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Christie Preston

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Being Happy With the Skin You're In

Posted: 01/09/2013 7:55 am

As a personal trainer I am exposed to all kinds of shapes and sizes. I've also had the good fortune to try out a few different shapes of my own and here's what I learned from that.

I was not born to be a size 0. I've tried that and here's how it felt:

  • I had to sleep with a pillow between my legs to keep my bones from pushing into each other

  • I was cold all the time

  • I ate carrot sticks for lunch

  • I ran everyday for at least 4 miles and then worked out on top of that

  • I didn't have a life or a business

I've also had the opportunity to be on the slightly chubby side. Here's how that felt:

  • I needed to get naked as soon as I walked in the door, released from my clothing

  • I was hungry all the time

  • I had great boobs

  • I was often hot and bothered

  • I couldn't cross my legs properly

  • A pint of Ben & Jerry's was a thrice-weekly endeavour

  • My mom told me I was getting "thick"

  • I attacked the fridge and never tasted food

I'm grateful I've had the chance to be both but ultimately I know my body is happiest somewhere right around the middle of these two extremes.

I have a lot of clients who try to tell me that their bodies are just meant to be fat naturally. I then tell them I'm sorry but I do not agree! The bottom line is this: nobody was born to be uncomfortable in their own skin, that's true for the uber chubsters and the ultra leaners. Sure we all probably (myself certainly included here) gained a few extra pounds over the holidays but we were not born to be uncomfortable.

Genetics plays a big role in determining bone structure, and yes at first glance I do come from a smallish family but that's just if you look just at my parents, but if you look at their parents and relatives then you probably wouldn't think that I was born to be lean at all. Your body is just that, it's your body. If you're bloated and uncomfortable 50+ per cent of the time, that's it telling you it's not happy and that it naturally doesn't want to feel that way. And it's up to you to change that.

I think a lot of the time we are really hard on ourselves about weight and achieving the ideal when at the end of the day there's no perfect number for everyone, but I do believe there is a perfect feeling of balance. Sure my bum could be a little smaller, but I've been there and the carrot sticks just aren't calling my name to get there like they used to.

We ultimately need to leave people alone about their weight. It's up to you to change it but please drop the "it's because I was born to be..." argument and own it. Being super skinny and/ or kind of fat for awhile is a perfectly fine part of life as long as you learn from it. It took me a long time to make health my goal, not weight loss. And ever since I've started to make that shift I've never been happier with my body. This year, for the first time in a long time, my resolution isn't to lose weight, it's to continue to gain health and happiness.

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  • Lady Gaga

    After the media focused on her <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-body/news/lady-gaga-shows-off-25-pound-weight-gain-in-tight-outfit-2012229">alleged weight gain</a> in September 2012, Gaga hit back at critics by baring her body in photographs, sharing her struggles with an eating disorder, and inviting her fans to join her in a <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2012/09/26/lady-gaga-puts-bulimia-and-body-image-on-the-table-in-a-big-way/">"body revolution."</a>

  • Adele

    Adele says she <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-57376080-10391709/adele-talks-about-her-body-image-and-weight/">tries not to worry</a> about her body image and doesn't want to be a "skinny minnie." "The first thing to do is be happy with yourself and appreciate your body -- only then should you try to change things about yourself."

  • Rebel Wilson

    The actress <a href="https://twitter.com/RebelWilson/status/253324823005118465">took to Twitter</a> to say, "I'm not trying to be hot. I'm just trying to be a good actress and entertain people."

  • Ashley Judd

    After the March 2012 frenzy around Judd's "puffy face," the actress fought back in <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/09/ashley-judd-slaps-media-in-the-face-for-speculation-over-her-puffy-appearance.html">The Daily Beast</a>, calling the media out for making women's bodies "a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others."

  • Allison Tate

    Tate's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html">essay</a> about body image and motherhood not only broke the Internet; it has sparked a movement of "moms who stay in the picture."

  • Autumn Whitefield Madrano

    On her informed, thoughtful blog <a href="http://www.the-beheld.com/">"The Beheld,"</a> Autumn writes about beauty, body image, appearance and her two -- that's right, <em>two </em>-- mirror fasts.

  • Kjerstin Gruys

    Gruys went on a year-long<a href="http://www.ayearwithoutmirrors.com/"> mirror fast</a> during which she did not study her reflection in mirrors or other reflective surfaces, or look at photographs of herself.

  • Christina Aguilera

    "I am always in support of someone who is willing and comfortable in their own skin enough to embrace it," the singer said in a<a href="http://www.ianslive.in/index.php?param=news/Aguilera_wants_to_empower_women-389922/ENTERTAINMENT/15"> recent interview</a>.

  • Lena Dunham

    At the 2012 New Yorker Festival, the magazine's TV critic, Emily Nussbaum, asked Lena Dunham, producer, creator and star of the hit HBO show "Girls," why <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/lena-dunham-new-yorker-festival-emily-nussbaum_n_1948596.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women">Dunham is naked in so many scenes</a>. Dunham responded, "I realized that what was missing in movies for me was the presence of bodies I understood." She said she plans to live until she is 105 and show her thighs every day.

  • Alexa Chung

    Chung <a href="http://fashionista.com/2012/10/alexa-chung-on-her-upcoming-line-and-struggling-with-body-image/2/">responded to critics</a> who suggested that her slight frame made her a bad role model for young women, saying: "Just because I exist in this shape doesn't mean that I'm, like, advocating it."

  • Stella Boonshoft

    The NYU student started the amazing <a href="http://thebodyloveblog.tumblr.com/">Body Love Blog</a>, where she posted this picture of herself and wrote an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stella-boonshoft/self-portrait-ask-me-why-_b_1987406.html" target="_hplink">open letter to those who feel entitled to shame others</a> for the size or look of their bodies.

  • Beth Ditto

    This 5-foot-tall, 200-pound singer spoke openly about her weight to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/beth-ditto-talks-skinny-privilege-fiancee-body-image_n_2057290.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women">The Advocate</a>, saying, "I feel sorry ... for people who've had skinny privilege and then have it taken away from them. I have had a lifetime to adjust to seeing how people treat women who aren't their idea of beautiful and therefore aren't their idea of useful, and I had to find ways to become useful to myself."


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