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.