Over the last few months I've received several emails, all from women, which had an apologetic, almost guilty, tone about wanting to shed fat and sculpt their bodies.
It's usually along the lines of "I know I'm not supposed to want to exercise to get fat off my body because that's not very empowering, but I can't help wanting to get rid of this excess fat. Can you help?"
Last week Sophie on her fantastic BePrettyFit blog posted a review of my book. In her intro she says she's noticed, "a bit of a backlash against exercising or eating to change the way you look".
A couple of other people have mentioned similar things to me too.
So, here's my point of view on this...
There is nothing wrong with exercising (or making healthy changes to your diet) with the aim of getting lean and, as Sophie puts it "wanting to feel confident in your own skin". Nothing wrong with that at all.
People can be happy (and healthy) while having large amounts of fat on their bodies. Of course they can. But, I can't say I've ever met anyone who got fitter and shed excess fat who said it made them less happy with their body.
Any exercise programme is best approached with a positive attitude about yourself as you are. Wanting to shed excess fat doesn't mean you don't like yourself or your body.
In fact, putting time and effort into getting into great physical condition usually improves self-esteem and body confidence.
I'm totally biased, of course, but I have to say that the type of training I recommend for fat loss makes for an incredibly empowering journey to a better body.
You might notice I haven't talked about weight in this post yet. (Here's why if you're wondering.) But I am going to now because...
I've worked with dozens of women to help them lose body fat and sculpt their bodies (like my client Becca, who regularly blogs about her progress here).
Being alongside them on that road is about inspiring as it gets. With every weight plate they add to their bars and with every extra burpee, push up or other exercise progression they manage that they couldn't previously, these women stand a little taller, talk a little bolder and hold their heads that bit higher.
This, alongside demonstrating love and respect for their bodies by choosing to nourish them with quality foods, results in the excess fat disappearing.
And then something really exciting happens - as the fat is stripped away the muscles they've been sculpting are revealed on their firm sculpted bodies.
And that makes them look and feel fit, healthy, lean and strong. Because they are fit, healthy, lean and strong.
Believe me, it feels awesome.
Again, I'm not saying you can't feel awesome without having that kind of body. Not at all. But, I don't care what anyone says, it does enhance your life.
I don't think anyone should have to feel ashamed about wanting to strive towards that.
You own your body and if you want to do what it takes to get it into great condition that's something you should be proud of. If, for you, that means losing some body fat (to a healthy level, obviously) and you want to use exercise to help you do that in the healthiest most sustainable way, please don't let other people's judgements stop you.
Whatever you do, there will always be those who want to criticise or impose their views on you, no matter how positive you are about it. But that's about them. We'd never get anything done if we let other people hold us back would we?
So please, go get lean and fit if that's what you want, and feel free to feel awesome about it.
Ready to join the revolution? My book, The Fat Burn Revolution is available from Amazon now.
You're most welcome to join the Fat Burn Revolution Facebook group where you can chat to the 500+ members who are enjoying following the 12 week fat fitness programme the book outlines.
There's a lot more I'd like to say on this subject, I couldn't possibly cover all angles here and it's definitely something I'll come back to in future posts .
This is a sensitive subject and it does seem that there are few people around right now looking to attack the fitness industry for putting pressure on women to be "thin" or to eat a "perfect" diet. That's certainly not something I'm out to do, neither are most of the fitness professionals I come across (regardless of any differences of opinions we may have on strategies). There are problems with eating disorders, body dysmorphia and related issues in our society. There are also what have been widely described as epidemics of obesity, diabetes and many more lifestyle-related health problems. The approach to fat loss which I take promotes a healthy attitude to diet and a positive body image in order to help people live long, happy, healthy, full and active lives.
I've seen the fantastic improvements my fat loss fitness programmes and others have made to virtually all aspects of many people's lives now. I just think it would be such a shame if some people were to miss out on those wonderful benefits due to fear that some other people wouldn't like it.
This post was previously published on my blog.