OK, so I’m a little aggravated.

Yesterday, I was just driving down the highway, minding my own business. In fact, I was brainstorming a new blog to write, talking about taking up space, sharing my friend Steph’s awesome article. And literally, in the exact moments I was thinking about not shrinking, I see this:

this billboard | kourtney thomas fitness

This. This fucking billboard.

THIS. FUCKING. BILLBOARD.

I actually screamed, out loud, inside my car. I was physically overcome with emotions in that moment, gut wrenching, hands shaking, heart pounding. If there is one thing that makes me absolutely crazy, it is shit like this. This billboard goes against everything I believe in, and is the exact reason I’m so passionate about doing what I’m doing.

Luckily, I was on my way to a dear friend’s house, one who identifies with my frustrations. After snuggling with her house full of furballs and venting for a while, I felt a little better. Well, not necessarily better, but at least some of my initial anger subsided.

I’ve talked about it a million times before – this stuff is all around us. We see messaging telling us how fat, ugly, wrinkly, and flat-out wrong we look every single day, everywhere. It’s magazines and media, it’s online, it’s on these stupid billboards all over town. And for whatever reason, I’ve always noticed that St. Louis is particularly rampant with this junk. I have seen ONE TOO MANY tickle lipo billboards, and I’m super done.

Listen, we are human beings. And as human beings, we have things like skin, which covers our entire body from head to toe. It covers things like our arms. And it has a biological makeup that, over time, changes, and starts to look different. That does not make it bad, or gross, or something to fix.

As I keep looking at this picture, I keep finding things that make me want to scream all over again. This poor person pinching some skin, like it’s the most disgusting thing to ever happen in the world. Like…what? No. Stop. This is your arm. This is a part of the body that allows you to live your life. Pinching fat, or skin, or singling out any part of your body that society deems as unacceptable, giving it more than two seconds of your time, makes me sad. And preying on the insecurities surrounding that in such an obnoxious way on a highway billboard? Takes it to a whole new level.

Wings. Can we talk about wings? Can we also talk about muffin tops? Lovehandles? Cankles? Junk in the trunk? And can we please talk about how this is not an appropriate way to describe human beings? Can we talk about how it is completely insensitive to break people down into body parts, and then describing them with such offensive and inflammatory vocabulary, focusing on how there is something apparently wrong with how our individual bodies are built? Oh, you don’t want to talk about it? You just me want to freeze it off? GREAT. Let’s talk about that.

Freeze fat? What? I…I’m sorry…I just don’t understand. I’m pretty sure that’s not actually a thing. In order to make sure though, I went to that stupid website to find out what the hell this is all about – which, by the way, didn’t even work, and that made me even more pissed. So, I googled “coolsculpting” and the first article that popped up was basically a couple of professionals saying in so many words, this shit doesn’t really work. Oh, and it’s probably pretty expensive too. Also, you may have numbed nerves, long term. Good luck.

OK, so I’m still a little aggravated.

I’m just so upset that so many of us are wasting our valuable time and energy on things like wings. I’m troubled that this is such a common topic of conversation, especially among women. I’m dismayed that every time I speak to a woman, whether someone I know, or a complete stranger I’m meeting for the first time, one of the first things out of their mouth is something about how they need to fix some part of their body, or lose 20 pounds. And I’m absolutely exasperated that these kinds of “solutions” are top of mind for so many people.

And believe me, and before you say it, I am completely aware that I am attached to the “fitness” industry, and the style of training I specialize in is often focused on shaping, or reshaping, the body. However, if you haven’t noticed yet, I do not operate with that as a goal. I focus on finding and doing the movement you enjoy to improve your life long term. I do extensive interviewing of any potential client and her goals, motivations, and whys for wanting to work with me, or to train for hypertrophy. I choose not to work with women who are only interested in shrinking for the sake of it, and unwilling to explore their history and relationship with their bodies and self-image. I continually push my clients with difficult questions when it comes to these topics, and I have never once said, “OK, yep, let’s get rid of those wings!” or anything remotely close to it. In fact, I usually don’t work with clients whose goals are specifically around weight loss, and tend to refer them to other coaches.

I use hypertrophy as a tool to get bigger. For size, and size alone. To take up space, physically, and otherwise. Sometimes that changes body shape, sometimes it doesn’t. But it always results in a change in perspective, and ultimately, that’s what I’m after for all of us.

Hey, it’s your body. It is your bodyYou get to choose exactly what you want to do with it, and how. That can include being kind to yourself. Eating nutritiously. Practicing your preferred form of self-care. Exercising regularly, or not. It can even include botox, liposuction, or coolsculpting.

But can we…can we please all do each other a solid and consider options that do not include continually perpetuating this idea of shrinking, making our waists look smaller, our arms look skinnier, our whatevers look “shaply-er,” our voices quieter and quieter?

I know that this is complicated. I know. But just promise me you’ll think about it.


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