As I was scrolling through Facebook on Friday evening, this image of “sexy abs” was in my news feed.
How many of us see images like this and think “I wish my abs would look like this” or “I work-out, eat right, and my abs still don’t look like that?” or “I have to get better looking abs!”
Why are we so obsessed with what our abs look like? Do they define us as a person? Does having a six-pack of abs make us healthier than those who do not have defined abs? No, it doesn’t.
The obsession with developing abs or seeing a six pack (in my opinion) needs to stop – abs aren’t all that.
We All Have Abs
We all have abdominal muscles.
Photo cred: American Council on Exercise
The oblique muscles, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis are all considered part of the abdominal wall. And we all have these muscles. So when we say “we don’t have abs”, it’s not really a correct statement.
I’m a fitness professional, a runner, a pesco-vegetarian, and I will tell you my abs do not look like this. Fitness Magazine would say I’m not doing the right abdominal exercises or I am eating too many carbohydrates. Fitness Magazine tells me if you just do these ab moves for 2 weeks, you will have a firm, flat abdominal region.
I am not here to defend my abs or yours. I am here to encourage you to stop letting images like this determine how we feel and treat our bodies. Stop letting images like this define what being fit looks like.
Attaining a six-pack is not the ultimate way of showing that you are committed to your fitness and health. Having fit and strong abs does matter but not in the same way that this image portrays.
I have had a six-pack of abs. They were the ideal abs that seemed very “picture worthy”. Most people would see my abs and think I was healthy, happy, and fit.
What did my abs prove? My muscles were strong and I was disciplined when it came to my diet. That’s about it. They didn’t prove that I was a good wife, or in good health, or that I was happy.
In reality I was starving myself, had a stomach ulcer, and felt stressed. Physically I may have looked like the cover of Fitness Magazine but mentally I was struggling.
Now I will never have abs like I did a few years ago. Not because of excuses or because I am not doing the right ab exercises. But because I have had a baby and a few abdominal surgeries that caused diastasis recti and extra skin that has stuck around. And because I have learned that my body should not be defined by what my abs look like.
Don’t measure your body, your fitness, your weight loss, or your abs against anyone else, especially not the cover of Fitness Magazine. That feeds insecurity, low self-esteem, weight gain, and mental road blocks.
Be PROUD of your body, what it has accomplished, and what it allows you to do. Your body is more than what your abs look like.
Your health is more than just any physical feature. Your value as a person is far more important than what you can do on the gym floor. Believe in yourself and uphold this mindset when you are setting your fitness goals that help you be a better mom/dad/sister/brother. Focus on goals that help you be a healthier version of yourself!