Sometimes, we just need ladies in our lives who remind us to love ourselves a little more. No doubt, Claire Fountain fits that bill.
Claire is a badass yogi, founder of Trill Yoga, and all-around body positive extraordinaire. She’s totally in tune with the craziness women have to deal with in the media, and is 100% unafraid to speak her mind. Claire is no doubt an influencer on social media, but she openly recognizes the downfalls of those platforms.
“The problem with media, be it mainstream media or social, is that women are shown that their value is in their appearance and their beauty. We show that those characteristics are what matters and if you’re not as pretty or wealthy or in shape, your worth is less…which of course we internalize as ‘we are less than’, and ‘we must not be good enough.’ Then we feel pressure to be all those things to validate our existence.”
The accuracy is painfully true. There are plenty of moments when women stumble across someone else’s IG, see them being praised for who they are, and then feel the need to emulate. As an influencer herself, that’s not what Claire believes is healthy. What she is here for is teaching self-love.
“I think reclaiming your body starts inside, for each woman and her own body. How she experiences her own self and the world in her body. It takes far more internal work on the mind than anything else to be strong enough to fight the forces that be,” said Claire. We could not agree more. Recognizing your feelings, who you are as a person, who you want to be, and seeing yourself as beautiful from the moment you start your metamorphosis to the end is crucial. An inner metamorphosis is beautiful, but what about the ones that fitfluencers market daily?
The idea of changing who you are is core to the way most brands currently view working out, but Claire took the distinct opportunity to turn this on its head. “This is a message I’ve never understood, because healthy is not only skinny. Healthy isn’t only people who work out everyday or eat nothing but greens and juice,” said Claire. She posits that instead of focusing on “fitness,” perhaps we should be discussing “wellness.”
“Wellness is not just actions taken for the care and keeping of the body; it’s much more about taking care of your mind. When your mind is right, and we make peace with messages that have been imprinted on us since childhood, everything else changes. It’s like eating disorders…it’s never about the food or the body. It’s about a deeper issue, you have to just fix the problem instead of putting a bandaid on it.”
We are so down, Claire. Beyond down with that, in fact. Why aren’t we teaching people that wellness is about your body and your mind instead of just the way your body looks to other people? “I assume it’s because we are conditioned to value the external. We are judged on the external, and it’s easier to look ok than actually be ok. What if how we felt on the inside was shown on the outside,” said Claire.
That’s a frightening reality for many people. Thinness does not equal health. Movements that center around thoughts that strong is the new skinny are helpful to an extent, but still misguided. First of all, it suggests that bodies are trends. Bodies are not to be consumed, judged, and considered on trend like an off-the-shoulder dress. The other problem is that the version of “strong” people show is rarely women who are above a size 6. Strong is not just having visible, cut muscles, but also being mentally in tune with your body and emotionally healthy.
“The body and its shape are a poor measure of health and we need to broaden what “health” and “wellness” mean and look at a whole person. Do you have energy? Do you sleep well? Can you move in a way that makes you feel good? Do you have relationships that bring you joy? Do you love deeply? There’s no body or shame in that.”
Ladies, put that somewhere in your phones, computer, or on a sticky note in your bathroom because that’s so important. How you feel is so important, and exercise is simply one way to increase your positive feelings about yourself which radiate toward others. This isn’t about if your body looks pleasing to someone else, it’s about pleasing yourself.
Realizing that wellness isn’t about comparing your body to society’s aesthetics is a hard thing to learn, especially since it has been ingrained in our lives for so long. It may be hard, but it’s worth it. Not just for ourselves, but because we are helping others every time we do.
“I think we will all have to learn that we are not our bodies, but it will take an entire societal shift to make that happen. However, every time I stand up for myself, and my body, I’m standing up for every woman … every hip, every curve, every part that mainstream media has told us we should apologize for. And in that way, each woman who is empowered, empowers all women, and together we can make things different for the generations of humans who come after us.”