First up, thanks to everyone who voted on their favorite muscle groups to work at the gym! All eight of you (or maybe seven since I can’t recall if I voted or not) made my poll very representative of the blogging population (sarcasm alert!). Although, based on what my I’ve heard my friends and clients say, it actually might be pretty accurate! Looks like legs and core tied for first, with back and chest coming in second, and no one liking arm work at all. Which, like I said, pretty much reflects everything I’ve ever heard when training!
Moving on, though!
Although last Friday’s post also involved food, I’m obviously talking about a different sort here. I know I talk a lot about body image and staying sane and healthy with it, but today I was clicking around on my favorite blogs and came across a video that does the topic more justice than I can right now. Leah posted this video of Jean Kilbourne lecturing about images of women in the media, and it reminded me of WHY I choose to write about these topics. It reminded me why I write about eating disorders and self love and everything else. I remember seeing other Killing Us Softly videos when I was a Women’s Studies major at Michigan, but this one really struck a chord with me.
So there you have it, folks.
THIS is why I was a Women’s Studies major. THIS is why I want to go back to school for a graduate degree. THIS is why I want to teach about destructive images of women in the media and how we can change them. THIS is why it’s so easy for me to hop up on my feminist soapbox. THIS is why half of my blog is about body image and being healthy but not succumbing to the pressures of someone else’s version of perfect. Because it is a public health problem. It’s not just us girls being silly and taking things too personally. Although, when I see my fellow women beating themselves up, and even DYING, striving to be some ideal that doesn’t exist, I DO take it personally. But it’s not just our problem. It is the problem of every single person who has any relationship with any woman. It is EVERYONE’S problem.
(That was actually my exact comment on Leah’s blog, but I realized it conveys precisely how I feel about the topic, and I could think of no better words to express my thoughts, so there you go.)
Anyway, you know I love a good discussion, so lay it on me! What do you think? Of the video? Of the topic at hand? Do you think the media is damaging to the self image of today’s woman? Do you think it’s a public health issue? Do you think we can change this? How? I know that’s a lot of questions, but SPILL!
No excuses. When it comes to exercise, that’s what I’m supposed to tell you, right?
Well, I would, but I know that we’re human and we’ve all got excuses when it comes to fitting in our workouts. However, the trick to getting past those excuses is to hear them and then beat them by using a little bit of strategy and planning. Here are a few of the most commonly heard excuses for not exercising (some of which I may have used myself) and how to get around them.
1) Not enough time. You work 10-hour days, you volunteer, you have a packed social life with a boyfriend, a great family, and tons of friends demanding your attention. Oh, and we can’t forget your standing appointment with your DVR that’s recorded all of your favorite shows. Sounds like you have a pretty full, pretty great life. But you know what’s missing? EXERCISE. You manage to fit all of these other things in, but you aren’t able to squeeze in a few sweat sessions? Grab your calendar and pencil in at least 30 to 45-minute workouts per week. Honestly, to improve your health, that’s all it takes. A little more if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, but if you’re already where you want to be, for less time that it takes to primp for work or happy hour, you can get your heart pumping. And please, please, PLEASE don’t let TV be your excuse. First of all, go ahead and say that one out loud. It just sounds silly. And second, if you must watch that show, why don’t you tune in while working out? Do an at-home strength program while watching or ask the gym if they’ll turn on your show when it’s on. You can’t be the only one obsessed with “Glee.”
2) Not enough sleep. Uhh, why not? I understand that the above crazy busy life may limit your time spent snoozing, but getting enough sleep is so important! I didn’t realize how much better I felt with more sleep until I switched jobs and stopped working 13-hour days (which is ridic, btw). I started getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep almost every night, and my mood and my health both improved! It takes a whole lot more to get me stressed or upset now, and I even lost a few pounds just because my body was rested enough to repair itself and do its thing. Rachel had been telling me I needed to sleep more for the longest time, but it wasn’t until I experienced it myself that I became a true believer! But let’s just say that you’re still struggling in the sleep department, moderate exercise will actually do nothing but wake you up! That’s the great thing about it. And if you you’re missing out on Zzz’s because you just can’t fall asleep then exercise will help with that too! Regular activity = regular sleep schedule. Just make sure you get your sweat on at least 3 hours before bed so you can sleep soundly. Either way, get moving!
3) Not feeling like you can do enough in the time that you have. You think that that 20 minutes you have every weekday won’t do a thing, right? Not so! Bump up the intensity on most days, and you can really elevate your heart rate. Try intervals in your cardio, and limit or eliminate your rest between strength sets altogether. My favorite is treadmill intervals of 90 seconds at a steady pace with 30 second all-out sprints. For my resistance training, I like to do supersets between my back and chest or quads and hamstrings (biggest muscle groups burn the most calories!). You can still do a LOT in a little time. Trust me.
4) Not exactly loving the whole ’working out’ thing. You’ve tried running because it’s supposed to burn the most calories, but you ended up getting bored or a case of shin splints. You’ve tried swimming because it’s supposed to be a great full-body workout, but you ended up doing two laps and coming up gasping for air, making you feel like an athletic failure. You tried a cardio kick class, but the instructor was just a little too peppy for your liking, you couldn’t follow the moves fast enough, and the guy behind you really could have used some deodorant. Whatever you tried, you hated it, and you stopped working out altogether. But why? Why did you only try that one thing and give up on exercise entirely? There are so many options out there! Try a yoga-cardio fusion class if you need something a little more zen. Get a mountain bike or a pair of hiking boots and find a trail if being in the gym is just not your idea of a good time (you can even do a little resistance training outside! Squats and pushups, anyone?). Hire a personal trainer that fits your workout style and personality if you like being in the gym and need a push, but don’t like sharing with other people. Whatever gets you moving, do it! And don’t limit yourself to what you see your friends or family doing. Find what’s right for you and start sweating!
Alright, so those are the most common excuses I’ve come across, but what others have you heard (or used yourself!)? How do you combat those excuses or the ones I’ve mentioned? Spill!
So I recently saw this show (sitting home alone on a Friday night, watching back episodes on Lifetime online. I feel like the beginning of one of the network’s movies. When do I get a makeover and suddenly achieve all of my dreams at once?), and I have mixed feelings. Overall, I really like it and what the show is trying to do. ‘Love your body!’ Carson crows. ‘Flaunt it! Adore every inch!’ And that’s really what they want women to do. I believe that very firmly.
Do I think they totally achieve it or do it in the right way?
Eh, not so sure about that…so let’s discuss!
Here are some of the issues I have with the show:
- Use of the word ‘perfect.’ What is perfect anyway? Some might say it’s Gisele, others might say it’s Beyonce or J-Lo, and others might be drawn to the ladies with even more junk in the trunk. What’s wrong with thinking what we’ve got right now is perfect? (I don’t tell myself I’m perfect on a daily basis or anything, but I think it’s something we could all work on) It’s nice that Carson says the women are beautiful, but I almost think he devalues the sentiment by starting those statements with, ‘You’re not perfect, but…’
- Someone who has hated her body for 20 years changes her mind in 5 days? Without the help of a qualified therapist? Hmmmm… It just seems a little hokey to me. Anyone who has ever had body image issues (like 99.9% of us?) knows that it’s gonna take a little longer to get over that.
- The women only feel good enough about themselves to ‘flaunt it’ naked after they’ve had full hair and makeup done. So we learn to love our bodies, accept our curves, and embrace our uniqueness….when we have the help of professionals making the part above the neck look phenomenal. I feel like they aren’t REALLY naked, ya know?
- Once they get the makeover, Carson and Jude (stylist extraordinaire) exclaim, ‘Oh you look so different! Amazing!’ Wait, what? Aren’t these women supposed to be loving themselves for who they already are? Not for the glamazon that has been created?
- The lineup. Carson makes the woman in question place herself where she thinks she fits in a line of women. But he always asks them to place themselves in the order by size. First of all, the thing about this show is that it is always about size. There’s never anything about any other form of uniqueness. Maybe they just didn’t want to dig that deep, but I think the show lacks depth (pun totally intended) for that very reason. Anyway, this part always makes the woman realize that she was much smaller than she was imagining. I have a problem with this. I almost find it insulting to the bigger women in the lineup, and I think the women who are asked to place themselves do too, based on their hesitation to just jump in the line. And the fact that when a woman realizes she is much smaller than her perception of herself, suddenly her self worth shoots up and she’s happier with her body. Not helping with that whole ‘love every size’ concept. Because even in this show about loving your body, subtracting inches is still positive, and a decrease in size equals an increase in self esteem. It may only be in the woman’s head, but it’s still shrinking her and that is the part that makes her feel beautiful – not realizing that her differences are what make her amazing.
- When the picture from the final shoot is shown on the side of the building, they still cover her ‘trouble spots.’ Again, we’re not embracing everything here – just the good stuff and the parts Jude has worked his magic on. The same goes for when Carson helps the women choose new outfits to dress their bodies. ‘We have a lot of good to work with here!’ Which sounds to me like he just left out the part about how they need to camouflage the bad…implying that there is ‘bad.’
- I love that the show makes women want to love the bodies they have, but most of the women have parts of their bodies that they describe as ‘fat’ or ‘chunky.’ Although I can identify with these women a bit more, I think the skinny girls need some love too. What about the girls who try to gain weight because they too hate their shape, but stay bony or boyish no matter what? I mean, I can’t really commiserate with homegirl on that end, but still, I know there are girls who are just as unhappy with their lack of shape as other women are with their abundance of it. And while I usually agree with Carson that ‘zero isn’t a size, it’s a warning sign,’ I don’t know if there needs to be so much haterade being dumped on our slender sisters.
Anyway, what do you think? Have you seen this show? Do you agree with me? Or are you thinking my perception of the show is totally skewed? What do you think about body image shows like this? Spill!