What do they call it when you come across the same theme in different, unrelated spheres of your life? Kismet? Serendipity? I don’t know. Suffice to say, this has been on my mind since last week:
The Whitney I knew, despite her success and worldwide fame, still wondered: Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like me?
It was the burden that made her great . . .
Whitney if you could hear me now I would tell you, you weren’t just good enough — you were great. You sang the whole damn song without a band. You made the picture what it was.
A lot of leading men could have played my part, a lot of guys could have filled that role, but you, Whitney, I truly believed that you were the only one who that could have played Rachel Marin at that time. [Applause.]
That was from Kevin Costner’s eulogy of Whitney Houston. You may not be a fan of her music, you may shake your head at the tabloid stories about her marriage to Bobby Brown, but her voice was something you just can’t deny. Critics called her The Voice. There was no other. Pack it up kids, the competition is over. She was born with a rare gift. It inspired admiration from the most talented singers of my generation — Mariah, Christina, Celine, Alicia… the list goes on. Her singing was beautiful. SHE was beautiful.
And she still thought she wasn’t good enough. Not pretty enough. And that people wouldn’t like her.
Kevin Costner though that her self-doubt made her great. I think it made her vulnerable. Because Whitney reportedly battled drug addiction and eating disorders (though she denied both) throughout her life. And you have to wonder… if she wasn’t such a prominent figure in such a competitive, ruthless industry, if she didn’t struggle with crushing self-doubt, would she have treated her body differently?
We’ll never know.
It’s a wonderful thing when you see people taking steps to get healthy. But there can be a dark side to that as well — those of us who teach classes feel a lot of pressure to be perfect. We know we’re being watched. We know we’re being measured. It’s tempting to punish our bodies; to berate them for what they are and rail against what they are not. I’ll be honest — fear of not measuring up has held me back from pushing forward with my Group Fitness at Home. I was supposed to launch in November. And I’ve gone nowhere. Because I’m crippled by the fears: Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like me?
You’ll notice I seldom talk about calorie intake on my blog and how much is enough etc. etc. I’ve learned that many people who are attracted to fitness struggle with body issues or disordered eating and things like posting meal plans or calorie targets — even posting pictures of “aspirational” women’s bodies — can be extremely triggering to some people (meaning that it can trigger destructive cycles with food and exercise). I’m certainly not an expert on eating disorders and I hope it doesn’t sound like I suffer from one, because I don’t. I just see enough out there in the fitness world that I think… huh, maybe this isn’t ALL healthy. Since it’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I figured why not raise awareness?
For those of you who coach sports, there’s information for you. It’s not necessarily spot on for those of us who see a student once or twice a week, but it’s not a bad place to start.
Dr. Bratman, who went through orthorexia, states “I pursued wellness through healthy eating for years, but gradually I began to sense that something was going wrong. The poetry of my life was disappearing. My ability to carry on normal conversations was hindered by intrusive thoughts of food. The need to obtain meals free of meat, fat, and artificial chemicals had put nearly all social forms of eating beyond my reach. I was lonely and obsessed. … I found it terribly difficult to free myself. I had been seduced by righteous eating. The problem of my life’s meaning had been transferred inexorably to food, and I could not reclaim it.” (Source: www.orthorexia.com)
And info on improving your body image.
10 “Will-Powers” for Improving Body Image
1. Twice a day, everyday, I WILL ask myself: “Am I benefiting from focusing on what I believe
are the flaws in my body weight or shape?”
2. I WILL treat my body with respect and kindness. I will feed it, keep it active, and listen to
its needs. I will remember that my body is the vehicle that will carry me to my dreams!
3. I WILL surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself and my
abilities. When I am around people and things that support me and make me feel good, I will be less
likely to base my self-esteem on the way my body looks.
4. I WILL practice taking people seriously for what they say, feel, and do. Not for
how slender, or “well put together” they appear.
5. I WILL list 5-10 good qualities that I have, such as understanding,
intelligence, or creativity. I will repeat these to myself whenever I start to feel
bad about my body.
6. I WILL refuse to wear clothes that are uncomfortable or that I do not
like but wear simply because they divert attention from my weight or shape.
I will wear clothes that are comfortable and that make me feel comfortable
in my body.
7. I WILL participate in activities that I enjoy, even if they call
attention to my weight and shape. I will constantly remind myself that I
deserve to do things I enjoy, like dancing, swimming, etc., no matter
what my shape or size is!
8. I WILL exercise for the joy of feeling my body move and grow stronger. I
will not exercise simply to lose weight, purge fat from my body, or to “makeup” for calories I have eaten.
9. I WILL spend less and less time in front of mirrors—especially when they are
making me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious about my body.
10. I WILL think of three reasons why it is ridiculous for me to believe that thinner people are
happier or ‘better.” I will repeat these reasons to myself whenever I feel the urge to compare my
body shape to someone.
I will choose to take care of myself and my body!
Lots of information out there. I think most of the people reading this blog don’t need this info. We’re probably all totally fine with food and just a bit neurotic about our bodies. I still think it’s important to know, though, that it’s possible for concern about our health and wanting to be attractive to become unhealthy or can affect others unhealthily.
So poke around on this site and feel free to share anything you found particularly helpful below (there’s a TON of info there).