So, last week, one of my friends from college shared a video on Facebook. The video was a Kickstarter project for an engineering toy for young girls. The premise is that girls are often discouraged from STEM fields at a young age, particularly because there are few engineering/spatial reasoning toys aimed for young girls. This is sadly somewhat true, as only about 20% (give or take) of engineers are women.
It’s a very cute idea, but it also really struck a chord with me. Around the 2:20 mark in the video, she says, “As much as she likes dress up and princess stuff…there’s so much more to her than that.” This rings so true.
Now, this statement is directed towards little girls, but it applies to our adult life as well, and I think sometimes we forget it, especially in our healthy living journeys.
Society is screaming at us from all directions about what women should be like. There is a certain body types expected, a particular career path, life choices that should be made, interests and hobbies that we are expected to have. But why shouldn’t we be free to, as the video says, “explore every opportunity to become anything [we] want to be”?
In a healthy living world, what does this mean?
Instead of choosing a diet that will give you leanest body because everyone says you should be thin, choose the one that makes you feel the most vibrant every day. But you’ll have to explore that for yourself and make some mistakes along the way! But if you really want that bowl of ice cream…you shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it (unless you’re lactose intolerant, maybe).
If you love to run because it makes you feel free and alive, you should do it! Who cares if it’s not the best exercise to burn fat or gives you giant quads? If lifting heavy or doing CrossFit makes you feel strong and empowered, have at it! Some people like to dress up like princesses, some people love to crawl around in the mud. There is nothing wrong with that.
It’s clear from the bombardment of media that we encounter every day that there is no one right way to live a healthy lifestyle. One day they say eggs will kill us, the next, they’re not so bad. Last week, running long distances was the road to early death, today they say ultra-marathoners will live forever. Let’s be clear; no one lives forever.
So, you can be a kale-munching, kombucha-drinking, tabata workout junkie if you’d like. But don’t do it because it’s the latest fitness trend; that will always change. You are meant to find joy in life and there is no joy in trying to conform yourself to an unattainable mold. You are worth so much more than that. Don’t forget it!