Happy International Women’s Day! This is a truly important day to take time and appreciate all the women in your life! This holiday started in the early 1900’s and continues to evolve and grow larger each year. The theme this year is (yes, the have a different one every year!) is #pressforprogress. You can learn more about that movement on their website here.
I love the concept of #pressforprogress. It honestly ties in PERFECTLY with something I feel very strongly about. The idea of individuality. Bio-individuality, to be more exact. What exactly does that mean? The concept of bio-individuality treats everyone as a unique individual. Meaning that something that “works” for one person, may do harm to another. Mainly applied to food and lifestyle habits, bio-individuality is SO important for every woman to understand.
In a culture filled with instant gratification and the never-ending quest for immediate results, celebrating progress can often get lost in translation. I believe a lot of this stems from constant access to social media channels. From platforms like Instagram and Facebook to television and more, we are constantly exposed to other people with whom we can compare ourselves to.
When I say we, I mean women. Women are so often the targets of advertisements and marketing ploys to believe that little else in life matters than to “be thin” or “skinny.” I feel so strongly against this and am excited to be able to speak out against this through the concept of bio-individuality and a larger focus on progress through the journey.
Let me use a personal example. A few years back, I went through major dietary changes. Anybody that has done so can tell you it’s no small feat to switch from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to being vegetarian, to being vegan and then to the Paleo diet. These changes were hugely impactful to my body and my mindset! Had I taken the time to slow down and enjoy the process, I might have realized what I was doing to my body in that time. During that two year period, I lost too much weight for my activity level, put my body at risk of severe injury and illness and created a very warped and negative body image.
Fast forward a few years and I have put in a lot of work towards finding out what exactly works for me and my body (hello bio-individuality!). I have also done A LOT of work on repairing my relationship with my body and creating a more loving and positive space about body image.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t have days where I catch a glimpse in the mirror and instantly wish I could change something on my body but I do have a much larger appreciation for what my body CAN do. Especially what I am able to do athletically. I have shifted my focus from seeking instant results and gratification to progress over the long term. I want to be healthy for my entire lifetime, not just the few weeks before a big event.
I am constantly seeking the most healthy options to add to my lifestyle to continue becoming healthier every day. I love experimenting with different foods and gladly accept those into my life that add value, and reject those that don’t. In my mind, here is where social media is the most influential. It allows us to compare ourselves and our diets to others, who may very well be in a completely different stage of their journey than we are!
“My favorite blogger’s meal portions look tiny… Why are mine so large? Maybe I should try being more like her and cutting down my portion sizes. After all, she has such a bangin’ six pack!” These are actual words from my head. The power and control that comparison has is massive. At this point I just had to stop and have faith in my own process and believe that just because something works for one person, does not mean it will work well for me. My larger portion sizes fuel me for my days and workouts properly. I have faith in my body after working to create a better relationship with it, that my body will notify me if my portions become too large.
Theodore Roosevelt really said it best: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Take a while for that to sink in. Do you ever really feel better about yourself after comparing yourself to others? Especially other women? I doubt it. Comparison is a platform for putting others or ourselves down. It is not positive or uplifting and does not allow us to celebrate the unique gifts that each one of us can bring to the table. That being said, I am insanely passionate about every woman being unique and progressing towards their ideal bio-individuality, “flaws” and all.
Though the concept of #pressforprogress is directed towards more of social status equality, I firmly believe that if we first lift ourselves up, we can then lift others up. Put your own mask on first before helping others.
Work to repair your negative body image relationship and see the beauty you have to offer the world. By working for progress rather than the ultimate end goal, you will create a journey filled with ups and downs, but always upwardly progressing.
Need help with your journey? I am here to help you! Along with nutrition, I have a huge passion for promoting positive body images, especially for women. We should be able to celebrate our unique bodies, while still creating progress towards a healthier individual.
In a world obsessed with diet culture and “being thin” the importance of actual health a working positive relationship with the body has been lost. We deserve to be much more than a number on a scale, a BMI measurement or a body fat percentage number.
We deserve to love our bodies, to admire the progress we’ve made and in turn #pressforprogress in the world.