A couple of months ago my friend Megan Imbert posted on facebook that she was hosting a screening of the #Embrace Documentary. And honestly I thought, well isn’t that nice. It was a Thursday night and I had a handful of reasons to skip it. So I clicked “Interested” to follow it, but never actually thought I’d go.
What is the Embrace Documentary? From the link above: The culture of body loathing and body shaming had reached epic proportions worldwide. One woman’s journey to inspire everyBODY.
Being in the health and fitness industry I am very aware that this is an issue and a very important cause. My goal – seriously the MAIN reason I became a certified Personal Trainer 13 years ago and decided to make fitness more than “my” hobby/addiction, was to teach everyBODY what I had learned, that exercise was
- important for physical and mental health
- didn’t have to be complicated
- was fun.
These same reasons + increased knowledge of the importance of balance and healthy eating drove me to add certifications as a Pilates Instructor and Health/Nutrition Coach to my resume.
Notice that no where did I say – look good in a bikini, fit into skinny jeans or get washboard abs. Even 13, shoot, let’s be honest, 30 years ago I knew that exercise and diet can become unhealthy and obsessive behaviors based on body-image issues rather than personal wellness.
But through my personal journey I’ve learned that body-image issues are not solved by a number on the scale or buns of steel. Healthy eating and exercise are part of a greater solution to the increasing epidemic of obesity, metabolic disease, even auto-immune disease, mood disorders and cancer.
Then I had kids – and I made a personal commitment to them and their mental, physical and spiritual health – to NOT pass on my issues to them. When you know better – do better. So I strive to avoid all talk of weight as something other than proof that you’re growing as you’re supposed to do. Never complaining that my jeans are too tight because I need to lose weight or my top doesn’t fit right because my boobs are too small or I need to inject toxins in my skin to erase normal signs of ageing. I try to maintain this message in my own head with positive self-talk, but erasing body image issues doesn’t happen over night. It’s a journey that I continue on daily.
Then came November 7th…to be honest, the results of the presidential election left me in a daze – I felt hung over, helpless, confused – down right depressed. We, my husband and I, joked about moving to Canada, as many of you did. But instead of run away and leave the health our country, our children’s country, to the hands of the next administration it’s time to stand up – do something. Michelle Obama was on the right track with the exercise and healthy eating initiatives. But, you can pretty much guarantee the Trump administration won’t continue the efforts. So we need to take matters in to our own hands.
Raise awareness for women issues and that we are not to be compared to a Barbie doll and valued based on our appearance.
Help change the way Americans view and value health. A healthy body is beautiful – regardless of size or shape. You can have cellulite and run a marathon – AND – you can have barbie doll like proportions and have high blood pressure and heart disease.
The Embrace documentary opened my eyes. I knew about the epidemic of negative body image and obsession with appearance, it effects us ALL, but especially women and girls. As I left the theater and drove home that night I thought about the 200 or so women that sat and watched it with me. Did they see the same thing I did? Were they impacted and inspired to change their thoughts or behaviors? I hope so…but I doubt it. Really, let’s be honest. Taking a stand is not easy or comfortable… neither is change. But it’s necessary. I made a vow to myself and my children and my clients, family, friends, and classes – that starting that minute, as I drove home in the dark, I would encourage and inspire HEALTHY body image. I have a great opportunity and as they say – with it comes great responsibility. For me that means living, teaching, coaching and posting that a balanced life including exercise and eating well is the key to a healthy body and mind – not a certain size, weight or shape. Let’s Embrace and encourage each other, especially the women in our life, to love and appreciate their body for the wonderful things it can do – run, swim, lift, dance, bear and care for children. Appreciate that good food nourishes our body is not a tool for control or deprivation. Being healthy in body and mind is the way to get the most out of life, not fitting into a certain dress size or a wrinkle free complexion.
Watch the Embrace documentary – find a screening near you at the website. If you can’t find one near you, host one. Let me know what you thought? Did it open your eyes, change the way you think and speak to yourself and others?