Culture – what’s yours?
Culture sometimes trumps health. I saw this post on Facebook, and while I did chuckle at the post, it also resonated with me at a deeper, more embarrassing level.
You see, at this very moment, I weigh three pounds more than my husband does. He used to lift me, and when he did, it was a seriously fun, or seriously sexy moment for me – sometimes both. Today, if he tried to lift me, I would cringe.
Culture Dictates Beauty
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am from a country where being fat as a woman, is considered very attractive. Here is a link to a list of countries that share this cultural anomaly. If you bother to visit the link shared, you will see that Jamaica, where I am from, is #7 on the list.
I have lived in the USA for 20+ years now, and I am very aware of the American standards of beauty, and while it has shifted from desiring women to be thin to a more athletic look, fat women are made to feel ‘ugly’, just by their size. Girls and women everywhere struggle with their self-image here, and those of us who make America our home eventually get trapped in that same culture dragnet. Eventually, I started feeling fat where before it would never have even occurred to me that I was.
Now my new adopted country was forcing it’s cultural view of beauty on me. It is very hard to miss the pressure to be thinner when size 12 and up is hardly found on the racks in anywhere but the Plus-size section.
The thing is, culture can impact health. Being a fat woman may be considered beautiful in some countries, and for some time, being too thin was considered healthy here. I have heard more references to ‘thick’ women being preferred in many of the subcultures popping up right here in the USA. Possibly because the melting pot has blended. France just made it illegal for Fashion Models to be an unhealthy body fat%, sending a new message to women everywhere that a new view of beauty has been ushered in.
Today, I have chosen to pursue premium, personal health – whatever that size ends up being. I have even divorced my scale because I no longer wish to follow any dictate of what I must be to be beautiful. Not culture, not a number on a scale, not even your opinion! If you share this position, TWEET IT to your world!
Beauty is what I see when I look in the mirror – regardless of my size; however, my health is premium now, and I will not sacrifice it to live up to any standard handed to me by others. I will pursue my health and eventually, my body will get to a healthy weight that will be beautiful to me no matter what it is.
If you are struggling with your self-image, chance are – you are subconsciously moved to a particular view of beauty. The first step to a healthy weight is to ditch all suggestions of any other size you need to be other than what is the premium for your health and current lifestyle. For example:
(a) If you are an athlete, you will demand more from your body than when you were not athletic. During this phase, you need to address your health first from that demand.
(b) If your lifestyle tends to be inactive because you have a 40+ hour/week desk job; then you also need to address your health first from that demand.
(c) If you were born with a health challenge, such as severe allergies to certain foods, or juvenile diabetes, and so on – you must address your health first from that demand.
In each case, if you keep your health as your focus, you will need to adjust your activity and nutrition accordingly.
If you are a Christian, then I hope you can start by embracing your image as a child of the King, loving yourself because you were made in the image of God, and when God finished with creation, He declared that it was good. Here at In His Image Fitness, we add this layer as our first focus to the overall wellness component. When you love yourself, you will feel very deserving of all the self-love. We also want to remind you (especially busy moms) that you cannot give what you do not possess.
We also want to remind you that you cannot give what you do not possess. You cannot give:
- your daughter a positive self-image, if you don’t have one
- your son a sense of beauty if you do not feel beautiful
- your friends permission to accept you as you are, when you still do not accept you as you are
- your mate permission to enjoy you naked, when you can’t stand yourself naked
Busy moms, you are especially guilty of all of the above. I know this because I used to be guilty of all of the above.
So, I weight a bit more than my husband does – FOR NOW! Trust me, this is a temporary state of affairs. I used to outweigh him by many, many, more pounds which (shhh….) he would never know because I never shared my weight with him UNTIL…
I decided to do something about it and included him as one of my accountability partners. Guess what – he never made me feel ‘ugly’ because I was fat.
Today, he celebrates every effort I put in toward improving my health. He knows I am not trying to lose weight to fit in better with some cultural demand. He knows I am focused on being the best version of me – because I deserve to be. I have no idea what that will look like right now, because, I have never been there.
Yes, I have been thinner, but back then, it was an unhealthy path of starvation, excessive exercise, unhealthy food choices that remained under my calorie quota, over the counter weight loss drugs that are no longer on the market because of how adverse to health they were. So, NO! My thinner days were not healthy days.
I look forward to meeting the healthier me – and I wake up to her every morning, because every day, I take action that brings me closer to that goal. My new culture is one of health.
Ready to find the healthier version of YOU? Are you DONE with WEIGHT HATE?
JOIN ME on this journey to In His Image – Fitness! Be part of a community of others ready to encourage, hold each other accountable, support and celebrate small victories. Join the Stewardship Community. Complete the form below and connect with me.