The Ideal Body
First Published in The Times of India
Hold your guns! I hear some triggers going off!
What did those words make you feel... ‘THE IDEAL BODY’?
Did you cringe? Did you roll your eyes? Have you had enough of the subject and now you don’t care any more? Or are you preening, blessed with a rock-star body? Are you side-stepping with ‘it’s what’s inside that matters… who cares about the outside!’ Or are you admittedly a work-in-progress?
Wherever you’re at, the point here is, STEREOTYPES DON’T CARRY THE ANSWER, NOR DOES RATIFYING AN UNHEALTHY SIZE AND CALLING IT COOL.
First, this article isn’t vague commentary, leading nowhere. Having helped numerous people in healing mind-body issues, coming from an educated background in holistic medicine, and conferring with numerous health experts, this is an informed perspective. This article champions YOUR cause; WE ARE BATTLING TO DISSOLVE THE FOG OF DENIAL, HELPLESSNESS, INSECURITIES AND MISINFORMATION SURROUNDING YOU.
I DO believe in radical self-acceptance and self-love. I DO see your beauty, no matter your body and facial specifications. I DO see the energy you bring to the world.
But what I’m here to shed light on is – although there is no one single ‘IDEAL’ in your physical appearance - there IS something known as a ‘HEALTHY RANGE’. And if you sit there denying it, not working towards your health- you’re missing out on the well-being, energy, potential and beauty that your presence can offer.
Let me explain. Take a look at these pictures…
The ‘safe’ body fat percentage for women is between 10%-33%. For men, 8%-25%.
Ripped body-builders and athletes tend to be around the 10% range, while the average person is towards 25%. Above 30%, obesity issues begin, which, as we all know, is a forerunner and risk-factor to 80% of chronic illnesses, including hormonal imbalances like thyroid and pcod, heart issues, diabetes, fatigue, psychological disturbances, musculoskeletal problems and several more. Health also takes a plunge below 10% body fat. It’s not just physical health, but the chemical imbalances created, along with societal pressure, can lead to severe mental and emotional trauma. Even if it hasn’t showed up yet, it will, at some point, if you’re ignoring the signs your weight is flashing at you! In simple words, your mind, body and spirit – none perform at the efficiency level that they are meant to – if you are either overweight or underweight.
The best range that can keep you in peak mind-body healthy is 14% – 28% body fat.
Anything in this range is healthy, and of course beautiful. Whether you aim to be more towards ‘athletic and sexy’, or choose to keep some meat on – ‘curvy and delicious’ – or even ‘athletic and curvy’ (Hey! Feel free with the permutations and combinations ), here’s a high-five for you – you’re on the right path!
However, a word for those outside the edges of the healthy spectrum. WAKE UP, AND CHOOSE HEALTH! Whether you are AWARE that you need to work towards change but struggling to shift your habits, or you have comfortably parked yourself in denial pretending everything’s OK… here’s a gentle nudge to remind you that YOU ARE A FORCE OF POWER AND BEAUTY. You can help your mind and body perform at much better levels than now – that can transform your life and the lives of others in your world. A healthy transformation WILL nourish every aspect of your life – your self-confidence, energy levels, your relationships, your career and finances. You will have a clearer mind, a stronger heart and a more vibrant spirit. THIS IS SOMETHING WORTH WORKING FOR.
If you believe in unnatural skinniness – stop shrivelling yourself. Especially figure athletes and show-biz folk – although your work may sometimes call for it, living below 14% body fat has health effects on you, especially women, who require more fat than men, not only for essential cellular activity but for reproductive and hormonal health as well.
On the other end of the spectrum, If you believe being overweight doesn’t affect the quality of your life, think again. You are loveable as you are, no doubt, you have your own gifts for the world. But what if I told you, you are SITTING ON AND CHOKING your full potential, and whatever success you have had, you were originally destined for that multiplied by 100?! Unclog your blocks, so you may receive the full gift of life, and better show up for the world.
Personally speaking, I’ve been through this entire healthy spectrum of weight. Starting out on the plumper side, turning into a strength and conditioning coach for athletes, leading wellness programs for women from all backgrounds – I have shed several skins and emerged with different bodies over the last 12 years- having explored everything from chiselled and ripped to a more easy-maintenance, healthy form. And my key learning has been this:
YOU ARE NOT MADE OF GRANITE. CHANGING THE SHAPE OF YOUR BODY IS NOT ONLY DO-ABLE, BUT IS EASY ENOUGH, WITH COMMITMENT AND GOOD GUIDANCE. So enjoy exploring different shapes and sizes, and see which best fits your soul. But choose health first! Because health, happiness and beauty go hand-in-hand!