Body Image & Nutrition

Lately I have been following a local female chef who is extremely knowledgeable in many different subject areas. I was blessed to be added to one of her social media groups by a friend. This chef is also very passionate about her beliefs and opinions and has no problem expressing them openly. Recently she has expressed on several occasions how disappointed she is in what people will do to their bodies to get them to look a certain way, but yet they proclaim to be health guru's of nutrition. What they are doing to their bodies and minds to look a certain way is not healthy in her opinion and I must admit I agree with her. Although she did not elaborate for the most part exactly what they were doing to achieve a certain look, I personally coming from the fitness world and having a poor body image most of my life have a very good idea what they were up to. These are not practices we should be doing on ourselves let alone promoting them on others. The consequences from making poor health choices usually catch up with us in the most evil way, disease!. She believes the purpose of food is to enjoy and nourish our bodies, I agree wholeheartedly with her.

I can not tell you exactly how old I was when I decided I did not like the way my face and body looked nor when I started working hard to change that physically and mentally. I can not tell you why I started feeling that way either. Was it the magazines, the television commercials, the movie stars, someone hurting my feelings,peer pressure, puberty, a role model or maybe even a relative? Lack of a solid relationship with my higher power, Jesus Christ? I do know that most of my adult life and even still into my senior years, I am often trying to make myself look better from an aesthetic standpoint rather than accepting who I am naturally. It is a never enough type mentality. I can blame others for when my self esteem is low or I can take the responsibility myself. I have chosen to take on the responsibility myself. Along with the faith and confidence I have in God, daily I promote health and well being for myself and others. The throttle has been pretty steady now for many years. Helping others to achieve their health and fitness goals or regain their health back is definitely my A game right now. Staying on track for myself both physically and mentally is a daily quest.

That journey has had its up and downs no doubt when working on myself. After years and years of taking paths that were only temporary fixes and hard on my body, I have learnt that being ten pounds heavier and not ripped is okay and healthy. I have accepted the truth that aging can be and is for my husband and I a beautiful time in our lives. Aging definitely has a sense of freedom. I have figured out that a steady flow of whole foods, moderate exercise, a detox regimen, proper rest, low stress, a functional medicine doctor, meditation, my faith, avoiding as many chemicals as possible, staying hydrated with clean water, bathing in filtered water, breathing cleaner air and good supplements are what a human body thrives on. Periods of time with no carbs, little to no fats and other crazy ideas to enhance the body image are only one night stands and not worth the risks.

You see what I would have to do to be ten pounds lighter and ripped would require depriving myself of certain foods and the feeling of joy that comes with them even to the point of unhealthiness. I would have to over exercise. I would have to take certain supplements that may contain dangerous synthetic ingredients such as fat burners or energy enhancers. The anabolic steroid cycle is also available for those that want to retain their muscle mass and lose body fat(ripped). I can honestly say although I have been guilty of some crazy dieting plans such as carb depletion, I have never taken fat burners or steroids, hence the reason why when I competed in body building, I could never place higher than fourth just at a state level. While all the other girls were dieting down and still retaining large muscle mass, I was loosing as muscle mass as body fat when I dieted down. I could get ripped, but my muscles were small compared to the top 3! When I switched to powerlifting, I kicked arse as I did not have to diet down to make my weight class and was strong as heck, much of it natural. I did much better in powerlifting at a national level because I could be myself and I was able to make healthy nutritious decisions. When I look back at the photos, I looked great but what was even more important was I felt great. I was healthy and winning. The same happened in CrossFit. I could be myself, eat nutritiously and come out fine. I actually had one coach who told me to go home and eat! Gain some muscle Michelle. I did that over 20 pounds of muscle with a little fat. The boarder line over training only starts when you decide you are GOING to the world CrossFit games. Another story folks. That story is in my recent book, Through The Eyes Of A Master, by Michelle V. Barnes.

So what's my point in this article? I just want people to know that all the craziness that surrounds body image is really not an answer to good health optimally by any means. It may look good and the compliments may make you feel good, BUT what kind of a toll is this taking on your body including your brain? Find a path that you can stay on that promotes your well being and a good role model to others. The last thing you want to teach your children or others is their body is not good enough. I once heard a mother call her one year old daughter a garbage can because she ate better than her older brother. I piped in and looked at the child and said that is awesome you are a good eater. ( Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, Luke 12:35)I later heard the Father call her a garbage dump for the same reason. I do not see how being compared to a garbage can or a garbage dump is positive. Knowing these parents and their hearts, I would say it was not their intent to diminish their daughters self esteem. Be careful, rather than breaking a child down and lowering their self esteem, take the same opportunities and build their self esteem up. They are little sponges between the ages of 1-4, absorbing everything bestowed upon them. Every human is worth it, I promise! The photograph coupled with this article is my husband and my Grandson, Gabe. We positively role modeled him again this summer for a whole month! I would not trade any of that for anything. Until we meet again, enjoy the food and drink God has blessed us with. Nourish your body, mind, soul and spirit with what he has given us.

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Peace and Love,