The Ugly Truth about Beauty
In my quest to help end the trend that is plaguing America and many other developed countries, I lost myself along the way. This post is my “thinking out loud” regroup to help me focus on what is really important. I would love to be thin, not skinny, but small enough to feel like I blend in with a crowd of fitness professionals. I exercise hard and watch what I eat and do all of the other things that I ask of my clients, but at the end of the day, my reality is that my 5 foot 10 inch frame may prefer to hold on to some of the junk in my trunk and elsewhere. I am in my forties, I have had some health issues that require daily medication to keep me alive and healthy, and both of those things are working against me, not to mention some bad genetics. The thing is, although I desperately want to feel good about the way I look, I have realized that I would much rather be able to get down on the ground and play with future grandchildren, travel with my husband without having to sit and take breaks all day, and feel well. If I had to make the choice, I would trade my idea of beauty for function. I asked some of my readers their opinion on the topic and 96% of those I asked agreed with me. If we ever needed to defend ourselves or our loved ones, run from a crazy bear, or be able to save ourselves, in a situation requiring physical strength to survive, all but 4% of us would gladly go up a size and enjoy life, protect life, and live life.
We are surrounded by pictures of super thin men and woman and over-developed men and women, then told that they are the ideal. I disagree. Beauty is not a size 2 model with breast implants that can barely walk down a beach without losing her breath. Beauty is not a muscle bound man or woman that can barely brush his/her own hair or put on their own shoes because of all the muscles in the way. The human body is a wonderful and beautiful instrument. All shapes and sizes and colors of the human form hold beauty. A body that functions at its highest level, that is capable, that is powerful, that is strong, that is flexible, has beauty. A father dancing with his little girl is beautiful. A mother laughing with and crawling around on the ground, playing with her son is beautiful. Grandparents riding bicycles together, parents jogging together, friends kicking a soccer ball around or swimming or playing tennis, or walking are beautiful. A family being active together is beautiful. Happiness is beautiful. Love is beautiful.
I am not saying that it is a good thing to be overweight. What I am saying is that being overweight does not define your beauty. Feeling disgusted with yourself will lessen your beauty, much like depression, anger, fear, laziness, and giving up does. When we are no longer able or no longer willing to try, our beauty fades.
While obesity is a serious concern, it cannot trump mental health. Confidence is sexy at any size. Yes, I do believe that we all need to exercise and eat correctly to achieve optimal health. Exercise and proper eating, however, is not a guarantee that you will be happy with your appearance. I would like to continue working with you all to end the trend of obesity, but while doing so, let’s not forget that being overweight does not mean you aren’t beautiful or worthy, or important, or useful. Our excess weight is a symptom of old habits that we are striving to change, it is a blueprint of our family genetics, it is years of challenges that have helped shape us and teach us, and help us realize that what we want most is to feel well and live a long and happy life. This is our opportunity to overcome and grow, and become the person we choose to be rather than the person we allowed ourselves to become. You are beautiful now and can become even more beautiful by doing what you need to do to feel well and have strength to do the things you want to do.