I am outraged!
Body Shaming Needs to STOP!
Last week a very dear friend and fitness professional received a message describing all of her imperfections. It was the most devastating thing I have ever read and it went viral.
Being front and center in the spot light has its rewards, but it also comes with a price tag…. your critics and your own self-doubt! Not caring what other people think is a challenge among itself. It is not an easy task to accomplish without work and self-love. I have been blessed to have traveled the world and receive tons of media kudos all because of my fitness expertise. It sounds glamour’s and exciting, and at times it is, but no one prepares you for the other part………..your haters & critics!
Brené Brown: Why Your Critics Aren't The Ones Who Count
This is not about winning or losing, or being liked by all…our work within the fitness industry is about serving others and making a difference in people’s lives. The thrill I receive when I have had the ability to inspire change in someone’s health and body image gives me the energy to keep showing up.
Words have so much power, and to see hurtful e-mails, reviews, and comments on social media can really do a number on your psyche. How sad is it for someone to think that hurtful words can be inspiring and motivating, instead they bring up all of our childhood hurts that we have worked so hard to grow and learn from. As women we should empower and lift each other up, and provide words of encouragement and love.
The media has done such a number on us. Instead of being proud of the powerful women we are and happy with the way we look naturally, we strive to be a Photoshop Magazine, Insta-gram look alike. We were all created with our own unique beauty, every dimple, every scar and line that should have an amazing story to tell. What most of you don’t see is the back-end of what transpires on a photo shoot. Countless hours are given to moving lights, filters, and screens all to highlight the perfect six pack abs. Not to mention spray tans, hair (some times FAKE), extreme make-up, severe diets, and all sorts of alternative, yet dangerous modalities are also used in some cases simply for the perfect shot and perfect body.
The body shaming needs to STOP.
Women have curves…period. Some of us are blessed with round booty’s others have flat booty’s, some of us have short legs, while others are tall, some of us have six packs while some of us have soft tummies, some of us have broad shoulders, some of us have freckles, some of us have shiny hair, long hair, brown hair, green eyes, blue eyes…GOOD GRIEF....it starts to sound like a Dr. Seuss book where he tells you about all of the body parts and all of the amazing things they do. As a society we are brain washed into thinking that everything we are and have is not enough or, maybe, too much. What about just being the very Best Healthiest Version of YOU and instilling that positivity in others as well.
For those people who feel the need to speak freely about other people's bodies…think before you speak, or type, or hit the post button. You never really know another person’s personal wellness journey so why shame someone’s image just because it doesn’t match your personal ideal? So the next time a silly thought like that passes your mind about yourself or others, why not think of ways of uplifting, and inspiring others to greatness, I promise it will make you feel so much better.
Check out how beautifully Kimberly handled her critic. I hope you find your story within hers and you can help to inspire a friend.
June 7 at 7:41pm ·
"To all the beautiful souls out there, this message is from my heart to yours…take a deep breath but please do dive into this one...I think it's important.
In the image on the left, you’ll see a message I received this week when grabbing my iPhone for a quick check on my email. And after feeling so blessed to have had another year as a presenter at the AAAI/ISMA One World Conference…ah well…
I blocked the person’s name for a reason. It’s because I’m not posting this message for the purpose of blasting her (yes, her – a fellow woman felt the need to send me this) or lashing out in some way nor am I asking you to do so. While the perspective of the person who sent me this note is very different from mine, “hating back” will get us nowhere.
Instead, the purpose of this message is to say YES, this is me(see image on the right). I am imperfect and I am beautiful. This body has survived and carried me through a lot. It survived the trauma of over 15 years of anorexia and bulimia. It survived severe pneumonia at age 19 which led to life-long daily management of asthma ever since. This body even built a very special human who calls me Mommy and still thinks I’m pretty cool. It survived the open-abdominal surgery when it turned out I had to have a c-section, the additional wound care required when the incision came open 9 days after AND the additional surgery 5 months later when they had to cut out part of my cervix.
This body has served me well. It has had the strength to support my crazy passion for jumping up and down for a living for over 25 years (maybe I don’t teach high impact classes 15x a week anymore, but I can still burpee when I need to :)). I have presented at 100s of conferences across the US and far beyond for over 15 yrs. I’ve led over 30 well reviewed consumer workout videos. And guess what – even at the height of my teaching/presenting/video career, this body was so far from “perfect”. It has always had cellulite and moles and stretch marks. And I used to judge myself severely for this. I almost stopped presenting after my very first year because, when I looked around, I just didn’t look like the other “ripped, toned, muscular” presenters. I looked like me…ugh. And although I was striving to be the best possible version of me so I could help others unveil the best version of themselves, this physical vessel has never been “magazine cover ready” based on our culture’s standards.
But when I really think about it, I’ve actually never wanted to be “ripped”(unless I’m hanging out with my friends, Terry & Tina, of course) or “shredded”. These soft curves I used to judge and even hate? Well, I’ve actually come to love them…a lot. And beyond that, I realized the best version of me was something I brought to the world from the inside out. And the best version of YOU is something you bring from the inside out, too.
No disrespect to those out their striving to change their bodies – I honor you; but, make no mistake - the world does not need your belly or hips to shrink nor does it need your muscles to expand. The world just needs you to let your light shine. Yes, this does require being healthy…but it’s an inside job more than an outside job; so, how about we at least start there…by loving and accepting ourselves 100%, unapologetically?
I always thought it was interesting that a girl like me, who had such severe lack of self-esteem and body issues as a pre-teen and beyond, was drawn to an industry that puts so much weight (pun intended) on physical appearance. But I continued to show up, do my best and be a good role model with what I knew. Then I realized I needed to know more…about myself. So, for over 10 years now, in addition to fitness, wellness and yoga, I’ve studied positive psychology, personal development, happiness research, various wisdom traditions and spirituality.
And now I know I continue to be so drawn to this industry I love because I, arm in arm with all of YOU, have an opportunity to CHANGE it in the way it needs to change. We need to realize that we are not just our physical bodies; that we are whole beings…and SO ARE THE CLIENTS AND STUDENTS WE SERVE. If we’re really going to make a difference in this world, we must understand how necessary it is to show up fully and authentically, without judgment, so we can meet people where they are and support them on all levels – physical, mental, emotional…and yes, even spiritual. We need to accept them 100% for who they are, from the inside out…and it starts with accepting and caring for ourselves in the same way. Because pushups and squats can make your body stronger but they can’t heal your heart or suddenly make you feel worthy in the way you should feel…the way you honestly should have felt your entire life.
Let’s be willing to move through the fear of being judged and choose to be vulnerable enough to show up in this way…for ourselves, for our clients and students, for our family and friends, for all those we may positively impact with our courage.
From one of my favorite Marianne Williamson books, A Return to Love: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
If you’re with me on this, please share this post AND/or share an authentic selfie of you in the comments. No need to wear makeup or find the perfect angle or flex or “suck it in”, etc. Just share the REAL you, declaring your REAL beauty.
Enough of the judgment, the criticism, the doubt, the comparison, the pettiness. Let’s send a message to the world that we are imperfect yet we are beautiful…and we are madly in love with ourselves…100% of ourselves. Let’s be the example that gives others permission to love themselves, too.
I love all you beautiful, wonderful, spectacular, gorgeous beings out there!
Time to choose love."
I hope the biggest takeaway message here is that healthy & FIT comes in all different shapes, colors and sizes. Believe in You and send love and light to all the haters!
What did you think about my tirade and Kimberly’s response? Hit me up below in the comments I would love to know.
Touch base with me and LIKE my FB page www.facebook.com/janissaffellfitness so we stay connected.
Inspired - Light & LOVE!
Janis Saffell :-)
Janis Saffell, America’s #1 Fitness Expert, is founder of top branded fitness programs including the “4 Week Fat Blaster”, “Brand New Butt” and “Fitness on the Road”. She is a leading authority on fitness programming and weight loss. If you are ready for a change and want to Super Charge your workouts, receive free tips NOW at www.JanisSaffell.com.