What can Pilates do for me? Can it get rid of my stomach, tighten my butt, slim my thighs?
When you are in the movement, fitness, Pilates business these types of questions can always be expected. So expected that I, like many teachers have some standard responses where I tell potential new students, “of course it can”, followed by professional explanations of how the exercise method if done regularly can produce just the results they are looking for. But I have to tell you…the longer I teach the harder it is for me to stomach saying these lines. Not because they are wrong, but because I really don’t believe the value in learning a movement practice like Pilates is in the results they are asking about.
I’ve been where these women who are asking me these questions have been…looking for the next best thing to help them get into a smaller pair of jeans or look how you think society wants you to look. I quit obsessing about weight, worrying about what size I am or trying to fit into society’s ideals a long time ago. I do think my career as a movement instructor was instrumental in that process in my life and I’m forever grateful for that. I have an eight year old daughter and even though I try to be a great positive body image role model for her, I already am finding that I can’t shield her from thinking she needs to be “skinnier”, go on a diet, or even “lose her stomach” (yes she’s 8 and actually mentioned to me she just wanted to lose a little bit of her stomach???!) and it drives me crazy! What I really want more than anything is for her to appreciate the amazing body she has, stay active and healthy by moving in ways she loves and not fall into feeling like she is always trying to “fix herself” to meet other people’s standards.
So when someone asks me one of those questions about losing an inch from their waist….my heart kind of aches because I can tell that they are still in that place of “trying to fix themselves” or get their body to some “ideal place” that doesn’t exist. Here’s what I want to say when someone asks me about losing their stomach, tightening their butt, or slimming their thighs:
The answer of course is yes — any regular movement program combined with healthy eating can accomplish those things…but is that really what you want? You are beautiful and have a body that lets you live life. It might not be perfect or what you see as ideal, but the reality is it is amazing!
If you make it a priority to take care of it by moving in ways you enjoy you will be happier, healthier, and you’ll learn to love yourself for the wonderful you that you are!
You will feel better in your body and I think that’s what most people are really looking for. What if you looked at learning Pilates as a way to do something good for your body, a way to grow yourself as a person as you learn more about how your body moves, and a health tool that helps you feel better in your body and happier in your life?