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Stop Body Shaming: Thinness Does NOT Equal Fitness – FREE VIDEO

Every now and then, we get an odd message from visitors to Fit2B who watch our diastasis recti self-check videos and then get all judgey about Kelly’s body type. “Great video, but why would I do your program when you’re not in shape?” Um, first of all, Kelly Dean is in great shape! She’s an elite masters swimmer who has recently made it to nationals, and she can do things in the water than I never could! This is the photo I want to show the jerks who write to me, thinking thinness equals fitness, and asking how they can trust my program when “you don’t loook like a fitness chick.”

Meet my friend. Someone said she didn't look very "in shape." They're wrong. This is Kelly Dean, licensed physical therapist, founder of The Tummy Team, and elite swimmer. Fitness isn't measured by your size. Stop body shaming.
This is a picture of Kelly taken underwater at Nationals and published in the National Masters Swimmers Magazine. And I dare you to body shame this. Go ahead. Get in that water and tell her that she’s too out of shape to help others reclaim their core. I’ll just wait over here on dry land and laugh as you try to catch her to blabber your nonsense at her. Or you could watch the video below and meet the REAL woman you dare to judge.
(Image Credit: National Masters Swimmers Magazine)

Here’s what Kelly says about that picture: When I first saw it, I was so embarrassed.  I thought, “ugh… look how big I am!”   It is me in warm ups, doing a back stroke start and then my power underwater butterfly kick.  But Yolanda saw it on my desk and she said, WOW!  Look how strong you are!  Then Jenny, my massage therapist said, “you have the strongest back I have ever massaged on a lady”, then another massage therapist said… “your legs are crazy strong, how do you do that!”  It is crazy how mean we can be to ourselves.  I have been so much thinner than I am now and it could really immobilize me but I need to see  myself the way others do (not the negative people but the truth speakers).

What does a fitness chick look like anyway? Does it have to be a tiny sweaty thing in skimpy attire showing off her tightly toned tummy? My program isn’t about getting chiseled, and it’s clear those people who went all Judgey McJudgerson on her and my program based on their narrow view of what strength and fitness looks like didn’t keep reading, or they’d have figured out real quick that we’re both strong. We’re both fit. We’re both capable of helping other people reclaim their cores NOT because of how our bodies are shaped, but because of how our hearts are shaped.

Kelly and I are separate entities who work very closely together. Technically I’m the “fitness chick” and she’s the “physical therapist chick.” Yes, I’m smaller than her. Yes, she’s maybe faster in the pool than I am on land. But we are more than our measurements! And we are both in great shape for where we are in our lives!

I can fly. What's your superpower. -Kelly Dean, LPT, The Tummy Team
Kelly doing the “Fly” at Nationals in 2013

She’s a swimmer. She’s not a fitness model, body builder, or an aerobics instructor, and she’s NOT featured on my site to put her body on display but rather her knowledge. Kelly is a licensed physical therapist, the founder of The Tummy Team, and an elite masters swimmer who went to nationals last year. Kelly has several exercise videos on Fit2B including “Total Body Stretching,” “Pregnancy Stretching,” “Total Body Toning,” and “Kelly’s Bedtime Relaxation Routine.” She teaches with a different approach and with a different style than I do, and our members adore her!

Loving your body, connecting to your body, retraining it to do what it needs to do to hold you together and then give you the confidence to hold yourself up, to embrace yourself, and to be who you were designed to be. -Kelly Dean, LPT, The Tummy Team
One of our members made this after watching the above video. She posted it in the private Fit2B member forum and said, “heard Kelly say this and was almost in tears, had to go back and listen slow and write it down…. and then make it pretty so I can stick it on my mirror…. such a good truth. Whose with me today in loving ourselves where we are and continuing to strengthen ourselves and live confidently? Thanks Beth and Kelly for what you do and your heart for us.”

Kelly is stronger than I am in so many ways, but her tummy isn’t perfect looking. Neither is mine! We’re both mothers with the evidence of carrying life written all over us. She’s lost 5 babies plus carried 3 to full term, so her belly has been through hell and back. But it’s strong. It’s functional. It carries her tall and doesn’t leak. It’s a model of how much more we’re made for than just looks.

Abdominal Massage and Body Image from Kelly Dean on Vimeo
 

I think people just get mixed up, you know? We’re so trained to compare everything to perfectly air-brushed images on magazine covers and billboards, but it makes me mad when people discount this program or Kelly’s wisdom due to some imperfection they perceive on her body. Why do people see a body and think it’s not fit just because it’s a bit fluffier?

…we’re both strong. We’re both fit. We’re both capable of helping other people reclaim their cores NOT because of how our bodies are shaped, but because of how our hearts are shaped.”

Today I saw a 300-lb woman walking by some teenagers slumped on a park bench. I could tell she’d been walking for a while, and she was working on improving herself. I could tell the teenagers had been slumped for a while and could care less about going home and slumping some more. Okay that’s me being judgey now, but seriously? Who’s healthier? And what is the “perfect” body?

Can someone please define perfect?

Can we all stop letting media define perfect for us?

Because what makes my man happy about my body isn’t what makes your man happy about your body. I’m perfect to him, and he’s enjoyed all my shapes as my body has morphed from newlywed to pregnant to new mother to mother-of-toddlers-who-leave-me-zero-time-to-workout to what I am now.

And I believe I was perfectly formed inside my mother, even with my one foot that’s bigger than the other, and my nose that bends slightly to the left… It’s like this Belly Love project we did; click here to see that.

Here at Fit2B, we believe the perfect body is the one that’s fit to be carrying your precious loads, making love with abandon, saying yes to endless requests of “More, Mama!” It’s that image up there of Kelly doing her thang. A thang I can’t do. But I can do other thangs. And when I’m doing what I was made to do, I feel like that’s a slice of perfection. 

Please share this post far and wide if you’re sick of body shaming jerks who think fitness is determined by six packs and small pants sizes.

 

8 thoughts on “Stop Body Shaming: Thinness Does NOT Equal Fitness – FREE VIDEO

  1. Rachel says:

    Love this! Thank you thank you thank you. I have 2 kiddos under 3 and have been doing yoga with the high school cross country runners (boys and girls) I coach. I am much stronger than they are but they’re the ones with six packs and legs/arms that don’t jiggle when they run. I’m happy I can run with them on occasion and teach them that strength doesn’t always look like they think it does!

  2. Cathi says:

    You said it! (Girl, you said it *all.*) And I and so many other women need to hear it and remember it. Thank you for this post.
    I have so appreciated Kelly’s videos and your videos and their focus on reclaiming function and on making sure our bodies are healthy and can support us into the future.
    I will be 45 this year and, in a variety of ways the past few years, I have been confronted with the fact that I probably don’t have so much time left on earth that I can spend much of it worrying about getting the “right” body.
    My husband “appreciates” my body, my kids love me the way I am, and I need to focus on living a healthy, joyful, giving, and well-rounded life. Yes, being active is and needs to be part of that, but obsessing over my pants size and dress size and what I look like in a bathing suit just does not.

  3. Cheryl Mostowski, Strong Tummies says:

    Thank you Beth for sharing Kelly’s video. I seriously dissolved into tears this morning watching this video. You know I learned directly from Kelly how to teach women every day to love themselves and their tummies and make them strong for life. But my heart breaks every day as most women hate their tummies; and don’t want to touch, look at, massage, love them because they are not flat and perfect and in the process they have a hard time healing because they are disconnected.

    When I come to the “love your tummy” part of my Core Rehab classes, I think I may just play this for them instead of trying to convince them with my own words… she’s the best and you’re the best for sharing.

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