When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I wanted to look like a Victoria Secrets model. I starved myself, beat myself up and hated my body for everything it wasn’t. So after years of self loathing I decided to step it up a notch and started getting into exercising. The more I exercised the more I found myself looking up to athletes and fitness pros with their washboard abs and sky high asses and hating the fact I didn’t look like them. So once again I starved myself, beat myself up and hated my body. Only this time around, I was doing all of this whilst putting myself through hours of exercise and as a result became anorexic. But no matter how little I weighed, or what I did, I couldn’t work out why I couldn’t look like these ‘healthy’, strong, confident women.
I felt like a complete pathetic, failure and become to desperate that I begun to spend hour upon hour reading magazines and searching the vast expanse of the Internet trying to track down the ‘best’ training program, the ‘best’ diet and the ultimate quick fix to get me into that ‘perfect’ shape.
It wasn’t until I hit my mid-20s and gave bodybuilding a go (through the support and encouragement of a close friend who was extremely concerned for me), that I began to shift my perception of my then anorexic body and realised just how hard I had fallen into a very dark and scary trap. And I wasn’t alone. A quick Google search for “model diet” will give you over 90 million results, whilst ‘how to lose fat’ will get you about 55.5 million results and ‘celebrity workout’ will have you clicking away searching through about 43 million results.
With technology making information more readily available, and health and fitness ideals thrust upon us more intensely than ever before, it’s not surprising to see more and more people looking to celebrities, fitness professionals and athletes for the answers to their problems.
But 99% of people aren’t fitness models or bodybuilders, and 99% of people don’t have the time, passion, drive, adherence levels or Photoshop skills they’d need to achieve the physiques they idealise so much. The reality is, most fitness professionals, celebrities and athletes have little choice but to live and breathe what they do. Their livelihoods depend on it after all. So they bring together teams of professionals to work around them and/or have developed the very high adherence levels required for what they’re doing.
Unfortunately for us mere mortals, the idea of preparing and eating perfectly weighed portions of chicken, broccoli and brown rice as well as training for a couple hours a day, 6 days a week, is enough to make us want to shoot ourselves in the head. And no-one should ever be made to feel like that.
We need to learn to pause and a step back from our initial impressions of these ideals and begin to take a much broader look at the psychological impact and the mental game that we play with ourselves when it comes to diet and fitness.
Competitors and bodybuilders love the pain, the struggle, and the horrible feelings that comes with what they do. That’s why they do it. It sets them apart from the rest and gives them the rewarding feeling that they’re doing something that no-one else can do.
And that is too often overlooked, ‘it gives them the rewarding feeling that they’re doing something that no-one else can do. ‘
Professional athletes and celebrities have the time and resources on their hands to commit to their pursuit. They surround themselves with trainers, dietitians, therapists and chefs, all of which are dedicated to making sure the person looks the part for a role, or performs at their peak at the right time, as the success of the persons movie or athletic career depend upon it.
Now are such aspirations really is fair expectation to place upon ourselves? Are they realistic or achievable for the average person? The simple answer is, no. Hell no! Life is here to be enjoyed, so enjoy it. Everyone is different and thereby has passions for different things. If you’re heart lies in becoming a professional athlete, then that’s great. Maybe a strict diet and strict training regime will bring you the pleasure and fulfillment your heart desires. But that’s simply not going to be the case for most of us.
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take on a fitness program just because it’s written by a fitness pro, or take inspiration from an athlete’s diet. You just need to remember to take into account when you are looking at such things that you’re not living under the same circumstances as these people, and place the right amount of value on being happy, healthy, and enjoy you life. After all, do you really want to give up going out with your friends for a beer, brunch, dinner or glass of wine then just because some random person you don’t know does? I don’t think so.
Have been through this before? Are you struggling with it now? Let me know, because I’d love to hear from you!
Need a bit of a hand when it when it comes to your health and fitness goals? Please get in touch. Konquer Fitness (aka. me) provides local bootcamp style and one-on-one personal training sessions in a friendly and supportive environment. Based 5 minutes out of the CBD in Rivervale, every training session focusing on Konquering your limitations, doubts and fears so we can make room for you to gain the confidence, strength and health you’ve always wanted. Whatever is holding you back…together we will Konquer it!
Struggling with accountability? Want to be part of a supportive and motivational group of Perth and women who share and support each other with their health and fitness journeys? Join Perth Female Health and Fitness Community on Facebook. It’s a FREE group create to provide a supportive and motivational place for the women of Perth to come together and share their health and fitness journeys.