Monday, March 14, 2011

health, fitness, beauty and self-image

ok, so if any of you know me personally, you already know how passionate i am about health and fitness. how important it is to eat smart and to exercise. but more importantly, how it is vital as a women, in today's society, to cultivate a healthy awareness of self. we are bombarded daily with media that says we are not skinny enough or smart enough or pretty enough or perfect enough. as young women struggle to find out who they are, they often are overwhelmed with the idea that they have to be what the media says is pretty in order to be worth anything.

i've been on a very personal journey in regards to this topic. i struggled, like most young girls, with my self esteem and my weight. i allowed my emotions to rule my eating and my self worth suffered because of it. thankfully i had the love and support of my family, caring for me and loving me for me, regardless of what i thought of myself and this love and support carried me through. looking at me now, most people find it hard to believe that my petit 5'3" frame once carried more than 180lbs. this was years ago... but it still happened. at one point i wore a size 16. i did loose a little bit of weight after reaching that size, but i plateaued for several years at an average of 160 and a size 10-12. i learned, even at this weight (which wasn't my ideal) to love my self, regardless. my self worth wasn't dependent on my size. i loved being me. this was life-changing. i found happiness is the service i offered others, in the friendships i had cultivated, in the beauty i had within.

and then, after finding peace with my appearance i realized that there was so much more that i could do- for me. i decided to really take my life in my own hands. to not make any excuses and to work for what i wanted. i worked my way down to a petite size 4 and have basically maintained it ever since. as i have grown through this pregnancy i have felt awesome as i've maintained my regular workout regime of going to the gym a minimum of 3x a week. some weeks i make it more than just 3x. other weeks, it's harder. but i feel healthy and firm and fit and i know that my baby is benefiting from the care and concern i have for my body.

since i feel so passionately about this topic, i wanted to introduce you all to an amazing and incredible woman that also believes in the power of self and works hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Christina Lowe was this year's Miss Utah. she's an inspiring woman, an incredible friend, super talented and well- very fit. her health is important to her and she knows what it takes to work hard at that gym. she's been one of my all-time favorite gym partners. a week or so ago, she agreed to let me take a few pictures of her and then she answered some questions on this topic. this is such a prevalent topic for women everywhere and so i really felt it was important to address.


Q: In your experience as Miss Utah, how has your view on health and fitness changed?
I have always viewed health and fitness as an important component in my life. I feel better when I eat healthy and stay active. It has changed by serving as Miss Utah because there is more incentive to live a healthier lifestyle. That has allowed me to learn to be more disciplined.

Q: If you could offer advice to women, both young and old, regarding their health and fitness, what would you hope that they would learn/implement into their lives and overall health?
The key to fitness and nutrition is balance. You have to live with your body your whole life. There should be balance in eating and exercise. That is the struggle. Finding that balance amidst the changing circumstances of your life is difficult. However, if one truly cares about their health. They will create the circumstances around them that allow for healthy living. I get on kicks where I am super healthy and then kicks where I eat whatever I want. I have tried to just find a good medium with realistic expectations of myself. When I balance nutrition and exercise I always feel better.

Q: Who (if any) are your women roll model(s)?
Princess Diana has always been a role model to me. She was a women of great love and compassion, yet she was strong and fashionable. It is a neat dynamic to be able to have. There aren't very many good role models for women though. Most women in the media don't know who they are and struggle with loving themselves.

Q: What's your typical workout regime?
I try to do weights three times a week and cardio two times a week. Sometimes, if I miss a day, I will do a half hour of both. I like to go to classes to break it up as well. I love to cycle, and do yoga once in a while as well. For cardio, I usually get on the ARC machines that really work your legs. I also run a lot. When it comes to weights, there are all sorts of things from lunges, pilates, push-ups, to mountain climbers and lots of things I don't know the names for.

Q: What's your favorite snack/indulgence?
Anything with peanut butter and chocolate is the indulgence problem that will be the death of me. For snacks, I like apples and peanut butter.

Q: Do you feel that the pressures society places on young women and their physical characteristics is realistic? Any advice regarding how to handle/view the pressures and expectations from the media?
I absolutely believe that they are unrealistic. If you think about all of the things that society expects women to fix about their appearance it is unreal. There is a product for any part of a woman's, and man's body for that matter. Skin, hair, nails, muscles, chest, feet, you name it there is a product to fix it or make it "better". It is unrealistic to feel like one should have to have all of these products all of the time to keep them looking "good enough". Besides, it is expensive at that! But the media wouldn't sell it if women didn't buy into it so it is neither here nor there. Women should take care of themselves, but not let it get to the extreme in my opinion.

6 comments:

  1. what a great post! very inspiring :)

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  2. love this post! This is definitely something I think most women struggle with. At least.. I know I sure do!

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  3. thank you for posting this! i love it.

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  4. Thank you so much for doing this post! I am about to get married and for whatever reason, in the last 7 months i gained 6lbs, so back to the gym i went feeling like i have to look "perfect" for the big day, and honeymoon. I've always been into nutrition and active lifestyle, but i realize its turned into being more about looks right now. this post was really encouraging to focus on whats important about staying active -- the health factor!

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  5. This is such an inspiring post! thank you. I think everyone should read it. You're so amazing :]

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