Fit for All: Common Myths About 'Perfect' Bodies. Hutton Health

Fit for All: Common Myths About 'Perfect' Bodies

18th June 2024

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When you look at a picture of yourself, do you focus on the smile on your face, the emotion of the moment captured, and the joy of the experience – the place or the people you were with, or do you look for your perceived imperfections; perhaps you have a double chin, an unflattering angle, a hair out of place or your clothes weren’t fitting the way you hoped.

From my own experience as well as many of the clients I have worked with, I know the high expectations that we place on ourselves to have the ‘perfect body’. It can be all consuming and can destroy self-confidence, affect enjoyment in social settings and remove the pleasure of activities like eating, clothes shopping and being seen in photos.

Many of my clients share the way they avoid looking at their reflection in the mirror, and their avoidance of being in photos, ashamed of what they see when they look at themselves. This negative body image and emotion toward your body can have horrendous effects on confidence and self-esteem.

It is time to normalise and accept some important myths about ‘perfect bodies’ that women place on themselves:

A woman’s body should have no 'wobbly bits'.

Our bodies are meant to have curves and softness, and these traits are part of what makes us human.

Women's bodies have wobbly bits because they naturally store fat in different areas to support reproductive health and hormonal balance. These fat deposits serve as energy reserves during times of increased demand and provide insulation and protection for vital organs.

It's important to remember that everyone's body is unique, and aiming to eliminate every 'wobble' is not only unrealistic but also unnecessary. Embracing our natural shapes and focusing on overall health and wellbeing is a much more rewarding approach.

A woman’s body should have no 'wobbly bits'.

It is an unrealistic expectation that you could transform your body to rid yourself of any 'wobbles'.

It can be physically impossible to achieve a body that doesn’t wobble, and an unwavering determination to appear this way can set you up for disappointment and a negative body image.

As we age, several physiological changes occur that can lead to increased "wobbling" or changes in body composition and firmness. Here are some key reasons:

  1. Loss of Muscle Mass: As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia. Muscle helps keep our bodies firm and toned, so a decrease in muscle mass can lead to more noticeable wobbling.
  2. Decreased Skin Elasticity: Aging skin loses collagen and elastin, proteins that give it firmness and elasticity. This loss causes the skin to sag and become less resilient, contributing to a wobblier appearance.
  3. Changes in Fat Distribution: Hormonal changes, particularly during menopause for women, can cause fat to redistribute in the body. This often leads to an increase in abdominal fat and changes in how fat is stored, which can contribute to more wobbling in certain areas.
  4. Metabolic Changes: Metabolism generally slows down with age, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. This can lead to increased body fat, especially in areas that are more prone to wobbling.
  5. Loss of Connective Tissue Strength: Connective tissues like ligaments and tendons lose strength and elasticity with age, which can contribute to a less firm and more wobbling appearance in the body.

Cellulite is not a normal part of a women’s body.

Cellulite refers to the dimpled or lumpy appearance of the skin, commonly found on the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen. It happens when fat pushes through the connective tissue under your skin, giving it that textured look.

I have had clients ask what the best exercises are to eliminate cellulite in various areas of their body. You can't target specific areas to reduce the appearance of cellulite because cellulite is influenced by factors beyond muscle tone, such as genetics and skin structure. While exercise can improve overall muscle tone and skin health, it doesn't selectively target cellulite, making spot reduction ineffective.

Cellulite is natural and a normal part of a women’s body.

There is a ‘perfect’ body shape and size.

Celebrate the beauty of diversity! No two bodies are identical; each possesses its own unique shape, curves, bumps, and lumps. Embrace the individuality of your body—those distinctive features make it yours and yours alone.

Genetic factors and hormonal fluctuations contribute to the distribution of fat, resulting in the characteristic curves and contours that make each woman's body unique.

The next time you catch yourself thinking ‘I wish I looked like…’, stop the thought without spending your time or energy validating the comparison.  Acknowledge a positive part of your body and remember all of the incredible things your body allows you to do.

There is a ‘perfect’ body shape and size.

REsist comparing yourself to others

Resist comparing yourself and your fitness and health journey to others.

Just as no 2 bodies are the same, no fitness or health journey will be the same.

Continuous comparison to others, both in person and on social media platforms, can instil in women the notion that their bodies fall short or are lesser, cultivating feelings of insecurity and discontent.

Every person’s journey has been individual; their health condition, hormone levels fitness level, genetic make-up, lifestyle, body composition and medical history being a few of the many factors that can affect a person’s body.

Holding unrealistic expectations to have a ‘perfect body’ often disregard the natural diversity of women's bodies and can lead to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction. The pressure to embody an idealised feminine physique can overshadow the importance of prioritising health and self-acceptance.

Download Hutton Health’s free goal setting workbook.

15 Health Goals Unrelated to Weight or Appearance

  1. Improved Cardiovascular Health

Improving your cardiovascular health reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.

  1. Increased Flexibility and Mobility

Focusing on your flexibility and mobility helps to prevent injuries, improves posture, and enhances overall movement efficiency, making daily activities easier. As we age, this is particularly important to maintain independence and pain-free movement.

  1. Enhanced Mental Health

Enhancing your mental health reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, improves mood, boosts self-esteem, and can enhance cognitive function.

  1. Better Sleep Quality

Improving the quality of your sleep enhances overall health, supports recovery and muscle repair, boosts immune function, and enhances mental clarity and productivity.

  1. Increased Strength and Muscle Endurance

Increased strength and muscle endurance enhances the ability to perform daily tasks, reduces the risk of injury, and supports overall functional fitness.

  1. Improved Balance and Coordination

Improving your balance and coordination reduces the risk of falls and related injuries, especially important as we age, and enhances athletic performance.

  1. Enhanced Immune Function

Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can boost the immune system, reducing the risk of infections and illnesses.

  1. Better Stress Management

Physical activity helps manage stress by releasing endorphins and improving overall mental resilience.

  1. Healthier Eating Habits

Positive changes to your eating habits Improves nutrient intake, supports overall health, enhances energy levels, and can prevent chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

  1. Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

Regular physical activity and healthy habits lower the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and osteoporosis.

  1. Improved Digestive Health

A balanced diet and regular exercise support a healthy digestive system, reducing issues like constipation and bloating.

  1. Enhanced Respiratory Function

Improvements to your lung capacity and efficiency make it easier to breathe and increasing overall endurance and performance.

  1. Increased Energy Levels

Regular physical activity boosts overall energy, reduces fatigue, and enhances productivity in daily tasks. As your energy level increases, your motivation to exercise, eat well, engage in social activities and productivity all improve!

  1. Better Hydration Habits

 Adequate hydration is essential for bodily functions, including temperature regulation, joint lubrication, and nutrient transport.

  1. Improved Social Connections

Engaging in group fitness activities or sports can enhance social interactions, reducing feelings of loneliness and improving overall wellbeing.

Finding a workout partner or hiring a trainer can keep you motivated through workouts if you prefer having additional support and encouragement to stick to your goals.

Find out more about the benefits of working with a health and fitness coach.

Hutton Health offers 4 online workouts each week and includes a supportive group of women in a community embarking on their health and fitness journey as part of the monthly membership.

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