There’s more to being fit than just losing weight.
I have seen too many women fall prey to clever marketing and advertisements that promise perfect bodies. Of course, the women concerned are to blame too. They want to take the easy way out and do not question these miracle claims. They are constantly making excuses for themselves and play the victim, thereby leaving their health and bodies to sheer chance and under other people’s control.
I am totally against women relegating control of their bodies to others or to society. I think they need to sit up, take notice of themselves and either be shocked or pleasantly surprised with what they see in themselves. Then, make the necessary changes to progress, not regress! This seems to be extremely hard for many. It is much easier to go to, let’s say, a dietician or a trainer and have her/him draw up meal plans or exercise routines for drastic results. If there is no weight loss, then the dietician/trainer is to blame. They are uninterested in the ‘why’, do not accept their own responsibility and unwilling to question the methods used. They are not concerned with the long-term effects of rapid weight loss or starvation, as long as there are short-term results. They choose to believe what suits them rather than sieve the wheat from the chaff. So, for instance, if someone says that drinking lemon and honey first thing in the morning helps ‘burn fat’, they would much rather believe that than ‘exercise first thing in the morning’!
I believe women need to be more proactive about choices that concern their bodies. They need to be more discerning about long-term health, not just short-term cosmetic results. They should not fall prey to societal pressure to ‘look’ a certain way. It is not always possible to get to a ‘certain size’. A lot depends on genetics and environment, especially lifestyle, stress, work and so on. Comparing oneself with another who is perceived to be ‘beautiful’ or ‘slim’ is futile.
Every woman is beautiful in her own way. She can also be the best possible version of herself physically and mentally by applying some basic principles of diet, exercise and healthy living. By challenging herself intellectually and creatively, she can live a fuller and more fruitful life.
Women are more likely than men to allow emotional challenges to affect their eating, weight and health. Crisis in relationships or work can lead to abuse of food and ultimately the body. Binge eating, anorexia, bulimia are all psychological disorders with a foundation in lack of self-esteem and a troubled consciousness. Women are also more concerned about how society views their physical appearance. This translates into trying to ‘look’ a certain way. This self-defeating attitude can be highly corrosive to one’s self-esteem.
Women have to understand that they are truly more than their weight on the scale. They cannot evaluate their life by a mere number. Yes, there are several reasons (not just cosmetic) why being overweight is not recommended, and why losing fat is advised. The reason to lose weight, therefore, should be more focused on health and not on mere looks.
If you believe that just losing weight will make you feel better about yourself, you may be in for a surprise! You may feel ecstatic after the initial weight loss. This is the result of a sense of achievement, the admiration and applause from others and what you see in the mirror. After a while, however, when this palls and when the compliments fade, you still need to find a reason to continue with the workout and healthy eating habits. You need to find those resources from within yourself and, if you are lucky, from encouraging friends. In this lies the difference between short-term weight loss and long-term achievements. Everyone struggles to lose weight and get on track.
Fitness is a journey, not a destination. Being fit is not just about being a certain size, but an improved level of performance of the body and a superior quality life. It is the understanding of this journey that keeps you experimenting, progressing and enjoying the process enough to persist with it for as long as you can. It becomes a way of life, so much a part of your day that it is no more an ordeal to exercise. It is your way of saluting your body. Of respecting it. Rewarding it for being there for you!
Women need to love their bodies more. Be thrilled, amazed and appreciative of it. They need to stop abusing it with food or lack of exercise. They need to understand that they are already beautiful but can become even better versions of themselves if they only try.