Growing up, many millennial women were exposed to a specific message about their bodies. We were told that thin was better, that our worth was tied to our appearance, and that fitness was only worth pursuing if it made us look good in a swimsuit. This message was pervasive in our culture, from the movies we watched to the advertising we consumed. It’s no wonder that so many of us have struggled to find a healthy relationship with our bodies and with fitness.
Thankfully, there’s a new message emerging. Women like Lizzo and Tess Holiday are showcasing the beauty and power of diverse bodies. They’re showing us that it’s possible to be happy and healthy at any size, and that fitness is about so much more than appearance. In this blog post, let’s explore what this new message means for millennial women, and how we can embrace sustainable fitness for ourselves and our families.
What is sustainable fitness?
Let’s start by defining sustainable fitness. This is an approach that prioritizes long-term health and wellness over short-term results or aesthetics. It means choosing workouts that feel good and energize us, rather than punishing ourselves with intense exercise we dread. It means feeding our bodies nourishing foods that sustain us, rather than restricting or limiting ourselves. And it means being kind and compassionate to our bodies, rather than constantly beating ourselves up for not looking a certain way.
Sustainable fitness is important for millennial women for a few reasons. First, it’s the key to long-term health and happiness. We know that exercise and healthy eating are essential for preventing chronic diseases, improving mood and mental health, and maintaining energy and vitality as we age. When we take care of our bodies from a place of self-love and self-care, we’re investing in our own well-being. Many of us are entering the “sandwiched” era of our lives. The time in which we will be simultaneously caring for our growing children and aging parents. We will need to be strong and healthy.
Second, sustainable fitness can help us model healthy habits for our families. When our children see us prioritizing movement and nourishment for the sake of feeling good, rather than looking a certain way, they’re more likely to adopt those values themselves. This is especially important in a world where body shaming and diet culture are still so prevalent. We can break the cycle by showing our children that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that health is about so much more than what we see in the mirror.
Third, embracing sustainable fitness can help us find peace with our bodies as they are. When we focus on how we want to feel, rather than how we want to look, we’re more likely to accept and appreciate our bodies as they are. We’re less likely to compare ourselves to others or feel shame about our appearance. This can be a powerful antidote to the toxic messages so many of us received in our formative years. I will admit that I struggle with this one. I do have a certain way that I want to look, and I get bummed out when I don’t look that way. Here, I am just learning to have self-compassion while I try to undo the years of lies I was told about what bodies are “supposed” to look like. I’ll get to the right mindset eventually.
How to embrace sustainable fitness?
So, how can we embrace sustainable fitness in our own lives? Here are a few ideas:
Find movement you enjoy
Try different types of exercise until you find something that feels fun and energizing. This could be anything from yoga to hiking to dancing. When you enjoy exercise, you’re more likely to stick with it long-term.
Nourish your body
Focus on feeding your body whole, nourishing foods that make you feel good. Avoid fad diets or restrictive eating, which can be harmful to both physical and mental health.
Be kind to your body
Practice self-compassion and challenge negative self-talk. Treat your body the way you would treat a beloved friend or family member.
Focus on non-scale victories
Celebrate progress in things like strength, endurance, flexibility, and mood, rather than solely focusing on weight or appearance.
By embracing sustainable fitness, we can reclaim our bodies and our health. We can show our families and communities that wellness is about so much more than appearance. And we can find a sense of peace and self-love that is truly transformative.
Millennial women have been sold a lie about fitness and bodies for too long. We’ve been told that we’re only valuable if we look a certain way, and that fitness is only worth pursuing if it leads to a certain body type. But we’re finally waking up to the truth: that fitness is about feeling good, nourishing our bodies, and taking care of ourselves for the long term.
By embracing sustainable fitness, we can find a sense of peace and self-love that is truly transformative. We can break the cycle of body shaming and diet culture, and model healthy habits for our families. We can invest in our own health and happiness, and show the world that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. So, let’s commit to loving ourselves as we are, and pursuing sustainable fitness for all the right reasons.