July 4, 2014

Changing Our Body Beliefs. ~ Jenn Hand

fitness exercise push-up

Our society’s approach to our bodies and to fitness in general is based on the concept of deficit.

We push ourselves through boot camp classes to make our thighs smaller.

We endure countless hours of sit-ups to flatten our bellies. We suffer through awful diet regimes in the hopes of losing weight. We approach our bodies as if they are a problem needing to be solved.

Check out the latest cover of any women’s magazine and you’ll see titles like: “5 Ways to Sculpt your Glutes,” “Get the Best Beach Body Ever,” “ Lose that Arm Flab in 2 Weeks” … and on and on. The message here is, “There’s something wrong with you, and here’s how to fix it.”

We will forever be reaching for that ideal of perfection because we are incapable of attaining the look of the airbrushed model on the cover.

What if we took a different approach to our bodies? An approach that doesn’t involve fixing, altering and perfecting ourselves? What if we begin with the notion that just by being, we are already perfect. We are already complete, whole, and acceptable as we are.

We find that place within ourselves, the place that doesn’t criticize and judge us for a number on a scale or the size of our thighs. By acknowledging this place within us, we begin to change.

Instead of exercising to sculpt, change, and tighten, what if we simply moved our bodies in ways that brought us satisfaction and joy? This a radical mindset shift because we are inundated daily with society’s belief that our bodies need to be fixed.

To be able to move, run, walk and dance is truly a gift. If we spend time in these activities—in our bodies—and in the pleasure that movement brings us, we can begin to appreciate all our bodies do for us. This begins to shift our mindset from one of deficit and criticism, to acceptance and celebration.

We begin with our own beliefs.

We lift weights not to get chiseled, but because being stronger allows us to carry bags of groceries, lift our kids when we play and move heavy furniture when we need to.

We run not to burn off last night’s dessert, but because it fills our lungs with fresh air, energizes our spirit and leaves us refreshed.

We sweat through a hot yoga class not to lose weight, but because it relieves the day’s tension and allows stress to melt away.

Shifting away from criticism, we begin to appreciate our bodies for all the wondrous things they do for us. Our thoughts toward our bodies become more compassionate and we see that physical transformation is only one aspect of our lives.

We are more than our body; we are our hearts and spirits, our hopes, dreams and passions.

Beginning to soften our beliefs and enjoy our bodies for the pleasure they bring enables us to begin to change on the inside. And since lasting changes come from the inside out, transformation happens on all levels—mind, spirit and body.



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Apprentice Editor: Guenevere Neufeld Editor: Travis May

Photo: Flickr / Official U.S. Navy Page

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Jenn Hand