The Desire To Be Healthy Versus The Desire To Be Thin

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Social media is an interesting platform.  I use it because I think it’s a great way to interact with my family, friends, clients, and the people and/or businesses I like to follow.  In general, it’s a great way to connect with people.

However, wherever there are people, toxic behavior can pop up.  I personally believe that there is more good than bad on Social Media but unfortunately there are some real trolls that hide behind their computers.

I recently saw an example of this when I stumbled upon a video regarding health and weight that made my blood boil. Total disclaimer, I have no idea if this nasty and judgmental person is a fitness professional or simply a shallow minded fitness nut operating on outdated information.  I didn’t watch the entire video because I could only stomach watching the first few minutes before I had to shut it off.  Yes, it was that awful.

Normally, I do my best to ignore nasty people and move on.  This time I couldn’t.  This human being was stepping on my turf and based on what I did hear, this person is NO expert.  I have spent years coaching people, taking classes, and studying fitness and health in order to help people stay fit for life.  I felt morally obligated to address what I believe to be a completely misguided point of view.

Basically, this person was claiming that size is always related to your health and if you have some extra padding in certain places you are unhealthy and at risk of heart disease.  This individual had no problem hurling all kinds of other ridiculous insults that in his mind he thinks should help and motivate people.  Really??

This type of thinking and flat out assumption is one of the main reasons I take issue with the marketing and theories that a portion of the fitness industry is promoting.  Usually, the desire to be thin has very little to do with health.  The intellectually honest side of my industry knows this,  and we are preaching a totally different message these days.

Over the years I’ve trained people of all sizes and I’ve learned that it is never a good idea to judge someone’s health by their size.  I’ve had the opportunity to perform numerous health assessments and review enough doctor’s reports to learn that there are larger people in great health.  I personally know curvy women that run marathons and look amazing in skin tight clothing.  I also work with men who are fit and strong with larger builds.  Sure, there are people that need to lose weight for health reasons (some of it serious) and I help coach them throughout their weight loss journey with compassion and common sense.

However, I’ve also seen a lot of damage done to people’s bodies due to yo-yo dieting and overtraining in their attempt to achieve a certain size.  Eating disorders are very real and they are usually camouflaged under the guise of “eating healthy.”

Not everyone was designed to be thin, or tall, or look super ripped.  Healthy bodies really do come in all shapes and sizes.  We have a choice and it’s pretty simple.  We can focus on taking care of ourselves and enjoying our life, or we can allow a very powerful industry and some incredibly judgmental people to bully us into trying to force our bodies to become something they are not.

Years ago, I was at a very low weight that was not healthy for me so I decided I was going to stop focusing on being thin and focus on self care instead.  I weigh more now and I’m way healthier.  However, during the time I was underweight, some people would observe my body size and assume I was healthy based on my looks.  My own personal experience is a perfect example that there is so much more to being healthy than a height and weight chart.

I recommend that you focus on self care and then put on your blinders.  Turn off the diet messages that are tempting you to restrict yourself just to fit into society’s narrow view of what a healthy body should look like.

Sometimes the best way to avoid the shallow people in this world is to turn off the chatter and ignore them altogether.

Make it your best week yet!

Shared with love,

Jennifer Ledford

 

A Few Thoughts After What Happened In Las Vegas

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Last week, our nation experienced a tragedy that shocked people around the world.  We are grieving the loss of fellow Americans and others that were visiting our nation.  I am having a difficult time holding back the tears while I write this.  My heart hurts.

The tragedy that took place was a harsh reminder that none of us really know when we will leave this world.  A reminder that it’s really important to focus on what matters most and living life to the fullest.

What comes to mind when you think of a life lived to the fullest?  I think that’s a really important question for all of us to ponder.  What do you really want in this life?

The lovely actress Sophia Loren was once quoted saying “I’d rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.”  So simple, yet so profound.  To me that quote means she would rather live her life enjoying each day than be a slave to a scale or to a clothing size.  In other words, she is allowing herself to be free to LIVE.

When I was smaller than a size two I was criticized by photographers.  No matter how hard I exercised or restricted the food I ate, I still wasn’t perfect enough for them.  Constantly restricting myself to gain approval from others ended up being a prison and led me into depression.  When I decided  to stop caring about what others thought and shifted my focus to living a full life I got my joy back.

Allowing yourself to be free to live your life doesn’t mean that you stop exercising and eating well.  It simply means that you won’t restrict yourself in an attempt to manipulate your body into a size that it wasn’t naturally designed to be.  If your goal weight doesn’t allow you to enjoy the things you like in a way thats moderate and healthy, then you could end up being pretty miserable.  Or, in the worst case, you could harm your health.

Life is way too short to allow superficial things and ideas to control you and cause you to miss out on living life to the fullest.  Which is why I passionately recommend you design a life that is well balanced and brings you joy.  In other words, just be you.

When you allow yourself to “just be you” and live authentically, you are giving yourself permission to be free.  And with that freedom, comes peace.  Being at peace with who you are and what you are capable of at any give time, gives you the freedom to focus on the things that matter most and are most precious to you.

Make it a great week.  Spend quality time with the ones you love and doing the things you love.  Time and experiences are two things we can never get back so it’s good to invest our time wisely.

Shared with love,

Jennifer

 

 

Why It’s Good To Be Spontaneous Some Of The Time

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Why It's Good To Be Spontaneous Some Of The Time

Let’s face it, playing in the grownup sandbox requires a certain amount of planning.  Being organized helps you maintain your responsibilities, accomplish your goals, and relieve stress in your life so it makes perfect sense to stick to a schedule.  However, living a life wrapped around a tightly planned scheduled with little room for flexibility can actually begin to steal your joy and cause stress in your life.

While organization has its place, so does being spontaneous when it comes to living a balanced life.  A little spontaneity in your life is good for your mind, body, and soul no matter what type of personality you have.  It’s really important for our health and well being that we all learn to go with the flow from time to time.

My husband and I recently moved back to the California Coast and the weather can change from day to day which means great weather can show up on a work day.  On the days that we have “beautiful weather” we do our best to pack a blanket and some wine and head over to the beach even if it’s only for an hour.  Sometimes these outings are planned, other times they are last-minute decisions.  When these moments are spontaneous, they can feel more adventurous and we come back feeling refreshed and less confined by our adult schedules.  I’ve noticed that by being adaptable in my personal life, it helps me to be more relaxed when it comes to more business-related issues.  You get really good at behaviors that you continue to practice.  🙂

Spontaneous moments can be as big or as small as you want them to be.  They can be as simple as taking a moment to have a cup of coffee at your favorite cafe, sitting outside on your balcony watching a sunset, making a nice cheese plate and having a glass wine alone or with others, or as grand as taking a last-minute vacation.  One of my favorite spontaneous moments at our house is when my husband suggests we go out to dinner after a long week.  It’s amazing how taking a break from cooking and stepping away from all of our responsibilities for just a few hours can be so refreshing.

Ways You Can Be Spontaneous

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be very difficult to be spontaneous so one of the things I like to recommend is planned spontaneity.  When you plan your spontaneity, you set aside time to do something like take a drive, go to the park, play with your kids, have an indoor picnic, ride your bike, take your dog for a walk on a different street, or eat out.  The spontaneous part is that not every little detail of whatever you decide to do is planned and there are no tight schedules.

It’s important to be responsible and to work toward your goals.  It’s also important to have fun and to be adventurous.  Some of the most precious memories you will create may end up being a result of moments when you were willing to be flexible and spontaneous.

Here’s to a fun, productive, and adventurous week!

Shared with love,
Jennifer