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An Ideal Body?

samwilson's picture

by Sam Wilson

Mum of two gorgeous boys and the owner of samwilsonfitness, a company dedicated to female health and wellbeing.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the new Hot Mama programme that will launch in September and whether or not to do body fat, weight, measurements or in fact, any of those.  I know that many people like to rely on a number to keep their motivation, but if weight loss is now not something to be worrying about, then why should we look to any number at all?  Whether it be dress size, body fat percentage, waist size, pounds lost or gained; it's really pretty uninspiring to be completely focused on a number alone.  We seem to switch from one number goal to another and it's BORING.

I would look for much more satisfying results such as how you actually feel, as opposed to weight or fat loss.  I know it seems that everyone's goal is to LOSE LOSE LOSE, but what about the gains?  The gains of health, better mental state, balanced hormones and general happiness.  These are the results that I am really interested in.  Not whether someone has reached a particular body fat percentage.  Again, it's taking us away from really knowing what real health and balance is.  If you are only interested in body fat percentage or the number on the scales, your goals are going to be constantly fluctuating.  We, as humans, are all biologically different.  Every single one of us.  To look at an ideal body image is really unhelpful at worst and damaging at best.  Yes you can look at your own body shape and think, my ideal body fat percentage is going to be 12% for example, but what if you find it too difficult to reach that goal?  Does that make you weak?  Does that mean that you have failed?  What about how you feel?!  Doesn't that count?  If you are healthy, are happy, are where you want to be in life, what difference does a body fat or weight number make?  I appreciate that we feel the need to look our best and should definitely eat well and train at something we enjoy but when numbers become the end goal, it loses it's sparkle.

Clients often have an idea of what they would like to look like when following a consistent exercise or training programme.  Often these 'ideal' body shapes are completely unattainable for most people.  We see fitness models with a very low body fat.  No doubt they are already blessed with a lean body, perhaps long legs and a flat stomach to top it off.  They are training probably every day with optimum nutrition and are doing this as their job.  Ideal body shapes are never ideal.  We are bombarded with these images every day and it's just not real.  Your average person is just never going to look like that and these images are just not applicable to real life.

So, should we measure anything about ourselves other than how we feel and how we can see we look in the mirror?  Perhaps you like to see numbers on paper but I would always question why you.  If you are a figure competitor, perhaps it's useful to you to know your body fat.  I don't know mine and I don't care what it is.  I can see what I look like in the mirror, I can see if I am losing fat or gaining fat, or simply staying the same.  It's more satisfying for me to feel great when I wake up in the mornings.  For me to have energy whilst running around after two energetic boys.  When a client says to me that her partner has said how much happier she is lately, that's much more important to me than a number.

I would question anyone who tells you that you NEED to lose weight, that you NEED to lose body fat.  That might be their idea of perfection but it certainly doesn't have to be yours.  Nobody NEEDS to do anything other than for their good health and wellness.   This is much more relevant to long term health and fitness.  The next time you are tempted to say "ooooh I just want to reach that fat percentage or that weight", have a think about why you want it.  Isn't it better to feel and see the benefits instead?

Food for thought....what do YOU think?

Until the next time,

Sam x