Naked Focus

As part of the outreach that we do for Body Positive Dance, I attend business networking groups.  This helps me connect with other like minded individuals and often acts as a support network. During these meetings everyone stands up and gives a 30 second introduction.  At one group a personal trainer stood up and said “I help people look better naked, and we all want that.”.

Happily several of the people I normally sit with groaned.  I was immediately annoyed – the idea of selling something based on the fear that you won’t look good enough when you are at your most vulnerable is disgusting to me.  Worse than that, though, is the fact that this guy has what would be considered the stereotypical ideal body.  When he says “we all want to look better naked” he includes himself and everyone with every size and shape of body.  Is he trying to say that no matter what we look like we’re still not happy with ourselves naked?  What a horrifying thought.

Then I saw a facebook post that showed a picture of a plastic replica of 5lbs of fat and a plastic replica of 5lbs of muscle.  The trainer said that she showed them to her students and that she was always happy at how disgusted they were as she yelled at her them to “WORK HARDER!”  Once again, motivating people by hating the way that they are now.  We can do better.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  people don’t take care of things that they don’t like, so trying to motivate people to treat their bodies better by making them dislike themselves today is a horrible idea and I wish people would stop doing it.

Unfortunately, we can’t control how people try to sell us things.  We can control what we choose to buy externally, and what we focus on internally.

I suggest that you come up with a little catch phrase that you use (either out loud or in your head) when someone tries to sell you something by trying to make you not like yourself.  My catch phrase is “that’s not about me, you can keep it”  So I hear a weight-loss commercial that says “Are you tired of unsightly blah blah blah”  and I think “That’s not about me, you can keep it”.  Pick whatever you want, but I think that it really helps to become aware of how people try to manipulate you so that you will buy that thing, and be prepared to actively deal with it.

Internally, I’m going to suggest that you’ll get more of whatever you focus on – either because focusing on it makes you notice it more, or because that’s what you’ll attract.  If you focus on things that are going wrong – those things will become bigger and more overwhelming, and I think you’re likely to get, or at least notice, more things going wrong.  If you focus on things you don’t like about your body, those things will start to seem worse in your mind and you’ll naturally be looking for things that are bad about your body.  So why not focus on what you like about yourself, why not be grateful for what your body can do.  If you need help, check out Love Your Body More in Three Simple Steps

And for the record, you look great naked.

9 thoughts on “Naked Focus

  1. Minor problem- I think that link you posted has a duplicate “Http” in it- it didn’t go to your older blog post until manual removed that from the URL.

    But yeah, I hate that whole “motivation through fear” tactic, in any job, anywhere, from news to physical training to religion- when you make people afraid, they retreat and entrench rather than moving forward boldly. It’s a terrible strategy and gets abusive really fast.

    1. You bring up a good point about how pervasive that kind of tactic is. Thanks for letting me know about the link, it’s fixed.

  2. Hi DWF,

    The link to your excellent “Love Your Body More” post is broken due to a missing : after the http.

    Thanks for this post!

  3. I just found your blog thru Eat the Damn Cake, and I love this post. I can’t stand to watch The Biggest Loser because of this exactly – Jillian Michaels thinks that the only way to “get through to somebody” is to insult them and basically scare them into pushing themselves farther than they would reasonably choose, and probably farther than their bodies are really ready for. I think it’s really too bad, because going for a 30 minute walk a few days a week is great exercise in and of itself, even if it doesn’t result in dramatic weight loss. I kind of think that dramatic weight loss like they celebrate on The Biggest Loser is pretty unhealthy.
    Anyways, your blog is great. It really bothers me that “healthy” and “thin” are synonymous in our culture. I know some very thin women who are very unhealthy, and overweight women who are very healthy, and pisses me off that while my weight is within the “normal” range, I can still be made to feel about about what my body looks like naked.

  4. “I suggest that you come up with a little catch phrase that you use (either out loud or in your head) when someone tries to sell you something by trying to make you not like yourself.”

    I know I’m late commenting but I have to say: this is incredibly effective. Those messages are pervasive and insidious, and they can slip right past your attention and settle into your beliefs. Having a response keeps it on the conscious level where you can fight it.

    I usually do it with gestures: usually I shoot it with my pointer-finger-and-thumb gun. In private, I’ll give it the finger. 🙂 In the few situations where I can’t gesture discreetly, I picture myself giving it the finger.

    I use that technique anytime someone is trying to sell me an idea that doesn’t mesh with my values. (Consumerism, fear, etc., as well as body hatred.)

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