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Body Image: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

I know I’m not alone in my struggle.

As women, we face a multitude of various challenges & obstacles each day, but this particular one affects every woman I know to some degree. How we feel about our physical bodies, and the way we choose to view them, seems to be an ongoing uphill battle for the entire female population. It resonates with women of all ages, weights, sizes & skin tones.Fusionambassador2018-015_preview

It antagonizes even the strongest of us, instilling self-doubt and stealing our confidence. Even though the struggle occurs internally, it is entirely centered around our external appearance. At times, we are actually ashamed to admit that we care so much about how we look! The good news is that WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK.

 

At any given point in time, WE are capable of deciding not to criticize, judge or scold ourselves anymore. We can choose to shift the way we view our bodies and begin to embrace & appreciate them exactly as they are. I have my own theories as to how this entire body shaming epidemic got started, and social media is certainly one of the biggest contributing culprits. Flipping thru Instagram photos of Victoria Secret models & celebrity hotties in teeny bikinis obviously doesn’t help boost our body image! Honestly, it’s a real challenge not to compare yourself to these extraordinary physical specimens. Why is it so difficult to just acknowledge and appreciate their physical beauty without questioning or doubting our own. 

 

“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.”

 

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When we measure ourselves against other people, we are making the conscious choice to focus on the negative and tear ourselves down. Instead of wasting time beating ourselves up, we could and should be using that time on appreciating, improving and working towards becoming the best version of ourselves.

 

Have we also forgotten the fact that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” If we were to ask a room of 100 people to show us a photo of someone they thought was beautiful, do you think they’d all show us the same picture??? We would surely see 100 DIFFERENT photos because each person has his/her own ideas, opinions, and beliefs about what and who they consider to be beautiful. There is no prescribed universal standard of beauty, nor should there be! 

 

 

In truth, beauty is subjective, which actually makes comparisons impossible!

 

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Instead of shaming ourselves for not being like someone else, we need to start celebrating what makes us unique, special and beautiful in our own way. By allowing ourselves permission to do this, we are able to embrace our authentic selves. By shifting our focus from comparisons to acceptance, we can begin to honor, appreciate and love ourselves.  Like Dr. Seuss says, “why fit in when you were born to stand out?”!! 

Most importantly, we need to remember the simple fact that beauty is only skin deep, and that TRUE beauty comes from the inside out. Somewhere, somehow, along the way, we’ve lost sight of the fact that our physical body is a vessel that houses our soul. OUR SOUL is the essence of who we are; it is THE most important part of us. We absolutely need to keep our external protective vessels (aka bodies) healthy and strong, but we cannot allow our worth to be dictated by them. We are NOT what we look like on the outside; who we are is determined by our actions and what is in our hearts. To forget this is to miss the point entirely!

 

 

Lest we think that we are ever alone in our struggle, look no further than the talented, adorable, smart and very famous Selena Gomez.

 

This sweet young lady posted a simple photo of herself in a swimsuit enjoying time on a boat with her friends. In return, she received insults about her body and comments that she was fat. NOBODY deserves that kind of abuse, but especially not a girl who has openly discussed her issues with anxiety and depression in hopes of helping other women, and has also used her platform to empower women. Thankfully, she sent a rebuttal to her body-shamers, and I think she hit the nail on the head:

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“The beauty myth- an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern women in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self-consciousness and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty. I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone.” Read the full article here.

Can I get an AMEN?!?!?!? She took the power away from the haters by reminding them that she works on herself FOR HERSELF, and not for them. She shows her maturity by expressing THE TRUTH about the fact that it is impossible to be perfectly beautiful and physically appealing to everyone, and that we actually damage ourselves by attempting to do that. I love that Selena publically addressed the situation so that all women can learn and grow from it. She’s my new hero!

 

 

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The good news for the women of Kansas City is that Fusion Fitness is always ready, willing and able to help us learn to appreciate and love our bodies! We welcome and embrace women of all shapes, colors, ages and sizes in our classes and we make the conscious decision to CELEBRATE our differences rather than compare ourselves to others.

 

Our goal is, has, and always will be to help ALL women become the healthiest, strongest and best version of themselves!!

 

Our instructors are passionate about inspiring our clients to LOVE themselves, be kind to themselves, and appreciate their healthy bodies. Fusion is unique in the fact that we purposefully and intentionally focus on self-competition rather than competing against each other. By encouraging women to work on THEMSELVES each day and keep their focus on becoming better and stronger than they were yesterday, we take the emphasis OFF comparing and competing against others. Our focus on self-improvement and self-growth builds confidence and teaches women to appreciate their bodies.

 

It can be tough to step away from the cycle of comparison and judgment, but it is imperative that we begin changing the tide. We must stop buying into the filtered, photo shopped representation of beauty that is sold to us at every turn.

 

 

How do we do that?

 

 

1. Fight for authenticity.
Be real and own who you are, imperfections and all. There is nothing more GORGEOUS than a woman who knows who she is and believes in it. That kind of confidence radiates. Not only that, but it is an inspiration to other women and makes them more comfortable with their own unique brand of beauty.

 

2. Consciously shift the focus to things of deeper value than just the physical appearance.
Do this in your social media posts, in your conversations with your girlfriends, in your own thoughts and internal dialogue. Make a change in how you think and speak about beauty. It is kindness, empathy, loyalty, gentleness.

 

“Happy girls are the prettiest.” Audrey Hepburn

 

Pursue happiness as your standard of beauty; that is a standard we can all proudly aspire to. Written in love, Amy H

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