How do you define the perfect physique?
A lot of people define it in terms of “having abs, bro.” Or getting to a certain weight and/or body fat percentage. And people all over the US beat themselves up day in and day out, trying to reach that “perfect physique.” Personally, I think that being healthy and having a body composition goal are admirable, but within context. What do I mean by that?
There are many people, both men and women, who believe that a perfect body will make them happy. According to researchers, there are 4 basic human needs that drive all of us at all times:
Many folks tie the notion of attaining a “perfect” body to satisfying those needs. It goes something like this…..”I believe that if I just could lose that last 10 pounds and get my abs to pop, then I’ll be admired and accepted by Mrs. X.” And this leads to the feeling that you’d feel secure in your identity as a fit, attractive, and healthy person.
The problem is that if you’re not already feeling secure in these things (accepted and loved as you currently are), then you’re NOT going to suddenly feel that way if or when your body looks a certain way. Even worse, a lot of people try crazy, restrictive diets that are made popular in the media and that end up being very unhealthy, which often leave you feeling isolated and disconnected. And if you start to go down that rat hole, trying to beat yourself into submission with constant self-critical thoughts, you’ll likely never reach the goals you so want to achieve.
Laura Shoenfeld recommends that before you start working on a physique goal, you should ask yourself the following:
- Do I have loving relationships with others (partners, friends, family, etc.) that are not going to change based on what my body looks like?
- Are my physique goals tied to my personal sense of value and worth?
- Can I accept and love myself RIGHT NOW before I start trying to change my body?
- Can I still be content with my life if my attempts to lose weight or lean out are unsuccessful?
- Am I willing to value my physical, mental, and spiritual health above reaching my physical appearance goals?
- Do I believe that I am beautiful and loved NOW, not 10/20/100 pounds from now?
The truth is that there is no magic that happens when you achieve a certain weight or body fat percentage. Maybe you get a quick hit of confidence but without a deeply rooted sense of self, it will be temporary. Why? We all age – both men and women. As you age, your body and face will change. When that happens, what will your self worth be based on?
Personally, I believe that having a strong, personal relationship with God is the only true way to find and feel that level of acceptance. But that’s just me and this isn’t an article on spirituality.
If you don’t have a relationship with God, the point is that you need to figure out where your self-worth as a person comes from, because if it comes from getting the perfect physique, that’s folly.
So before you start running 50 miles a week, while cutting calories to starvation level, do some serious reflection to find your self-worth, and make sure it’s rooted in something that is unchanging.
Remember, that finding true happiness and self-esteem needs to come from having a deep sense of unchangeable self worth and value. It doesn’t come from a number on a scale.