What it Means to Take Up Space

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.41.43 AMTaking up Space means recognizing your right to exist, have opinions, speak without apologizing, pursue your own goals, and have a body. Any kind of body. A body you don’t apologize for. A body you don’t feel ashamed of. A body you get to dress and decorate and shape and display and use exactly the way YOU want to.

That’s it. You can stop reading now.

But, if you’re still reading, Taking up Space means YOU get to choose. You get to choose what to eat. You get to choose how (and if) to exercise. You get to choose who to love. You get to choose who to have sex with. You get to choose how big or small to be. You get to choose what to think. You get to choose what to say. You get to choose what to wear. You get to choose how to behave. You get to choose. You get to choose. You get to choose.

This may all seem obvious, on the surface. But from day one we are inundated with messages about the appropriate way to exist. The appropriate way to have a body. The appropriate things to do with our bodies. The appropriate way to behave. The appropriate way to love. The appropriate people to have sex with. The appropriate amount to eat. The appropriate THINGS to eat. The appropriate amount to weigh. The appropriate way to feel. The appropriate way to speak. The appropriate opinions to have.

And those messages become so deeply ingrained that we don’t realize they are messages from outside. We don’t recognize that they are cultural demands that we are expected to bow to. We just accept them as The Way Things Are. The Way WE Are.

Taking up Space is the gradual recognition of the way we’ve been conditioned. The gradual discovery of our own voice, our own opinions, our own preferences for our bodies. And then the expression of those things. The defiant acceptance of our natural healthy bodies as perfectly NORMAL. The rejection of the expectation of culture that we change ourselves to conform to it’s demands. It’s not just about our bodies, although our bodies are the most outwardly visible manifestation of Taking Up Space. We stop trying to shrink into nothingness in the physical world. We allow our bodies to be the size of strength, and health, and power.

But we also raise our voices to fill a room. We remain confident in our choices even when others try to undermine us. We cultivate within ourselves the strength and resilience to meet and conquer challenges and doubt. We decide what is right for ourselves. We decide. We decide. We decide.

Call it the patriarchy. Call it the suffocating weight of cultural expectation. Call it the overbearing voices of shame. Whatever it is that is holding you back: Taking Up Space means recognizing it. Taking Up Space means rejecting it. Taking Up Space means replacing it. Taking up Space means overthrowing it. Taking Up Space means becoming wholly YOU. Choosing. Deciding. Acting in ways that honor YOUR goals and preferences and opinions.

And that is what Taking Up Space, The Coaching Program is here for. To teach you how to recognize what isn’t working. To reject the expectations of others. To replace them with your own goals and preferences. And to cultivate the internal resilience and strength to keep doing it even when the dirty rotten fingers of doubt and discouragement start to creep in.

Taking Up Space isn’t a diet program or exercise routine. Those things are a dime a dozen all over the internet. It’s something BETTER. It will give you the tools to change the behaviors holding you back from your goals. It will build your self-reliance and self-confidence, so that you’ll know when something isn’t serving you or supporting your goals. It’ll give you the perspective to spot people and programs that are designed to keep you spinning your wheels. It’ll teach you why true, lasting change only happens when it comes from a place of self-love, not self-loathing.

Taking Up Space teaches you how to be a badass. And once you know that, nothing can stop you.

Why Body Positive Fitness MUST Be Evidence Based

Untitled drawing-9The Body Positive Fitness movement is growing. More and more fitness professionals are realizing the value of this approach to coaching, and more and more individuals are being drawn into fitness for the first time by this brand new way of approaching fitness and health. The focus on quality of life rather than appearance is changing the climate of the fitness industry, and it is exciting!

There’s something really important I have to say about it though.

 

We MUST leave the pseudoscience and woo behind. That bullshit has to stay with the old fitness industry. The Body Positive Fitness industry we’re building needs to be evidence based, and STAY evidence based.

What pseudoscience do you mean, Amber you may ask? There is so much. Oh my god, so much. I can’t list everything, so I’ll share some of the most egregious examples. Fake diseases like adrenal fatigue, candida overgrowth, “broken metabolism”, and leaky gut. Most supplements. All MLM products. Fad diets. So. Many. Fad. Diets.

WHY do we need to leave the pseudoscience behind? Don’t some people like it? Doesn’t it work sometimes, even if it’s not supported by science? Placebo is powerful after all! What’s the harm, Amber? 

The HARM is that when we use these non-evidence based products, diets and practices on our clients, we are essentially experimenting on them.

And experimenting on our clients is disrespectful. Come on people! Stop experimenting on your clients!

RESPECT for the bodies of our clients is the core value of Body Positive Fitness. We put that respect into action by grounding our coaching in proven, established, evidence-based practices. We do NOT subject our clients’ bodies to unproven techniques and fantasy-based diets. I mean, best case scenario, nothing will happen. Your client spends a lot of their money on magical pills and potions and nothing happens. Worst case scenario, though, is that you hurt or even kill someone by making unproven, fantasy-based recommendations.

Do you know what drives the use of unproven techniques and fantasy based diets? Ego. The ego of a coach who thinks they know more than the kinesiologists, doctors, dietitians  and scientists who develop standards of practice and nutritional guidelines. The opposite of evidence-based coaching is EGO-driven coaching. I see it all around me, douche-bros who belittle women for having the wrong kind of body, coaches who use crystals and herbs to treat their clients’ adrenal fatigue, gurus who tell their fans that they got their abs from isagenix (and not the combination of genetics and calorie restriction that is reality), trainers promoting paleo or low carb or vegan diets…EGO. These coaches are basing their recommendations on EGO. Not evidence.

Sometimes a person will come to my page or group with some beliefs they’ve gotten from a coach or trainer – beliefs that are inaccurate. That carbs are evil for instance, or that paleo is the ideal human diet, or that they have adrenal fatigue, or that they need to buy shakeology to succeed, etc. And they sort of look foolish to the people in the group, because they believe the bullshit they are spouting. But it’s not really their fault. Someone they looked up to, someone they PAID, taught them bullshit. Someone they trusted with their health taught them bullshit. THAT is what Body Positive Fitness MUST LEAVE BEHIND.

People trust us with their health. We can’t teach them bullshit. We can’t make them look foolish. Let ‘professionals’ from the OLD fitness industry do that to their clients. Not us. No.

Body Positive Fitness Professionals need to stick to evidence-based practices. It is the way we put Body Positivity into practice. We respect our clients’ bodies by not subjecting them to unproven methodology. We respect our clients’ bodies by basing our coaching practices on evidence, not our egos. We respect out clients’ bodies by not gambling their health on something that might or might not be true, by not experimenting on them with new fad diets and supplements.

Join the revolution. Leave the bullshit behind. Whether you are a fitness professional or an individual getting active for the first time, there is a place for you in the Body Positive Fitness movement.  And some day, there will be enough of us to completely shut down the old, ugly, shame and ego based fitness industry of before, and all there will be will be the awesome evidence and JOY based fitness industry of the future.

 

Image courtesy of Real Body Stock Fitness Photos