The world is filled with conflicting messages, right? Body acceptance in the world of fitness is a topic where conflict often arises. Many people struggle with the messages that they should love and accept their bodies as is, while simultaneously they feel pressured to improve the body they have (lose weight, get stronger etc). It becomes murky territory for those of us who support people on their quests to implement change in their lives, while also trying to make sure they love themselves and stay realistic.
There are people on both ends of the spectrum (though most of us fall somewhere in between). I’ll go into examples of two extremes here, but there are many more types of people out there (don’t want to box anyone in). You may fall into one category or the other, have bits from each, or neither.
Some people are firm body acceptance believers: they see and preach that there’s no reason to want to change your body to fit a certain standard. People in this group often have a hard time seeing weight loss or fitness as anything more than trying to be something you’re not (although they tend to forgive athletes and those being active for health reasons alone). Fitness magazines & advertising can be threatening to this message, so occasionally (not always) you can see a rebellion towards fitness & weight-loss in this group. However, when a person in this group is unsatisfied with their body, they feel it goes against their belief system to want to make changes: therin lies their conflict. They find it hard to reconcile wanting to make changes while simultaneously preaching that no one should fit a standard. It’s tough to be in this group.
On the other end, you have individuals who hate their bodies and feel complacent if they’re not making changes: they’re constantly trying to fit a standard that’s not realistic and lies outside of themselves. This group believes firmly that changing and striving towards the standard they set for themselves is what life’s all about. They don’t feel happy or satisfied with their bodies unless they’re working towards that goal or diligently maintaining it. Often (but not always) people in this group might see body-acceptance as an excuse to be lazy. They find it hard to reconcile body-acceptance while simultaneously feeling as though they’re giving up if they adopt the philosophy that their body is good enough as is.
These are extremes: most people lie somewhere in between, or struggle with aspects of each.
You can love your body AND want to improve it: many people do. :) Here are my thoughts on loving your body AND being okay with wanting to change/improve it (taken from a question earlier today).
Heart Wide Open - 18 minute yoga sequence.
This sequence, created by Amy Ippoliti, will stabilize your base and strengthen your arms, helping you to expand ecstatically into Wild Thing.
Weekend Workout: The Dirty Dozen!
Time: 30 Minutes
Warm Up: Run in place, squat, jumping jacks, dance ANYTHING. Move for 5 minutes before you start. Cool down with a march in place before stretching.
You’ll need: A mat, a timer, a wicked playlist and a KILLER attitude!
Goal: Complete as many rounds of these exercises as possible in 30 minutes.
12 exercises, 12 reps each. No breaks scheduled in between, but take them if you need it (Push!)
Beginners: Aim for 3 rounds
Intermediate: Aim for 4-5 rounds
Advanced: Aim for 6+ rounds.
Remember, modify the moves to your level! It’s YOUR workout: no need to jump if you’ve got bad knees! This is for time, and the goal is to keep your heart rate up by engaging your muscles and moving as quick as YOU can. Feel free to use modifications if you’re slowing down!
Squat jumps: Sit down and BACK in a squat. Keep the weight in the heels of your feet (you should be able to wiggle your toes). Explode up, reaching your hands to the sky and jumping off the feet. Land softly, back in the squat and repeat. Modification: You can squat, stand, THEN jump, and squat down again. This can help if you’ve got knee problems. You can also eliminate the jump all together.
Air Jacks: Like a regular jumping jack, except you lift your legs out to the side and off the floor (think like a firework or an X). The jump can be quick, but sink down to get more power before each jack. Modification: regular jumping jacks.
Pushups: In plank position, lower and push yourself off the ground. Since we’re going for speed, ANYONE can feel free to use the modification from your knees (advanced peeps: 6 rounds of 12 modified pushups is intense too!)
Lie Down, Stand Ups: Exactly as it says. Lie down with your hands and feet outreached in one line (like someone is pulling on your feet and hands in opposite directions). Bring your knees and hands in, and rock up (or use your hands) to a squat position, then stand. Reverse the movement by LOWERING yourself down first, and using your hands to get back to the ground. Contract your abs and protect your back during this movement. Modify by going slower.
Plank Jacks: In plank position, hop your feet out and in like a jumping jack. Keep your hands DIRECTLY under your shoulders. Modification: Step your feet out one at a time, then back in. Beginners, you can be on your knees for this one, and step your hands out instead.
Lunges: Lunge forward, alternating legs. Weight should be in the heel of your lunging foot, and push off that foot to return to standing. Knees should stay over the top of the toes, and not past. Think about lowering your torso to the ground, instead of propelling it forward.
Reverse Lunges: Same as the lunge, but step backwards instead of forwards. Catch yourself, and keep the weight in the front heel. Alternate with each lunge.
Cobra To Plank: Get on your belly! Extend your hands and feet out (like someone’s pulling on them) and lift your chest and legs off the ground (like superman flying). Hold for 1-2 seconds, then return to plank position. Repeat.
In & Out V-Sit crunches: On your tush (use a pillow if you need to), draw your knees into your chest. Hands can be off the floor, or by your sides and behind you for balance). You should look like a V from the side, so keep your abs tight and back should be at about a 45 degree angle from the floor. Draw the knees in and push them out. Keep your back flat, think ‘good posture’, and keep your core contracted. Modification: Basic crunches are fine here.
Split Squat Jumps: From a squat position, step one foot out behind you just a few feet. Keep most of the weight in the front foot, and watch those knees! Sink low into your front heel, and ‘wind’ your arms up by bringing them behind you. Explode off the front foot, jumping in the air and bringing your arms up to the ceiling. Switch legs in mid-air, and land softly on the other side. Repeat. Modification: Do a mini-lunge forward and then jump up, or eliminate the jumps and do another set of lunges instead.
Squat Kicks: Squat down low, and as you raise up lift your leg and kick forward. Use the ball of your foot (the part right under your toes) to push OUT during the kick, and remember they don’t have to be high. Repeat changing sides.
Tricep Dips: Off a bench, chair or couch, position yourself so that your bum is OFF the seat, but scrapes it as you lift and lower. Hands behind you for support, weight in the palms and facing forward. Lower your body down to the ground until your arms are parrallel to the floor and form a 90 degree angle. Raise up quickly. Repeat.
1/2 cup almonds (you can also substitute pecans or any other nut)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 t sea salt
1 t nama shoyu or soy sauce
How to do
Process almond and walnuts and put aside in a bowl. Add other ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge.
I put the nut mixture in a romaine lettuce leaf & topped with a sour cream alternative, salsa & guacamole.
this is a great workout to start off your morning with
my summer vacation warm up routine right here.
This is taken like word for word including the title from mine which I had to invent for my Cert 3 + 4 fitness assessment :\
Breaded Seitan with Grilled Asparagus & Mashed Cauliflower
This is a three part meal that is really good for a weekend dinner, if you have a little extra time during the week or if you have some people around to help you out! :)
For the Seitan (it makes roughly 5-6 patties, so I saved some for later meals)
1 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
1 Cup Water
1 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Lemon Pepper
1/2 tsp. Sage
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Slices of Stale Bread
2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
1-2 tsp. Sesame Seeds
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients together with a fork, then add water and stir until everything is combined. Knead the seitan blob for 1-2 minutes then slice into 6 fillet looking pieces. Bring a medium-sized pot filled with roughly 4-6 cups of water/vegetable broth to a boil. Place seitan pieces in pot and try not to let them get stuck to each other.
Boil the seitan until it floats or around 10 minutes; take out pieces and place them on a clean towel to dry and press. Leave a little moisture in them so that the crust can stick to the outside. For the breading, put bread, nutritional yeast and sesames into a food processor and pulse until it is a fine texture. Coat seitan pieces in it and place on baking sheet covered in foil.
Place baking sheet into oven and bake for approx. 20 minutes, or until it is as firm as you prefer. Serve warm!
For the Mashed Cauliflower:
Break a head of cauliflower up into chunks and steam; once soft, place in food processor with 2-3 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast, 2 tsp. Earth Balance, and salt & pepper to taste. Process until smooth, or a little chunky and serve.
For the Asparagus: I used a recipe from food.com.
The impact of soft drinks on your health
While I do have soda now and then, I mostly like to pretend I am a superhero and it is poison.
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