Before you decide to jump to conclusions based on the title & possibly assume that I am going to push some kind of agenda where everyone has to accept everybody’s body no matter what because it is the “right” thing to do & assume that based on my generation, I am super sensitive to the world’s words. Let me begin by saying, as a fitness professional I handle body image in such a way that is sensitive due to the fact most of my clients are very sensitive when it comes to their own body type — but this does not mean I don’t tell people the honest truth, because clearly it is my job to help my clients achieve fit goals and feel good about themselves & the only way I can do so, is if they know where they stand physically — sometimes the truth hurts but it helps in the long run.
Being Blunt, Being Honest,
Nothing wrong with being blunt if the tone matches your feelings toward the subject & you choose your wording wisely, nothing wrong with being honest if it means you are trying to help and not bring someone down & being rude shouldn’t be a thing — because there are so many other options in how to tell someone how you feel about their body without being an asshole .. #sorrynotsorry
When it comes to commenting on another human’s body image, words are everything, and how you choose to use them should be taken into consideration (regardless if it is a compliment) because sometimes compliments come off somewhat over the top and make people feel just as uncomfortable as something someone would say that is rude or disrespectful — I would know because I have had compliments where I would have rather not have received it. I have also been on the other end of the spectrum where I unintentionally offended someone about their body at my place of work (a hard pill to swallow since I have a hard time with my own body, let alone would not go out of my way to make anyone feel out of place about their own) somehow my choice of words about myself made them feel some type of way about themselves & that is when I realized “damn! body-shaming doesn’t even have to be directly about someone, some people feel more offended when you say something negative about yourself & for some reason triggers them to feel some type of way about themselves. Due to that incident, I am way more cautious about my own commentary about my body around other people BUT in the same sentence, I do believe those same people need to take a step back and realize it isn’t always about them.. #truth
Your body, Your Business
It is true, your body is none of my business UNLESS you come to me for help — with that being said, my opinions, feelings and overall commentary stays to myself unless I am asked otherwise to share them. If the world chose to live by this philosophy, body-shaming wouldn’t be as abundant.
My Profession doesn’t qualify me to make comments in every situation.
I draw the line in my profession between saying something constructive and walking away from a situation and/or circumstance because it doesn’t require my knowledge or comment(s). More times have I had to walk away than debate with an individual on their body image or health/well-being. When I have clients put themselves down & talk negatively about their body, I usually change the subject or hone in on the exercise we are doing because it is outside of my scope of practice to be a psychologist and talk them through their mental health — I want to be supportive but I don’t want to dive too deep & end up in a bad situation — technically in my line of work; telling he and/or she is good looking, or has a nice body is unprofessional. Some trainers may feel differently about this, but I always find ways around a client’s negative attitude toward themselves by first listening and only listening (allowing them to vent their thoughts out loud) but then eventually I try to make the subject light and fluffy with comments about the weather or perhaps asking them about something that doesn’t cycle back to their body; such as family, work, the pets, or even talk about their form during an exercise so we can hone in the correct muscles. As a trainer and/or coach you have to learn to shield yourself (I will talk about this in a future post) because it can be mentally draining to take on so much negativity at once; especially when you have a full schedule and no breaks.
There is no one way fits all when it comes to deciding how to speak upon a person’s body image. People handle situations differently and react differently towards certain words and descriptions & sometimes even react when we talk about ourselves. It is always best to play it safe and be sensitive towards others — but it doesn’t mean you can’t be honest and share knowledge that could help someone — learning when to say something and how to say it is KEY, but also treating people as individuals and getting to know that person in order to make the right decisions about how one goes about addressing body weight and a person’s looks is also KEY.
2 thoughts on ““Body Shaming””
There is no right way to comment on someone’s body.
There is never a time to share “helpful information” that is actually going to be helpful, unless it has been specifically been asked for.
I appreciate that you have said you don’t comment unless you have been asked as a professional, and I wish more people did that. I think that even as a fitness professional it is important that weight and size are taken out of the equation (unless it is the weight on a bar) and fitness and other metrics are used to measure progress.
The world needs to accept everyone’s body is the way it is and every person in every shape of size of body has the right to exist, and not only that, they have the right to live how they want without the commentary and judgement of others!
Sorry it has taken awhile for me to comment back but yes, I understand your commentary 100 percent & I do agree.
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