Yesterday I had the privilege of attending SHAPE magazine’s Meet & Tweet event — a gathering of 100 top Chicago influencers.
I’ve been to a lot of blogging events, but this was one of the few where I walked away feeling inspired and appreciative of the time I spent and the message I heard. I didn’t realize that SHAPE magazine had become so body-positive and empowering since the last time I read it.
I wanted to take a little time to go over the structure and ESPECIALLY share with you some of the key takeaways from the event. Please note that this event was free and we were in no way asked to write about it, but I felt like there were a lot of messages that would help others.
The event was held in a beautiful space in the South Loop that I didn’t even know existed.
Tons of snack and drink options and I made sure to help myself to all the delicious Yogi teas — one of my favorite brands.
I was able to catch up with friends —
And finally connected with some in person! Sidenote: I have met so many amazing people through Instagram, but I don’t always get to interact with them in person. This event was amazing because I was able to put names with faces like my friend Uyen:
Finally, there were several panels, all of which I was able to take something away from:
- Love My SHAPE
- Be the Boss of Your Body
- Movers & Shapers
- Ask the Editors
Here are some of the things that stood out to me the most:
1. Go slow
A lot of times trying to shift to a healthier lifestyle can become very black and white. It’s either ALL GREENS AND ALL EXERCISE or none. It’s feeling guilty for sleeping in when your plan was to work out. There can be a lot of shame involved if you fall off track (self-induced shame, mind you — something we’ll come to in a bit).
If you’re trying to jump on the health train, go slow. Immediately changing everything about your eating and fitness routine almost guarantees that it won’t be sustainable. Start small. If you want to eat fried chicken, put it on a bed of greens first. Working out one day is better than no days. Eating one healthy meal a day is better than no healthy meals.
Start making those small changes and it will get easier to build on them over time.
2. Give yourself permission & own your decisions
A lot of times we induce shame by telling ourselves we “should” be doing something. We “should” be eating better. We “should” be able to do an entire workout without modifications. In fact, I wrote a whole post about this in the early days of the blog.
The thing about “should” is that it’s based on outside influences. We think we “should” be doing something based on social constructs and what others may think. The truth is, if we simply own our decisions, there’s nothing to feel bad about.
Here’s an example — last week I went to Crossfit. The workout involved a lot of double unders (a jump rope move where you bring the rope under you twice with one jump). Now I’ve never done a double under in my life. Instead of anxiously wondering if I should try to force myself to do a move I’ve never done or if they would think less of me if I didn’t do it, I simply made the decision that I was going to do single jumps. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought (they didn’t care) — this was my decision and my workout and I was happy with it.
3. Find what works for YOU
I loved this. I’ve also written about this subject as well, emphasizing that the best workout is one that you will do. Don’t do something because you think you should or because everyone else is doing it, do it because YOU want to. The more you force yourself to do workouts you hate, the less fun exercise will be.
I loved listening to the panelists because they had all been there. They had all had their own journeys that brought them to where they were today. It’s always a process to find what you love, but once you do, stick with it!
4. Acknowledge guilt, move on, and learn from it
Absolutely no one is perfect. Women tend to be especially hard on themselves. One of the panelists, Jen Widerstrom, a coach from The Biggest Loser, gave some amazing advice about learning from our mistakes.
The example she gave involved eating something we wished we hadn’t. That time we finished off a whole pint of ice cream or ate a ton of cookie dough. Such behaviors can immediately bring guilt, which can result in further actions that bring shame such as continuing to eat foods we normally wouldn’t. When we encounter such situations, here’s some advice:
- Acknowledge the guilt. Understand what you’re feeling.
- Let it go. The ice cream has been eaten and it’s done.
- LEARN from the situation — what prompted that action? What can you learn about your behavior?
- Use that information when a similar event comes up again.
Eating has ups and downs. Learn what you can from those downs and use that to influence your behavior in the future. There will always be cookie dough, just next time remember how it made you feel when you ate that amount and maybe eat a little less.
This event was so full of body positivity and self-acceptance. Every panelist was real and spoke about their own struggles with balance, mindfulness, and overall health. It made them relatable, which allowed me to resonate with a lot of the messages.
I’m definitely planning on reading more of SHAPE magazine to see the changes they’ve made about embracing every woman as she is. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
Thanks for Amanda for letting me think out loud.
- Do you read SHAPE magazine?
- Which one of these takeaways do you resonate most with?