There is a phrase we hear everywhere, all the time. That phrase is ‘getting in shape.’ There is usually a ‘have to’, ‘going to’, ‘should’, or ‘try to’ in front of it. There is commonly a silent ‘but’ statement behind it as to why you can’t or won’t. Most of us believe that we are ‘out of shape’, or the wrong shape. It is very commonly the reason sited when I ask why someone has come to work with me.
What does it even mean? How do we define ‘in shape’? If you’re a geek like me, you look it up in the online idiom dictionary. This revealed the definition to mean not a physical shape, per say, but rather a state of readiness (read fitness). It is a state of being, not a form.
But is that what most of us mean when we say it? Health, wellness, fitness is more defined and focused on the literal shape of our bodies than ever before. And when people say it to me, there is usually a gesture that goes along with it – a sweeping hand indicating their entire body or section of body, or the grabbing, pinching, or jiggling of some body part. There is a strong indication that the person’s fitness is visual and self-evident. When I ask them how we will know when we’ve achieved the goal of ‘getting in shape’, overwhelmingly the response is the literal shape and size of their body. Lose X pounds, X inches, X clothing sizes. Flat abs, small butt, tight butt, and higher butt. No more jiggle in the arms, the butt, the gut, the thighs. The list goes on and on, but has nothing to do with fitness as readiness. The only readiness we seem to be training for is a photo shoot or beauty pageant.
So I say to you: Let’s work less ON our bodies, and more IN them.
Let’s make getting in shape an action, not a form.
And I have a suggestion for your first action.
The Body Image Movement is an inspiring organization begun by the courageous Taryn Brumfitt, founded on the belief that your body is not an ornament, it’s the vehicle to your dreams. BIM believes that everyone has the right to love and embrace their body, regardless of shape, size, ethnicity or ability. Their crusade is to help free us from the notion that our worth can be seen and judged from the outside, and I believe it is a desperately necessary message.
Embrace, a movie created by Brumfitt and BIM is a social impact documentary that explores the issue of body image. The project has been supported by nearly 9000 Kickstarter pledgers who responded to a fundraising trailer released in 2014, which has now had over 25 million internet views. And we residents of Minnesota have the opportunity to see it on Monday, March 6 at 7:30 pm! The screening is taking place at the Rosedale Center Cinemas in Saint Paul, and I am inviting you. Yes, you! You and everyone you know.
Join us! Visit http://gathr.us/screening/19456 to reserve your tickets!