Here’s the thing: Too many women are idolizing skinny and super ripped bodies. But the actual effort it takes to actually LOOK like one of these bodies is 120% effort all the time. So this life style is obviously very limited to few energetic, eager, and committed individuals with the actual time it takes to be physically active. Trainers, coaches, yoga instructors, and pilates teachers all have intense workout schedules that are not only consistent but very frequent and long. In addition they eat like champs. They abide by their cheat days and try to eat the highest quality and freshest foods. Once you realize that every human being is actually capable of these achieving this, it’s amazing to watch your own transformation unfold before your eyes, to whatever size you really want.
This picture has been floating around the internet which actually gives you a realistic idea of body fat percentage and how our own bodies fit within that:
Unfortunately in America, we see too much of the bottom row and not enough of the top and middle. Now not everyone WANTS to look like the first or second image and that is O.K.! In fact, too little body fat can be dangerous as well. Our bodies like having some fat, it helps to lubricate joints and support healthy internal organs. Ideal images are going to be those 2-5 because those images are where body fat is just enough to support healthy functioning and not too much to inhibit a healthy body. Image 5 is just the high end of average, so you should probably start eating a little better but you are safe from being considered overweight. And while some men and women obsess about looking like image 1, you need to look at the consequences of being too skinny. For men, you are going to see body functions not working so well. Men who drop this low for body-building competitions are dehydrated and suffer from cramping and decreased brain activity. Your body does need fuel! As for women, say goodbye to your periods and hello to not being able to have children.
But how does one get to those 2, 3, 4 and 5 images? By living healthy, happy and active lives and getting plenty of good sleep, good movement and good food. Keep in mind that individual body shapes are going to differ based on bone length, size and where we genetically settle any fat. Pay attention though because advertising, television and some of your more ignorant Facebook friends are selling you propaganda. So do your own research. And here is how, super simple actually:
1. Ask yourself, how much time do you WANT to devote to actual physical being? 30 minutes everyday? 30 minutes once a week? Or do you like the 2 hour full on training 6 days a week with a yoga session on day 7? The average individual only has about 30-45 minutes they really want to spend training per day, for just the weekdays. So expect to not look like image 1, 2 or 3!
2. Ask yourself, how often do you want to eat? This is a huge indicator. What you eat directly affects how you look. Do you rarely eat, forget to or just force yourself not to? Or are you needing to eat 10 times a day to satiate hunger? Ideally, you want to eat somewhere between 4-6 times a day and make your meals small and simple. That way you allow your metabolism to work at a proper level and your digestion system can have an easier time processing the food you give to it, making it more efficient and effective.
3. What do you want to eat? Do you crave sugar? Do you have to eat highly processed, GMO-laden foods? Or are you an Organic Pescetarian, eat Paleo/Primal, or Macrobiotic? If you want all the sugar, fats, alcohols, or can’t bear to part with any of the processed foods, you are not going to look like the first 3 images! I rarely drink, limit my sugar intake and eat organic, fresh foods all day long. At image 3, I obviously allow myself a bit of a cheating but I feel good about my body! Use your addictions as rewards for eating healthy! Turn to the better foods and you may find your palate is interested in dark chocolate or a strawberry-blueberry-coconut-water-hemp-seed smoothie. Maybe throw some spinach in the blender and see how well you can hide your greens! It is easy to eat healthy, once you get into the habit of it.
Hopefully this helps you get a sense of what body type you currently are and where you would like to see yourself go. So get out there, learn new movements, new foods to eat, and new ways to battle illness. And maybe, just maybe you will reach your goals sooner than you expected!