an inspiration, keep going strong!!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  8. Pixie Pixie February 4, 2014

    Such a fabulous guest post Corinne! 🙂

    the day I realized that I needed to accept my body, I started enjoying my workouts and I lost weight!
    And yes, for me – fitness is very important and I work towards that.
    Pixie recently posted..100 Words on Saturday 2014 – 5My Profile

    • Fab Fab February 4, 2014

      Wow, you seem to have found that perfect balance we’re all looking for!! Kudos to you for that and wish you a healthy, happy year ahead!!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  9. Melissa Melissa February 4, 2014

    Loving this statement ““I don’t work out because I hate my body, I work out because I love it.” It is so true. And yes there needs to be balance. Sometimes people will use some of the campaigns out there as excuses for not changing for that healthier self. We are talking about self love, in which case we need to SHOW ourselves that love by taking proper care of our bodies. Great article!

    • Fab Fab February 4, 2014

      As soon as I read that statement on Pinterest, I felt that it was the best way to define a healthy exercise-body love relationship. You’re absolutely right, there’s no use saying you love your body if you’re not showing it any love!!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  10. Veens Veens February 4, 2014

    I have been *big* all my life and my nickname in school was *moti*. Used to hate it and get violent if anyone would call me that. All through teens I just was always so conscious about my looks and my weight – now I think it was a ridiculous waste of time because I was fabulous then 🙂 🙂
    Now post my 1st delivery I put on a WHOLE lot of weight and with my 2nd, I cannot tell you how I am 🙂 But I have cleared my mind – have had a pep talk with myself, I have set my goals and this time they are realistic. I want to be healthy and active and that’s what matters to me now. I love what you have written and absolutely agree with everything 🙂 and the 3 step plan is what I am going to be following as well. Thanks Fab.
    Veens recently posted..Guest Post: How to Prepare your Child for a New BabyMy Profile

    • Fab Fab February 4, 2014

      Having a baby requires a tremendous amount of energy, and more importantly, a stable and happy state of mind. Congratulations on realizing that you are fabulous on your own!! There is currently a cartoon running on Cartoon Network India, in which a boy is openly called Fatso by his classmates. He is also portrayed in a negative light, being dim-witted and ill-tempered to boot. Now THAT is what the body love campaigns have to target – it’s no use teaching kids that ‘fat’ = ugly/mean/unintelligent and then trying to undo all that damage as adults with ‘Love Your Body’ campaigns.
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  11. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg February 4, 2014

    This post spoke to me! True it all starts with acceptance. We usually fight with ourselves, struggle against ourselves and our bodies. But we must learn to accept and appreciate who we are and that’s half the battle. Rest should be easy with proper goal setting! Good to see you here, Fabida and thanks for sharing such lovely pointers! 🙂
    Shilpa Garg recently posted..How Do I Tell Her About YouMy Profile

    • Fab Fab February 4, 2014

      Thank you, Shilpa!! Self acceptance is definitely the hardest thing to do and we should be prepared to give it time. Glad you liked the post!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  12. Fab Fab February 3, 2014

    That’s true Roshan. Especially on days that you’re feeling particularly low, it’s hard to feel that you’re okay the way you are. As long as you’re healthy and you know you’re doing everything you can to keep it that way, you are fine, really. On such a bad day, come back and read this post!!!
    Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  13. Roshan R Roshan R February 3, 2014

    I cant lie. I always have an issue with self-esteem and my weight. I know I should learn to be accepting of what I am, but its never easy… at some point of time, all the comments and snide remarks do get to you.
    Roshan R recently posted..Your future Prime Minister awaits you!My Profile

  14. Alka Alka February 3, 2014

    Acceptance is the key. More and more women are accepting their bodies and focussing on health rather than weight. Good one Fabida.

    • Fab Fab February 3, 2014

      That is true, Alka. Lots more women are waking up to the realization that every one is unique and special in their own way. And I think bloggers have a huge role to play in undoing the damage done by the media.
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  15. Aditi Aditi February 3, 2014

    Lovely post and the three steps so easy and practical…acceptance and loving yourself are the key to happiness.. Agreed!
    Aditi recently posted..My Earliest MemoryMy Profile

  16. Bhavya Bhavya February 3, 2014

    Self acceptance is a journey and slowly but surely I will get there. This is I am sure of.
    Thanks for hosting Fabida on your blog Corinne and thanks for writing something that would resonate with so many of us Fabida 🙂
    Bhavya recently posted..How Do I Tell Her About YouMy Profile

    • Fab Fab February 3, 2014

      You’re welcome, Bhavya!! I’m glad you liked the post. I agree, self acceptance isn’t an overnight change, especially for people who’ve had body image issues since childhood. But it is a very healing and positive journey, with a serene life to look forward to!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  17. Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | February 3, 2014

    This is truly a ‘Fab’ post, Fabida. Having struggled for year with both self-acceptance and resistance to a fitness routine, this post resonates with me. I’m hoping this year is a better one for me in which to find that balance!
    Thanks again.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Compliments: Turn The Light Back OnMy Profile

    • Fab Fab February 3, 2014

      Corinne, you are too kind!!! I’m glad that this post has been able to touch a common spot in all of us – thank you again for hosting me here!!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  18. Pratibha Pratibha February 3, 2014

    Loved the post and the song Sunscreen is one of my fav songs! I went into tizzy post the delivery and I was always thinking what others would would say about my physical appearance. I spent a good 3 years in discomfort till I met like minded people rather moms who made me feel comfortable with myself. Makes a sea of difference to your esteem!
    Pratibha recently posted..Homemade Body Scrubs – 4 easy recipesMy Profile

    • Fab Fab February 3, 2014

      I have one child and have never got back to my pre pregnancy weight. My neighbor had her third baby a few months back and she doesn’t look different at all!!! You’re so right, a good and positive support group is a huge help :).
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  19. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury February 3, 2014

    Hey Fabi! So nice to see you here 😀
    Dieting and exercise because I “had” to have always been fleeting thoughts. I don’t like to stress over it. Instead, I’ve always found it best to stay active – as long as we’re healthy and have no health issues, I think it is a happy place to be.

    Self Acceptance doesn’t come easy to most people though, and I suspect it is because of a tendency to constantly compare with others.

    Loved your post!

    Thanks Corinne. Delightful as always, to visit you.
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Inspiring Stories of Faith. I Asked for Proof. I Got It.My Profile

    • Fab Fab February 3, 2014

      Thank you Vidya!! I feel so welcome here :). I understand, I don’t like to think of exercise as a chore either. But when I don’t do it for a few days, I start feeling dull and I know exercise will perk me up. And yes, comparison with others, especially celebrities is a huge cause for discontent with one’s body.
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  20. Jyothi Nair Jyothi Nair February 3, 2014

    This is just the thing I wanted to read today. I totally agree with Fabida on this that you can’t be overly obese and then claim to love and accept your body. The mid path is the most difficult to find. We need to work on improving stamina and general health.I have always been on the huger side and I am fine with that, it is the flabs that I worry about and which need to go. Working on that this year along with the mental peace which follows that weight loss. 🙂
    Jyothi Nair recently posted..My Earliest MemoryMy Profile

    • Fab Fab February 3, 2014

      Me too, Jyothi. My Grandma, Mom and her sisters are all on the short and plump side, so it’s no wonder that I’m also like that :). But my sister is tall and slim with a super human metabolism. We look so unlike each other – an example of the games played by our genes!! Good luck on achieving your goals this year!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  21. Rainbow Hues Rainbow Hues February 3, 2014

    For a very very long time I was dissatisfied with who I am and how I look. Even though people always saw the confident exterior, in my heart I knew I always wanted to be someone else, like some of my friends who could eat all they wanted and still look like a million bucks. Yes, there was a major self esteem issue with me. Primarily because people around me (some of them family) kept pointing out my ‘flaws’. I hated the way my body was reacting to illness and I started finding solace in even the slightest of indication coming from someone that they liked what they saw in me (internally).

    Just about a few years ago, I made peace with how I looked and what made me the person that I am. I started loving my body just as it is. Primarily because I started accepting the shape I was in.Also, the 3 step plan mentioned here, really was my mantra to ensure I do not fall for suggestion for crash diets or other fitness regimes.

    Thanks for this post.It talks to me about me!
    Rainbow Hues recently posted..Freedom. Forever.My Profile

    • Fab Fab February 3, 2014

      I guess we all have that little part within us that seeks validation from others. But sometimes it can get too much. I’m glad you’ve done away with it and have found your balance!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

  22. Kathy Kathy February 3, 2014

    I remember when I was first diagnosed with high blood pressure. My doctor told me I had to lose weight. I had to eat better. Well I tried to eat better, and I lost a little bit of weight…but not a lot. I was so depressed because of what the scale didn’t say. Finally the scale was regulated to the garage and I chose to enjoy life and be happy, just the way I am. I am OK. ♥ Loved this article Corinne. It made me feel so much better all ways around.
    Kathy recently posted..Super Bowl Sunday HaikuMy Profile

    • Fab Fab February 3, 2014

      I know your pain!! I have been working out regularly, but the scale hasn’t budged!!! Good thing, you got rid of it for your peace of mind!
      Fab recently posted..Balancing Self-Acceptance and FitnessMy Profile

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