"Do it or die trying!" "Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going!" "Crawling is acceptable, falling is acceptable, puking is acceptable, crying is acceptable, blood is acceptable, pain is acceptable; quitting is not".
That kind of "fitspiration" messages circulate all over the web. In the visual version, they are generally accompanied by images of body parts of very slim and fit women. Sometimes the whole woman is seen - maybe bent after a hard run.
These kinds of words are supposed to inspire and motivate us to push harder. We are weak and lazy, we have to push ever more, hard and with no excuses.
Some of them also give reasoning why we are supposed to do it - "because I don't want to be anyone's fat ex" or "so you prove those who said you can't" or "because I prefer to be covered in sweat than in clothes at the beach".
To me, they are terrifying.
I am a pretty average hiking woman. I’m 40 with some aches and pains. I puff and sweat but I put one leg in front of the other.
And when I look back to see how much space I covered I’m a freaking hero in my mind. I am happy. I am proud. I feel good about myself, no matter if objectively or in comparison to some others hikers it was a big achievement or not.
I try not to feel the need to do something spectacular or push myself too hard. I don’t feel I have no right to call myself a hiker or write a blog about hiking just because I am no big-miles trekker or never completed a climb up a famous mountain.
I know it's easier for me as an ordinary person with no pressure from coaches or media to push myself beyond what is healthy or safe. But there is a bit of trying to do what others (stronger, younger, fitter etc.) do and feeling a bit like a failure when I can't. It's there.
But I try to fight it and be proud of what I can do.
And I would love to inspire others to do the same. To be proud and satisfied with whatever our bodies give us. To take lovely and carrying care of our precious bodies. Let’s be our bodies’ best friends.
Support and encourage – but be happy with whatever it can do, no matter if it went for the planned 100% or not. Would we say to our best friend as we saw her collapsing with exhaustion, “you are a failure, move, move, move!”?
No, we would hug her, tell her she was amazing, give her water and tell her to rest.
The best thing we can do is to love ourselves. Do what brings us happiness; what makes us proud of ourselves.
A woman who goes out fully loving her own body and being proud of her achievements is a freaking miracle. It’s a wonder. She’s a rebel and a queen. She doesn’t need to endanger her body to achieve it, she doesn’t have to lie and pretend she did more than in reality to feel proud and good about herself.