It’s amazing how sometimes things in life just click. The other day I woke up and it clicked: Brittany sometimes you think to much, you think too much about what others are thinking. Stop being silly and just BE, be happy and move on. Therefore I wrote this post for my work blog sounding off on body image, but I liked it, so I thought I’d put it here as well!
Warning: this post is part inspiration part MY thoughts and MY observations, not everyone has to agree with them (it’s been awhile since I did a motivational post so I think it’s ok to throw one in occasionally). They are my own reflections. I love my job because I am fascinated by the human body because I want to serve people because I want the world to be healthier because I think we can change our futures by changing the way we eat because I want people to live long healthy lives and not worry about the ‘risk’ of disease. What I don’t like and what I struggle with sometimes is this obsession with image. I view health as a feeling and a state of being. I AM healthy. Being a fat-burner is my lifestyle. I don’t eat sugars, grains or starches. I do eat nourishing foods like grass-fed animals, tasty fats, fruits and vegetables. It’s not a diet or attempts to be ‘skinny’, it is how I live, doing what I think is right. That’s what life is doing what you think is best. When I’m 100 and I going to be thinking of how skinny I was when I was 20? Well to start with I need to watch what I eat now to reach 100. Next I’m sure in true Brittany style I’ll be reflecting on how magical and fun life is. How grateful I am for my 100 years, the experiences, the challenges, and the people. But now at the age of 25 and being in this industry I feel and see the pressures of our countries image struggle. I’m reading a book called the Uglies, it makes me uncomfortable, point blank. Even though it’s a teen book I already see the message. That we are conditioned to think what pretty is. We judge ourselves and we judge others on this. Beauty, just like happiness is a state of mind (thought is a powerful thing and it’s amazing how much WE can change just by changing our thoughts and our views: it’s never to late to give up our prejudices- a round about quote from Thoreau). Right now with my friends and clients I have come in I see yearning to be ‘skinny’. To fit a certain size jeans or to be a certain number on the scale. Cue in my struggle. I have someone come in and I’m sharing with them all this wonderful information on fat ‘In Krista, they consume 50 liters of olive oil per person per year and they live somewhere considered to be one of the healthiest regions in the world, with low risk of heart disease. We however live somewhere where we’ve been told not to eat fat and we’re fat and unhealthy.’ Well if you look at them they’re not skinny, they’re chubby. Swoosh; what I said went directly over her head. These people are not dying of disease because they’re dying to be thin. When I think of Italian or Greek, I think of happy, life-loving people. Looking at this person I can tell that they’re a lower weight, but they have no muscle tissue. I’ve covered skinny-fat many times, so most should know my feelings on this. Higher body fat, with low muscle tissue, which also puts them at risk. Being largely overweight with a high percentage is bad too and puts us at risk. So what is right? I do like on pinterest that I see a lot of strong looking women, but I also see some that are just thin and I don’t like they’re message of chronic exercise. We set ourselves up for disappointment if we yearn for these crazy low body fats or desires to have a 20 year olds body when we’re 50. Not saying you can’t look fit and young at 50, but it’s not going to be the same. Answer? Individualism. No one’s body is going to look the same. Two people at the same weight can look dramatically different (especially in the case of skinny fat, one may be soft and one may be ripped), even two people at the same percentage are not going to be different. Everyone’s body is not going to respond to exercise or foods the same way. That’s why I hate the question,well how much weight can I lose? There are so many variables to health and weight loss: stress, sleep, exercise, food. Plus everyone responds differently. Two people can eat the same thing for a week and one may lose 3 pounds and the other may lose 1 pound. Some can eat dairy, for others it doesn’t work. That’s why there is no one solution or one pill. A certain percentage may be ideal for someone, but another may have a lower set body fat percentage. You have to discover what works for you and your lifestyle and what you like. If you want to be under 18%, shoot for that. If you want to be 25%, there’s nothing wrong with that either. I loved this article that I found that said ‘Paleo Women are Phat.’ Genius and I am in 100% agreement to her response to someone observing that Paleo guys tend to be lean, whereas the women are not. I would highly recommend you read her article, she reminds me of myself and I love her boldness (Genius)!
“Maybe because women aren’t designed to be lean. Otherwise why would they lose the ability to ovulate when they drop below a certain body fat percentage? I’m pretty sure fertility is a pretty significant measure of health in a woman. Your comment is extremely ignorant.”
She makes an excellent point here to. What is the right percentage? Again personal preference, but I can attest that when I was at my lowest percentage (13), I was not menstruating. I may bitch about my period, but I realize the importance of having one, that Health can be measured by consistent ovulating (look at the women’s health week). When she talked about being nervous to go to the Paleo conference and worrying about looking the part, I identify completely. I sometimes feel as if I’m on display. Like I am Body Change and people are looking at me, dissecting my body. Like my friends or others are comparing or judging me. Are they thinking of me? Is it any of my business? I think no is the answer to both. I get sucked in, and then I have to practice my mindfulness and meditate or hike to get back in myBrittany state of mind, where I am this awesome ball of life’s energy and everything is wonderful. Where I and my body are perfect, to step out of this place of conditioning. Because sometimes I feel like I have to look this way for others to take me seriously or be an example. I let that conditioning weasel it’s way in and question my happiness or confidence in my ability. The truth is I rock at my job. I do more research than anyone out there, I practice this most importantly. I believe it. This is my lifestyle. I’m not dying to be ‘skinny’. I work on my thoughts: I am happy. I love life and I love myself and my body. Because I love my body so much I’m going to nourish it. I do not poison myself with bad foods, but try to optimize the foods that I do eat. Focusing on things in life that matter in life and make me happy, like hiking and family and travel and adventure, instead of getting wrapped up in the world of image that tells me I need to look a certain way. When I think of beauty I don’t envision skinny supermodels. Maybe because I’m a dork or because I love art, I think of the Birth of Venus painting. Of Roman and Greek gods. That to ME (Brittany) is beautiful. I can only do my best to give people the keys to health; how they drive the car is their choice. But I do know that I am healthy, I’ve got a kick-ass immune system and flora and I’m insuring my future. Being Paleo and Primal or Gluten Free is not a trend (as I saw on a supplement magazine: Paleo and Gluten-Free Diet Trends for 2012 and then I have a friend ask me what Paleo is because it’s everywhere). I do hope people stick with it, but first they’ve got to change their thoughts. It is a skill to practice and how many of us actually work relentlessly on our skills (how many stick to resolutions and hobbies)? It is a LIFESTYLE not a trend. Don’t try it just to see results and be skinny for the world. Do it because it’s right for you. Because it makes you feel good and happy. Because you want to ensure your future.
Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” – my favorite Thoreau.
Find a body, a lifestyle, and foods that work for you (yes you can think of and focus on yourself sometimes because you’re no good to anyone else if you’re dead). Don’t let your happiness rest on fitting in. Just BE. That’s it!
BE, Love, Illuminate,