This is a guest blog post I wrote for http://www.personaltrainerworldwide.co.uk
There’s a vicious cycle in our society that women are caught in from the time they start to care about what they look like (pre-teens) through post-menopause, I like to call the Weight & Worry Syndrome. Here’s how it begins, a young girl becomes aware of the chronic heavy-handed media insistence that the female species be thin, small-waisted, large-breasted and always “watching her weight.” Soon her peers are also similarly focused and casually hurtful comments are tossed about the school yard if any one is not fitting into the thin and beautiful mold. Mothers are often heard to say “I hate my body,” “I need to lose weight,” or “I’m on a diet.”
By High School girls are competing for the attention of the hormone driven boys, and once again, if you’re not up to skinny-snuff you’re ignored, or worse, ridiculed. Eating disorders set in. Bad nutrition habits, compounded by those many parents who are clueless as to how to feed their families in a healthy way, cause more negative focus on food.
Now you have a young adult woman who spends a vast majority of her day/week worrying about her weight, what she eats, when she eats, what she wears and what she (disappointingly) cannot wear.
For those of you who do not know me and my mission as a Certified Personal trainer, let me paraphrase my two most important philosophies about fitness:
1. Weight is irrelevant. The scale is NOT your friend. Weight has too many factors to be a valid analysis of how fit you are. FAT is the focus!
2. Never diet. It’s about nutrition, not a temporary change to how you eat (“I’m on a diet,” implies temporary). Moderation is the key. Eat what you love, in small infrequent amounts, and the rest of the time keep it clean, lean and healthy (unprocessed).
Now I know that I have generalized in this article, and that not all school girls are concerned with their body image and not all kids are as mean or shallow as I make them sound. But the truth still stands that school-age girls have a huge misunderstanding about body image, that only worsens by college.
It is my mission (starting with my own daughter) to teach girls (and women of all ages) that one size does not fit all, fitness is more than external, and confidence and grace are far more attractive than what you weigh or what size your clothes are.
Until society stops glorifying Kardashians and Victoria Secret Models, it is up to the rest of us to help these little female souls have better aspirations and role models. (Mind you I think the VS models are beautiful and serve a marketing purpose that I do not criticize.) But it’s all about perspective and what we convey is important.
So stop the madness. Stop worrying, eat right, exercise, drink water, and remember to enjoy life and who you are – because (forgive the trite quote) YOLO (you only live once).