He & She Eat Clean | Healthy Recipes & Workout Plans

Body Image Ramblings...

Body ImageWhitney Carlson10 Comments
be who you are. not who the world wants you to be.

I posted this on my personal Facebook page and I debated all weekend whether or not I should share it here as well. I’m going to go ahead and do it…plus, two posts in one day is like unheard of for me. ;-) Check out our post on what your fitness journey has in common with MLB players (even if you don't like baseball!).

First, I want to make something clear. I'm not saying that it's bad to lose weight or try to lean out. It's the persuit of perfection once someone is already lean and/or their ideal weight, size, look, energy level, etc. to keep losing or trying to lose weight for the wrong reasons. I also (obviously) think that everyone should strive to live a healthy lifestyle. I know I've mentioned some of this stuff before in my body image posts (here, here, and here) but felt the need to share it again because of what I'm going through in my life right now.

So, here's the post I shared on my personal profile (you can find our He and She Eat Clean page here):

I’ve had a few people ask me why I don’t post very much fitness stuff on this (personal) page anymore. This is probably going to turn into a one-million-word “answer” but here it goes…I should have said something years ago.

Honestly, I’m kind of pulled in a million directions, mentally. If you follow He and She Eat Clean or our WHAM Podcast, you probably already know this but I’m kind of strange. I am NOT a people pleaser and I never have been. I also NEVER had body image issues growing up. Sure, I wasn’t very confident (but that was mainly because I was like a size 6 with size F chest as a 14 year old) but I didn’t hate myself and I never, ever critiqued my body. Now that’s all I do. News Flash – I’m not a size 2 anymore, I haven’t been in years and I was only that size for maybe 2 weeks. But mentally I think that’s the picture that people have of me so I feel like a fraud that I’m not. I won’t even wear our shirts to the gym and many people don’t even know what I do. I know this may sound crazy to some of you but that’s how hard this is mentally to me.

I’ll have people tell me that I have their “dream body” or some “dream” body part but it doesn’t matter – that isn’t what I see. Lately, because of some very stressful months, the pants I’ve worn for the last 4 years are a little tighter than they used to be and it’s like the end of the world. This all goes back to the mental struggle of I’m NOT a people pleaser, I actually am quite the opposite and I’m very introverted. This industry is more than I can take sometimes. I can’t handle the endless selfies, butt pics, ab pics, PICTURES WITH COFFEE…seriously, I can’t handle it. I am still passionate about fitness but not the type of online fitness we see. I could make A LOTTTTTTTT more money (sell more workout plans, etc) if I “dieted down” to post half naked pictures online, shared a ton of pictures, pushed a ton of supplements, and basically fell into the online fitness world but I WILL NOT DO IT. I would rather be climbing mountains.

Call me crazy, but before entering this “fitness world” I didn’t even know that I should be ashamed of my stretch marks (yes, I have stretch marks on my hips and I don’t even have kids…), I didn’t know what a thigh gap was, I didn’t know that you should be able to see my abs, I didn’t know that I should worry about what size I wore.

Just know that some of the people you see who you think have your dream body or “look very healthy” are actually some of the unhealthiest people you will EVER meet. Not just physically but also mentally. This picture we now see of “health” is so distorted. You don’t need to have less than 15% body fat, weigh 120 pounds, be a size 0, etc. These competitors and fitness models go months or even years without having a period because their body fat is so low. Then their lives spiral out of control and they have medical issues caused from extreme dieting and/or exercising. I’m not a doctor, I’m only a personal trainer, but I get a TON of emails from people looking for help after competing or even just trying to get really lean for no reason and now they have messed up their metabolism. I get emails from people leaner/smaller than me asking for MY help to make them even smaller. It breaks my heart.

All of this to say, PLEASE if you have a healthy relationship with food and exercise DO NOT CHANGE. If you are not overweight or unhealthy, you DO NOT need to lose weight. I can tell you, once you start down this pursuit of perfection path it is very hard to get off. We are constantly bombarded from social media and the media with images of what we think we should look like. Whether you think you do or not, you compare yourself to them. And if you have kids, especially girls, PLEASE do not let them see you weigh yourself or comment about your body in front of them.

So, I still run our website (sometimes, haha) but I’m also incorporating a lot more of our minimalism, finance, and hiking related posts. I’m still passionate about health and fitness but I’m passionate about SENSIBLE health and fitness. Do you want a piece of pizza? EAT IT, just not every single day. Do you want to skip the gym and lay on the couch to watch TV? DO IT, just not every single day. Your mental health is more important than some body you are chasing. You also do NOT have to earn your food. You are allowed to eat even if you didn’t workout. Again, you ARE allowed to eat even if you didn’t workout. There is so much more to life than counting calories, macros, points, reps, weight, etc.

I realize there are much bigger problems in the world but do you realize how many females (and males) are walking around with mental health and/or body image issues? Who appear perfectly fine on the outside? It was never a struggle I understood until going through it. I always thought it was something that you could “get over” but now I know how hard it is. And I’m very thankful that I haven’t had body image issues my entire life like most people.

Do you remember how simple life was before social media? I could not imagine having kids grow up in this world. I really just want to move to the middle of nowhere Montana and live in a tiny house.

“Be who you are. Not who the world wants you to be.”
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

The hard part isn't exercise or nutrition. It's your mind.
"She woke up every morning with the option of being anyone she wished. How beautiful it was that she always chose herself" - Tyler Kent White