We are so much more

**Disclosure: As a female, I am torn with starting the conversation with this week’s post or leaving everything as it currently seems to be.  I am a huge advocate for lifting other women up, celebrating the success of other women and making room for everyone.  If we want females to succeed in leadership positions, we need to acknowledge that we can always step aside and make room for one more and work together to create a powerful movement.  However, after being asked my opinion on a few females within social media, I will do my best to not tear down but rather focus on how the story can be rewritten.**

How often have we (females) been told that we need to quiet down, bite our tongue instead of speak our mind, or better yet, slim down?  Diet fads and workout trends are all about the “beach bod”, which apparently means we need to lose a few.  Girls and women in today’s society have engrained within their own minds that ‘if only they had smaller legs/ lost a few pounds/ fit into the size 4 instead of 6” that they would be worth more.  Apparently feeling good and being confident within our own bodies is worthless.

We all have different goals.  Sometimes weight loss is the main focus but let’s remember there are many other ways to achieve success.  Perhaps squatting your body weight, doing a pull up, or running your fastest 5km will become the norm as an indicator of your health and fitness status.  I am worried that we have become a society that can only salute those who ‘look good’ in skimpy bikinis or sports bras and spandex online – although, I’m still not sure who’s eyes we are trying to look good for.  With social media playing a large factor in people’s confidence, we are constantly seeking validation from others.

Insert Kayla Itsines.  This girl has over 4 million people following her on Instagram.  Crazy, I know!  She has created a community of women, supporting one another to get fit.  I love it. I commend her for empowering others and instilling confidence within those who may not have been able to find it any other way. So, what is my problem with her?  I personally have a hard time following Kayla online.  In fact, I don’t follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or like her Facebook page, and cringe when I see others do.  We have girls and women posing their before and after photos online using hashtags such as #kaylasarmy, once again seeking validation from others.  I truly believe there is a time and place for before and after shots, showing progress and truly seeing results, rather than stepping on a scale to show improvement.  However, in my personal opinion, Kayla’s army is encouraging that smaller is better and the only way to get the beach body we are all apparently seeking.  I have seen girls who appear to be roughly my size in their before photos looking SIGNIFICANTLY underweight in their after photos.  It worries me. 

Cue Rachel Fackoury.  I don’t have 4 million followers, so of course Kayla is doing something right by creating a community.  She has developed a platform that I aspire to have one day to share my information and connect with so many other women.  I am learning from how she has created her brand to gain insight into how to do it right.  What I hope separates us is our approach.  The first step to feeling great about ourselves is confidence.  Yes, it doesn’t come overnight but we need to begin being confident within ourselves before seeking validation from the outside world.  We have to love and accept ourselves at our current point, before moving forward and trying to change our appearance. I’ve said it before and I am saying it again, we need to work on self-love, because if it isn’t there, we can change all we want but we will always be searching for more. 

Be strong.  Lift heavy things.  Lose 10 pounds.  Have curves.  Have legs so muscular that there is certainly no room for a thigh gap.  Find abs because you have worked your body hard and deserve them, not from starving yourself or spending hours doing cardio to slim down.  Be whoever you want to be.  Love yourself and the body that comes with it, every day, regardless of how much cake you’ve had, how little you’ve run, or how many hours you’ve spent on the couch.  Love yourself and commend yourself when you eat well and make time for a healthy active break from your busy life.  

Ladies, we are worth so much more than any after photo can ever give justice.  We are beautiful, smart, strong, but most of all, we need to love ourselves so deeply that regardless of what comes our way, we can handle it.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

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