My Thoughts on the “F” Word

That’s right- the “F” word. There’s one “F” word that I will admit to strategically dropping in conversation here and there with good friends. It’s kinda fun to say and, when used sparingly and in the right setting, can be very effective. So, that’s one “F” word that I’m okay with. And then there’s one that I really hate.

FAT.

I hate how the use of this word in describing someone holds such negative power. In our body-image obsessed society, I dare say it’s near the top of the list of words that most people would NOT want used to describe them- whether they are overweight or not. We are a fat-phobic society. It always offends me when the “F” word is used to describe someone, because it is usually equated with “bad”. There is nothing- NUH. THING. wrong with overweight people. They are not bad, or dumb, or lazy, or unfriendly, or menaces to society or anything else that may accompany feelings with the “F” word. We must stop the ridicule of overweight people. It is unacceptable. Period.

When I was a middle school student in the 80s (at the height of deep, dark tanned skin lathered with baby oil in the midday sun), I was horribly ridiculed for having ghostly white skin. There was nothing more wrong with me, as a person, for having blindingly white skin as there is with a person with brown skin or a larger body. Here’s why: We are not our bodies. 

Say that out loud with me. WE ARE NOT OUR BODIES. 

Say it out loud a thousand times, if you need to, for that fact to internalize; because it doesn’t get much truer than that. As a personal trainer whose life work, partly, is changing people’s bodies, I’m telling you that we are not our bodies. Whether you need to lose 100 pounds or turn heads in your bikini on the beach, you are not your body. There is nothing that could possibly convince me otherwise. 

Here’s what we ARE:

We are our minds.
We are our thoughts and beliefs.
We are our intentions.
We are our actions.
We are our souls.
We are our spirits.
We are our hearts.

Not our bodies.

How do I know? Because I have looked into countless new clients’ eyes and have seen their spirit wanting to feel better and more energetic, and knowing that the only way to achieve that is through the body. I have helped many, many people over the years transform their deconditioned bodies into fitter, healthier, more compact bodies. In this process, the individual does not change. Confidence may increase, self-consciousness may decrease, but the core- the spirit- remains the same.

We are not our bodies. 

It is here that I believe our view of health and wellness needs to make a major shift if we are to change the epidemiological state of our society. Though we are not our bodies, we NEED our bodies. Our bodies are the vehicles that transport the spirit and soul. We need them to be strong and work as efficiently as possible and we need them to last as long as possible. It’s not about image or being swim suit ready or skinny. It’s about providing the best possible transport for your spirit. We need to think of health, fitness, and wellness as a way to provide the spirit with the best dwelling place possible while here on Earth. If this shift in our perception can take place, I believe we will start a new chapter in wellness and become a healthier, happier society.

Here’s another way I like to think of it: You’re en route from Miami to Seattle transporting a Monet masterpiece in a car that has bare tires, an engine that overheats, and a transmission that’s on the fritz. Does the car define or diminish the value of the painting inside? Of course not! Because the painting is a separate entity from the vehicle by which it is being transported. The car will likely break down along the way, the precious painting will be put in jeopardy, and it may not even make it to the end because the car isn’t up to the task. The car is the limiting factor. If only it had been a well-cared for Toyota. 

Your body needs to be a Toyota for your spirit. Not the limiting factor.

I’ve seen a lot in the fitness/wellness world. I see the type of person that makes it and type that doesn’t. Always, always the ones that make it are the people who understand this notion: wellness not about image, but about taking care of the only thing that can keep their spirit around as long as possible. They don’t worry about perfection, but about consistency and feeling good in their own amazing, healthy body- no matter the size. Sure, the ones who think of fitness purely in the context of image may make it… for a little while. It usually fizzles out relatively quickly for them, though. Those who exercise and eat in a way that makes them feel good, confident, and energetic will look better, anyway. They don’t have to worry about that part. Amazing how that happens. 

Please make your body healthy. We need you. If it means losing weight to make it easier for your heart to pump and your lungs to breathe, then do it. But do it for the right reason.

No more calling people the “F” word. I’m over it. 

You are not your body. You are so much more.

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