Sex & Shame In Fitness Marketing Isn't Empowering. What You Can Do To Make Peace.
Yesterday, I had posted an article in my free Facebook coaching group from
Girls Gone Strong called Why Fat Shaming Doesn’t Promote Health and What You Can Do Instead. Then, I explained it had been 2 years since I stopped having my clients weigh themselves. I had seen dozens of women step on that scale and feel like they had failed themselves.
To me this is a shameful practice and sets the wrong tone when anyone starts a fitness program of any kind. There are other methods of tracking progress. If stepping on a scale is an emotional trigger, then it isn’t going to be an empowering experience.
The responses to this post were mixed. Some found it surprising that the fitness industry uses shame in their marketing. And sales pitches, others shared stories of their experiences. One explained, a friend of hers, who wasn’t overweight wanted to tone up. She spoke with a trainer who took her measurements including weight and BMI then left the room. When he returned, threw down 2 giant cans of Crisco and told her it was the amount of fat she needed to lose. She left in tears.
The truth of the matter is sex sells everything. A large part of getting you to buy into the fitness lifestyle, sex and shame is together to dig that knife in deep. You’re told that your body isn’t good enough. You’re told that if you want to attract a mate or remain appealing to your partner, you have to look a certain way. You have to have that tight booty and nice flat abs to be fit.
Hop onto Instagram and there is no shortage of shame induced marketing. Women dressed in next too nothing, working out, telling you they can help you make your dreams come true. Buy that miracle program and next week, you’ll have the body of every horny teenage boy's dreams.
Getting your pre-baby body back is my absolute favorite (insert sarcasm here). I was scrolling through my instafeed and there she was. A mom of 3 at 3-months postpartum. She was wearing nothing but short shorts and a sports bra. She was proud that she had her pre-baby body back. She was able to achieve this because committed to her health. A big fat UNFOLLOW! She looked fantastic. Not going to lie. But not the message to be sending to sleep deprived and stressed out moms.
You rarely see fitness being marketed as a means for function or general health. What you will see is all kinds of hot people with perfectly sculpted bodies selling fitness.
I work with many women who are intimidated by fitness because all they see is one body type. The sexy fitness model. They see a coach pushing their clients way past the point of exertion. Because only that classifies is a good workout. Many will see this as unachievable.
Being realistic about where you’re at today needs to be what drives your goal. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get started on a fitness program to build healthy habits. Flexibility and low impact programs are just as effective, if not more than something high high-impact and restrictive. In Post-Baby Rehab, you will not only heal your body post-pregnancy but have the flexibility to workout on your time. There is not a begin or start date, so if you happen to take a week off just because, you can simply pick up where you left off.
Looks like this sexy shame in fitness marketing is here to stay, at least for a while. But as long as it’s one type of body that’s marketed in fitness, the fitness industry is a huge disservice to us all.
So this leads me to this question. Is #fitspo the replacement for shame in fitness?
What can you do go to feel motivated instead of shamed into fitness? Here are some strategies for you to put into practice starting now.
1. Look for fit pros on social media that align with your values. If you find certain trainers or coaches make you feel less than, they're not the right fit for you. A good coach or trainer will never use shame or guilt to get you to buy their products. They will provide education, encouragement, and support.
2. Join a community of women who are not interested in the typical fitness and diet culture. Surrounding yourself in a positive atmosphere with various body types and fitness interests. This will be a safe place to reach out and look for inspiration. Check out my free Facebook coaching group called Vibrant and Balanced in Motherhood.
Here, we talk about practical tools you can use every day to stay active and healthy. It can be difficult to find balance in motherhood, so we support each other in this crazy life. You will learn to love your body just the way it is and how you can function well. Not how to lose 20 pounds in 21 days.
3. When you have negative thoughts about your body, reframe them. This isn't dismissing your feelings, it's reframing them. For example, You catch yourself saying: I hate my belly." Replace it with "This is my belly today". It's a technique that neutralizes your negative thoughts about your body. It will give them zero power over you.
4. If a gym environment isn't a comfortable place for you, my Online Coaching or Online Group Coaching programs are great options. You can workout in an environment that is comfortable and safe for you. You are able to work with a fitness professional like myself and you will learn valuable skills. These will be skills that you can use everyday and will ensure long-term success.
You have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to your body. There are ways that you can escape the typical shame in fitness marketing. Find a peaceful place within yourself in a positive as and supportive environment. That my friend is how you will have long term success.
Love your baby body,