Confession: I May Not be Perfect, but I'm Still Fit & Healthy

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Last week, I was excited to tell everyone about my Cardio Blast DVD. We received a generally positive response from our readers, most of whom are familiar with the online workout videos that I've done.

Now I know that I don't have the perfect body. I used to weigh a lot more than I do now, and I probably have a good 20-30 pounds on most of the fitness models (yes, they're usually models, not trainers) who lead the workout DVDs that you see in stores. But does that mean that I can't lead YOU through a good workout that will help you reach your goals? I sure don't think so! But then I saw this comment, below my post about the DVD release:

"You need to get those arms toned and get a makeup artist if you want to sell those workout videos in today's competitive market! People aren't going to buy your product if you don't embody the ideal. Hate me if you want to, but it's free advice a marketing professional would charge you money for."


That stung more than a little bit...and then I deleted it! (hehe, the power of admin privileges!) I've seen hundreds of comments on my YouTube workout videos, and this isn't the worst thing someone has said about me my body and appearance. Does it hurt? Sure. Each time a YouTube viewer calls me "thick" or "fugly" (yep, I've gotten that one, too), it doesn't feel good, but I like to think that I get many more positive comments than I do negative ones, so I try to focus on those (and remind myself that anonymously tearing someone else down over the Internet isn't something that a very secure person would do).

Last week's experience inspired me to share some thoughts with all of you.

I consider myself a fit person. I exercise five or six days a week, usually for over an hour per session. I lift weights and I'm not afraid of heavy ones, either. I do cardio 4-5 days per week, ran a 5K last year without training, and I've mastered some of the challenging Pilates moves that I couldn't do a year ago. I live an active lifestyle, and I choose activities that are fun so that I don't dread working out. I'm sorry if others who look at my body don't think I'm fit enough for their standards, but you know, I'm fit enough for me. A healthy lifestyle and a fit body comes with moderation—not obsession. There was a time in my life when I obsessed over calories, exercised way too much, and ate way too little. I looked very much like the fitness models you see on magazines and DVDs then—defined shoulders, abs and legs. I tanned, too. But you know what? I was obsessed. Although my body looked "ideal" in terms of fitness and just the right amount of definition, I was not healthy. I had an eating disorder. And it took me YEARS to really understand the concept of moderation and to find peace with my body and the food I ate.

I used to look at photos of celebrities and other fit models and be jealous. Today I look at them and, while I'd love to look like that, I realize that—for me—it's not worth it. It's not worth not eating cake on my birthday; feeling hungry all the time; dragging myself out of bed at 5 a.m. to exercise for two and a half hours, and then again for another hour before I went to bed; choosing exercise over other fun activities with my friends; or losing my period for months at a time. Is that really the picture of health and fitness? Hardly.

I'm not saying that every person who "looks" fit is obsessed or unhealthy. Some people have excellent genetics that allow their bodies to respond favorably to a healthy amount of exercise and a moderate diet. But for the rest of us? To be honest, it might not be in the cards for you unless you're willing to go to extremes.

I don't want you to lower your standards or think that you'll never look good or be happy with your body, but I do think that there is much more to life than achieving what others consider to be the perfect body. I want to be the NEW picture of health and fitness--one that isn't about perfection.

For too long, we've been bombarded with images of "beauty" each day and felt bad about ourselves. Most advertisers try to make you feel bad about yourself so that you'll buy a product, service, or even a workout DVD to make yourself better. Well, I'm not going to be a part of that. I'm a busy working professional with a house, a garden, a boyfriend, friends and a life outside the gym. I don't have all day to exercise, and even if I did, I'd probably choose a different way to spend my time. To me, exercising and eating right are just one—important—part of my life that allows me to live and enjoy my life to the fullest.

I'm just like you. I'm a real person. But I'd like to think that I can still be an inspiration to others, even if I don't have a perfect body. Do I really need a makeup artist and more defined arms to help people feel empowered, motivated, and successful? I sure don't think so. When you see me, you can feel good about yourself instead of never feeling good enough.