Ester Marsh column: Love and accept your body

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2022

Especially since the weather is finally getting warmer, the shorts and tanks and bathing suits are coming out. Love your body and accept what your family and God gave you. You cannot expect to be in tip-top shape when you are taking better care of your car than you do your body. Eating unhealthy, not exercising and expecting to be in your best shape sets you up for disappointment. However, exercising and eating healthy will get you there to a certain point.

I meet so many people who are so unhappy with their body. That you want to continue to better yourself, I can completely understand. Actually hating your body, well that’s something I struggled with too when I was young. I was always very muscular, and especially 40 years ago, clothing for girls was not made for wide muscular shoulders, small waist and a strong muscular butt and legs! Shopping for clothes was a nightmare for me. At one point, I had such a distorted image of my body that I struggled with an eating disorder in my late teens and early 20s.

Everybody has a certain body type that has been passed on to them through family genetics. Even when your parents and siblings don’t have that shape, most of the time when you go back in your family tree that particular shape will “pop up” somewhere in your family’s past. Someone with wide hips might want to make their hips smaller but when you feel your hips, and you feel bones, there is no way you can make that part smaller.

Don’t get discouraged. There are some things you can work on to make your body appear more symmetrical. One thing you are not able to do is to spot reduce when working out. Especially when you are dealing with bone structure but even dealing with fat, just because you are working that part out does not mean you are losing fat/weight in that particular area. So sitting on the ab cruncher all day long is not making the abs smaller or the fat disappear.

A total body workout focusing on problem areas, enhancing other parts, lots of cardio and a healthy eating lifestyle will get you on your way to lose the unwanted fat and hopefully the shape you want. In my almost 40 years of being in fitness, I have seen magical body changes.

Through working out with weights, you can change the size of your muscles and the appearance of your symmetry.

Typically, to make the changes such as having bigger shoulders or making wide hips appear narrower, you need to have a body building program for the upper body. That means heavy weights, low reps and   a base to start with to get the body ready for rigorous exercise. Higher reps and lower weight will do that. It will prepare your tendons and muscles for the heavier workout. And this does not happen in one day or one week.

Have a fitness trainer assist you with a weight lifting program. Add cardio most days of the week, and abs whenever it works out for you. I know what you’re thinking, this is a lot of work! But hard work and perseverance can get you the symmetry you want considering what your family heritage and God gave you. And don’t forget to love yourself no matter what!

Ester Marsh is health and fitness director of the JF Hurley Family YMCA.