Most of the time fitness gets a pretty bad rap for being superficial. I get it. I was pretty superficial about it for a pretty long time. But what most people don’t realize is how deep the roots of it are, how much they affect every part of our lives and psyches, and how much change we can affect if we change our approach to fitness. I’ll show you what I mean.
Right quick – 4 reasons why FU is an act of resistance that will change the world. (Outside of a moniker abbreviation that screams resistance.)
1: Because Spanx are a ridiculously uncomfortable and unnecessary tool of the patriarchy.
You get to do you, 100% always. But let me just ask you this: Do you actually like wearing Spanx or whatever other kind of shapewear? Be honest. Or does it make you feel suffocated? Uncomfortable? The opposite of confident? Like you couldn’t possibly just show up in your actual body as your actual self?
Like the only way you should be allowed in public and OK to look at is if you’re 1) smaller 2) smoother 3) stuffed into spandex?
I know, I know, a woman invented Spanx and she’s super successful. But I’ll ask this too – by whose definition is she successful? Again, you get to do you, and I don’t begrudge her and her whole situation for a second.
However, if you follow that line, it’s yet another example of women falling prey to the idea that we have to compete with each other, cover up and joke about our insecurities we’ve been conditioned to be ashamed of over the years instead of supporting each other and having deeper conversations about whether they’re actually insecurities at all, and that the only way we’ll ever get a seat at the table is to fit into the thin, pretty, White mold that’s been made for us (by White men).
Ipso facto, Spanx = patriarchy. No Spanx = resistance.
2: Because no one – including you – has the right to judge you for the size or shape of your body.
Many of us have many wounds that have been inflicted by others. Horrible, passive aggressive mothers and aunts. Mean girls in high school. Bad college boyfriends. The amount of judgment and policing about other people in our society is mindboggling.
But none of us has deeper wounds than the ones we inflict upon ourselves. Self-loathing is a grotesque monster.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been judged based on my body, or its parts. From the time I was probably ten years old (how messed up is our society that little girls are having to go through this?), I was deeply aware of what was “right” and “wrong,” “good” and “bad” when it came to my body. I was constantly, then, trying to act accordingly to make sure I fell within the right and good lines, not making anyone else uncomfortable, skirting judgment as best I could, because I was already learning to judge myself the harshest of all.
What a rigged game, though, because people were judging me for existing no matter what.
And here’s the thing about that rigged game too – it teaches us in the most sinister way that judging people is OK. That we have a right to do so. And that those rules apply to ourselves too. Tell me: how’s all this judging of others for being different working out for us?
I didn’t learn until so far on that I didn’t have to play that game. Even better – that I could change it, and help you to change it too. But when I did finally learn? Wowza. What a different world.
As they say, your body your business. No one has the authority to judge you for the skin you’re in, and how you choose to live in it. But the same goes doubly for you – you don’t get to spread love outwardly without at the very least not spewing hate inside your head.
Judgment = just another mean girl player. Compassion and self-compassion = resistance.
3: Because you haven’t done anything wrong to feel guilty for.
Here’s the thing about fitness, body image, and guilt: you feel guilty if you don’t, and you feel guilty when you do.
How about guilt – or especially mom guilt – about taking time to exercise, work out, self-care?
How about guilt over not working out?
How about guilt over eating something you or society has deemed you “shouldn’t” have eaten?
How about guilt over not indulging when everyone around you is (example: choosing a healthier option at a celebratory restaurant dinner, or not eating dessert at a holiday meal)?
See how wild it can get, how varied guilt can be?
So here’s the other thing about guilt: It’s often irrational.
So many times, we attach guilt to standards and stories and expectations that aren’t fully ours. They’re standards based in cultural and societal stuff, roles we’re expected to play, that might not actually serve us any longer. It’s a manipulative play to get us to feel and act in certain, very specific ways.
So, like, when you think about this as it relates to your fitness and body choices, when you feel this, have you done something wrong that deserves feelings of guilt?
Now, truly, only you can actually decide this, based on your values and priorities. But, it’s very, very important to dissect this and reflect on it before becoming overwhelmed by it. And certainly before allowing it to be your decision driver.
When it comes to guilt, are you magnifying the intensity, duration, or consequences of the emotions and responses you’re feeling?
Guilt = manipulation. Releasing guilt = resistance.
4: Because not having to think about body image stuff makes room for bigger things.
Hey, listen. We’ve got shit to do. Some days it feels like the whole world is burning down. We’re dealing with a major racial and cultural reckoning, a huge election, a global pandemic, and also, how the heck to take care of ourselves and each other, see our friends and family we miss so much, keep a steady job (or a job at all), take a shower, and live our damn lives.
Is there really any extra thought energy to spare on trivial BS like reading nutrition labels to see if there’s processed sugar in your salad dressing? I mean, can we move on to bigger, broader, waaaaaayyyyy more impactful things?
Aside from the really big stuff, what about the stuff you can’t stop thinking about in your personal life? Building your dream business? Dating again? Moving across the country? Paying off debt? Running naked along the beach? (This is such a great visual, let’s all do this.) What’s holding you back? And wouldn’t it be nice to not have trifling, nagging shit on your mind, like, if people can see your stretch marks or something, so you could focus on all the great stuff and making even more of it happen?
What if you were actually able to just kind of lose that floppy disk of information about how you have to do this or that for your workout, this much time, that much sweat? Or this much working out to cancel out that much food. Or there are 120 calories in that mini-Snickers bar, better not eat it. Or you’re not allowed to wear that kind of outfit if you weigh this much or have that shape of figure.
What if no to all of that and yes to change for future generations?
You laugh, maybe roll your eyes, but that’s gonna take commitment. Time. Energy. Brain space. We can’t solve climate change while we’re worried about how we look in a crop top doing it. We can’t have unencumbered fun if we’re freaking out about too much cake at the party. (There is no such thing as too much cake.)
Obsessive thoughts about diet/exercise = oppression. Thinking about it less/not at all = resistance.
I could probably come up with a hundred other reasons why this work is important right now. Yes, now. Yes, while the world is burning.
Like, reason number five:
Fire can be a tool.
Maybe this speaks to you. Maybe you’re not interested in resistance but dammit, you just want to feel freaking better. Your why is your why. Either way, or anywhere in between, finally freeing yourself from fitness and body shoulds and figuring out your right way is the farthest thing from superficial.
Give yourself four months to find out, and watch what rises from the ashes.
There are only two-ish more days to sign up for FU! Doors close Sunday night. You’ll hear from me a couple more times before then, but if you have any questions, email me and hit me up now, OK? I’ll get back to you ASAP. And yes, you can ask me about money <3