The REAL Challenge

A few days ago I shared a little bit about my trouble viewing beauty and fitness in a balanced, healthy light. I shared how it’s time for me to embrace REAListic beauty and REAListic fitness, and I invited you to join me. I’m so glad some of you are interested in joining the challenge! But before we get started, I think it’s important to emphasize something, again:

This is not about running a 10K. This is not about getting skinny. This is not about any fitness goal that makes you want to walk away from the challenge right away. 
This is about protecting ourselves from going too far in our search for approval. This is about portraying the beauty in our hearts and not just the beauty in our faces. Ultimately, it’s a way of growing in wisdom.
“Beauty is fleeting.” Perspective: If I spend all my time and all my mental energy grasping for a very narrow type of physical beauty, all that time and all those thoughts will one day be wasted. Age is a great equalizer. Time is merciless. It marches on and on, a respecter of no man or woman. We cannot hide from age. It’s coming for us in the end and whatever way you spin it, with modern medicine improving in leaps and bounds we have an ever-increasing number of gray years ahead of us.
So what then? Are our lives over because we have wrinkles and our breasts sag? Or, are we more than the sum of our bodily parts? Is there more to a woman than how she looks? 
Sure, you say. Of course there is! And yet–I am so guilty of this–we judge our own beauty harshly and without forgiveness. It’s critical that we change this attitude, and not just for ourselves. For the young girls and boys growing up around us who will one day become the men and women of this world, it is critical that we model true beauty for them as they grow.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love highlighted hair and Mac makeup as much as any other girl, and I’m not going to swear them off. What I AM going to do, however, is embrace the following basic restrictions and begin to pursue a more REAListic view of beauty. Here is my challenge (edited from the original version):

The REAListic Beauty and Fitness Challenge

  • I will embrace a REAListic view of womanly beauty
  • I will not speak negatively about my body
  • I will not speak negatively about another woman’s body
  • I will restrict media containing unrealistic or unhealthy portrayals of the female body
  • I will strive to be a good example of REAListic beauty (inside and out) to my daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, friend, etc.
  • I will commit to a REAListic fitness goal
  • I will share my commitment with others and allow them to keep me accountable
  • I will encourage my sisters in their fitness goals
  • I will exercise for health and wellness
  • I will eat a healthy amount of food (this is NOT about dieting)
    If you join me you are NOT committing to walk or run a 10K. You are not committing to a diet plan. You are not committing to buy up the Nike store and run your butt off every morning. You are simply 1) committing to a goal, 2) refusing to think or speak negatively about your body, and 3) trying to be a good role model.
    It’s really pretty simple. And I think it’s going to be pretty liberating!
    But allow me a moment to be REAListic. I’m a mother of three, so you better believe it’s difficult for me to get out there and run or walk. Sometimes it’s chaos getting out the door, and sometimes it’s pouring rain. If it weren’t for my mom helping with the kids, I couldn’t do what I’m doing now. So I totally understand the inconvenience. But I also believe that anything worth doing is usually difficult. We can’t let that stop us.
    After that dose of REALism, if you’d like to join me in the REAListic Beauty and Fitness Challenge, leave a comment below. I’d love to have friends with me on this journey! Thanks for reading, friends!


    1. says

      I’m looking forward to growing in this area. I really need get a REAListic view of myself and make sure I am balancing taking care of myself physically and spiritually.

    2. says

      I’m in! I have to admit I am guilty of all of those things and it’s HARD not to look in the mirror and cringe sometimes. I have 4 kids under 4 1/2 (my oldest is just now 5), so exercising is not easy. But, I bought 30 day shred and I actually just need to set aside the time to do it. Not easy with 4 kids under foot! But, I want to do it and I want to not speak negatively of this body that has been “wrecked” by acne and twin pregnancy. It’s the body God gave me and I want to be happy with how it is and I want my girls to grow up seeing my confidence about who I am! Thanks for the encouragement today. I needed it.

      • says

        Emily, thank you so much for your comment! I’m so glad to know you will be joining us in this challenge. And wow, I’m SO impressed: 4 kids under 5! You are an amazing woman! Let me know how the 30 day shred goes. I’ve heard it’s pretty intense! So glad to “meet” you today. 🙂

    3. says

      I love this, Caila. So good. So… I totally want to add some of our words to chapter 7 but it’s already 10,000 words! Yikes, maybe Body needs to be broken into 2? Hmm… great stuff. Thanks for sharing this!

      • says

        Thanks, Kari! I can’t wait to read your chapter on Body. Sounds like something I really need to read! Love you. 🙂