real inspiration by real women

Posted: October 12, 2010 at 11:00 am

The other night, Peter & I were watching Desperate Housewives. I don’t really know what struck me in this particular episode more than others (ahem -Susan dancing around in a negligee, Bree wearing a dress showing too much fake cleavage), but the entire episode I considered how people view these women and their bodies as admirable. This of course fired more synapses and, before I knew it, I sat there distracted by the thoughts that I no longer have any desire for my body to resemble many of the women heralded as fit and fabulous in the media.

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I don’t know if this coincides with me reading less magazines and caring less about celebrity gossip than I did a few years ago, a simple development of maturity, or even my involvement in the blog world. Today I want to focus on how the blog world has impacted me in this way. I find myself more inspired than ever when learning about real women.

Hearing of their accomplishments in healthy living and fitness related pursuits motivates me to continue on my own path of health. When I see a fellow blogger praise her body and love herself for who she is I cannot deny that if she can do that, then I can too. I recognize her beauty, strength, and poise and in a way feel the same of myself because we’re all in this together and uplift one another to be our best. I admire the genuineness of other bloggers because I can witness the faults and weaknesses, but still respect the person behind them.

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Real women give me real inspiration and I believe that is what keeps me coming back for more. I appreciate every blogger who shares their path to a fulfilling life, because every person has something inspirational to share. I value the advice and openness bloggers offer because I appreciate knowing what works for different people and pulling new ideas that could work for me from them. In truth, I believe bloggers hold a lot of power and influence.

I hope to never shy away from the fact that I hold responsibility as a blogger. I openly discuss my thoughts and try very hard to present the real nature of who I am on this blog. I do that because I want to display the truth of life – the ups and downs and everything in between related to every topic of living a fulfilling, healthy life. And in doing so I will not undermine that these things can influence others. Part of why I love blogging is to not only gain support and motivation from others (like in my recent Eating Hypocrisy post – THANK YOU for all those comments by the way), but also to give it out. With that goal comes responsibility and that is why I am so appreciative of Heather beginning a powerful discussion on her blog, Hangry Pants, over the weekend.

I will always do my best to be mindful of readers and how I present myself. I do hope to inspire others to love themselves more, pursue balance in life, and find a place where they can feel healthy and happy. As I hold no professional credibility, I can only do this through sharing my own experiences and what helps me. That does not mean I can ignore that sharing my own self and thoughts can have an impact.

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This is why I try to put disclaimers or clarifying statements in posts relating to my pregnancy or when I shared what went into competing in fitness. This is why after I give birth, I will openly share my journey and process of getting back in shape post-baby…but will never share my weight (which I won’t know anyway because a scale will never be involved), pants size, every little thing I eat, yada yada yada that could be construed as me claiming them as the way to lose weight or be fit. It’s also why I do not yet know if I will do any sort of progress pictures on this site and if I do, how it will be done respectfully of readers because I don’t want to foster anything negative here on Faith Fitness Fun.

All in all, we need to recognize our influence. We need to own up to the fact that we are inspirational forces that others turn to for advice, motivation, guidance, and support. We need to remember that comparison traps still exist and people may use what we say or do in a negative way. Readers certainly need to consider what they read and how it impacts them, then steer clear of any that hurt more than help. I agree that we certainly do not hold all the responsibility. But please, do not diminish your significance. It’s out there. You’re real and you really inspire, whether one or one thousand plus readers. I know your significance touches me every day.

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  • Where do you find inspiration for health, fitness, body image, etc?
  • Do you view yourself as motivational? How does that impact how you blog, or in life in general? While I certainly don’t think I’m some huge inspiration, I know my actions reach others and for this I always try to be aware of how I present myself -  true to myself with respect for others.

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55 Comments to “real inspiration by real women”
  1. Courtney F says:

    Women on tv are paid to look a certain way. That does not mean it is reality. Real women and their lifestyles are motivating.
    Right now, I am having a hrad time with “BIGGEST LOSER!” I try to tell my clients as well as my family how unrealistic it is. In real life, you can not work out 6hours + a day with a 40 hour/week job and a family. It does not happen. Healthy living blogs are very motivating because there are days when you overindulge and days when you are right on with health! That is life! Good post!

  2. Great post! I agree – real women are where we should be getting inspiration. Those women who work hard each day (whether at a job or being a mom, or both), women who struggle with insecurities, who have to make time to squeeze in workouts, etc. I love that you are always so open, so honest. You are really and truly an inspiration.

    I used to be motivated by the fitness magazines, but I am starting to steer clear of them. I love Oxygen and Hers Muscle and Fitness for the workout tips, but I just don’t think they are realistic for me, for my life. I will never achieve those muscles, but mostly because that’s not exactly my goal. I don’t diet that way, I don’t dedicate all of my time and energy into those types of workouts getting ready for comps. I gotta learn to be happy with me, my results for my lifestyle.

    • Tina says:

      Agreed. Trying to focus on being like something we see in a magazine is often not realistic. I think with seeking inspiration from real women there is more room to find joy in ourselves as well because we can relate more.

  3. What a nice post. I’m proud to say that everyday, I am learning to love my body (and myself) more and more. I treat myself to good food – but good food does not always mean rich and indulgent; good food can also mean nourishing and healthy. I am inspired by fellow bloggers and my friends, and I do make it a point to motivate the people around me to not only eat better, but also to live healthier and make better choices 🙂

  4. I find my inspiration for healthy living mostly from the blogs I read and the people I talk to. Just like you, I feel most inspired by real women. I know they have the same challenges that I do and I appreciate that. I think this is why I was so upset at the Marie Claire article, because many of the bloggers that inspire me were thrown under the bus. As women, there is so much unrealistic and negative advice out there. I don’t feel that those blogs should have been lumped into that category. But enough on that…

    And I do consider myself motivational. I didn’t always feel that way, but now I finally do because I feel that I’ve motivated myself in a way that I’ve never been able to do before!

  5. Brooke says:

    i’m very thankful that i no longer subscribe to magazines (save the Home Life I get a church every month), don’t have cable (what not to wear was my favorite show – but I’m so much more content with my wardrobe now that i don’t watch it).

    although I’m still very much in the beginning stages of my work in progress. My body is a temple of the Lord. I get that. In my head at least. But sometimes I look at myself and my heart breaks.

    so i guess my inspiration comes from avoiding what is superficial and focusing on what is Holy.

  6. meghan says:

    Tina,

    I started following your blog just days before September, and check in now from time to time. However, while reading my current book I keep thinking of you. I think you would like this book and gain an even deeper love for God. The book is called The Shack, and it might already be very popular amongst your fellowship group. Give it a whirl if you are interested, it’s cheesy at times, will make you cry at times, but definitely will open your mind and heart to how God truly loves. And the cool part is the main character’s name is Mackenzie.

    • Tina says:

      That is one of my favorite books I have ever read. I love how the book personifies God in His three parts. It becomes so easy to relate to and just feel the care God has for us when explained like in that book. I actually want to read it again sometime.

  7. Dawn says:

    The longer I spend in the blog world, the more I find myself inspired by what I can do with my body, not what I can look like. I find now after a few years of reading blogs that being thin for appearance’s sake is barely a concern of mine at all anymore. Instead, I seek to do this now because I am inspired by the people who are out there running races, taking biking tours, and having amazing experiences with like-minded friends, all because of the changes they chose to make in their lives. That is what inspires me now – chasing after adventures and experiences, not chasing after some unattainable pants size.

    The motivational thing is tricky for me as I’m just starting out with my blog. Right now I am simply looking for a place to work through my own issues out loud. The only thing I have to offer other people right now is honesty about where I am and how I got here. The idea of being looked up to as an inspiration someday scares the heck out of me right now, but I know I have to be aware of it as a possibility. I guess I’ve always viewed my blog as a dynamic thing that is slowly going to evolve with me; right now, it is what I need it to be; as I progress along this journey and develop a broader presence in the blogging world, I know it will change and grow alongside me.

  8. Felicia says:

    My inspiration comes from strong, muscular and fit women. I use to compare myself with body types that I will never be, and it is so unhealthy and unrealistic. There are things about myself that I cant change, and I’m learning to love and embrace it, but that in itself took a long time. I gravitate more towards fit women that I can relate to, and finding inspirational blogs has helped me so much!

  9. Angela says:

    Other blogs (like YOURS!) are certainly a huge source of inspiration for me. I also get my blogging motivation from magazines (be it from articles that I agree with or ones that I strongly oppose) and discussions that I have with friends, family, my spin class, co-workers, etc. I know that magazines are sometimes targeted as being negative influences, but regardless of the stance that the author takes, I think they raise topics that are relevant and good points for discussion.

  10. Lori Lynn says:

    Reading blogs by other people that are in different stages helps me stay motivated– those that are maintaining- what I want to achieve, those that are in the process of losing weight, or those that focus on staying in shape. It gives me a picture of what to try and model after– though I’ve found that I have to customize into ‘me,’ b/c what works for someone, might not work for someone else.

  11. I think all bloggers to some extent are really motivating — you are putting yourself and your thoughts out there! That is really inspiring if you think about it.

    I’m definitely inspired by bloggers who have lost weight, who maintain their weight, who are pregnant, who have had children, who run marathons, who work hard, who go to school, anything. I don’t identify with ALL bloggers — which is why I read some and not others.

    A lot of my inspiration comes from myself — I see what I have done and I like challenging myself to do more.

    • Tina says:

      “A lot of my inspiration comes from myself — I see what I have done and I like challenging myself to do more.”

      What a great thing to be inspired by!!

  12. Natalie says:

    I find myself inspired by real people who I know have a healthy mentality regarding food and exercise. Being in the fitness industry I see many women with amazing bodies who I know are not healthy. To me, that is not true inspiration!

  13. I really love this post Tina, real women really are inspirational. I stopped reading trashy celeb magazines and fashion magazines because of how they made me feel. I like to read about healthy, fit and strong women which is why my leisure reading now consists of amazing blogs such as yours – they leave me feeling good about myself.

    Thank you <3

  14. Rachel says:

    I look to bloggers like you! I love that the blogging community is an area where we can see what real people are like and have a little peace about the fact that we don’t “measure up” to what hollywood and society demands we look like.

  15. Wonderful post Tina!

    One of the coolest realizations I had a few months ago was that I no longer wanted to strive to look like a picture. I was done with coveting the thin bodies in magazines and on TV. It was such a RELIEF for me! I finally wanted to be real! And now my motivation to be a healthy and fit woman is fed by other REAL women that I meet or see or hear about. I want to be a strong mom one day, not a mom who spends her days planning the next diet and spinning class because my body still isn’t enough for her family.

    Thank you for starting this convo. I think the blogging community is an incredible source of inspiration. There are so many of us real women out there and we do better when we can connect, learn and be inspired by!

  16. Great post Tina! I think its important to seek inspiration from people that I can relate to. Woem portrayed in magazines live a totally different lifestyle than I do so looking to them as a role model would always leave me unsatisfied with myself. Besides a smile on the cover of Cosmo doesn’t necessarily mean the person is happy.

  17. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tina Reale, Tina Reale. Tina Reale said: real inspiration by real women: The other night, Peter & I were watching Desperate Housewives. I don’t really know… http://bit.ly/dyRWqg […]

  18. I love magazines of all kinds – I love to read them in the tub and on airplanes..

    I think I have always seen much of the fashion mag content as unrealistic – that grain of salt comes in because I still “read the articles” and love product and fashion.

    When I think about it, I am sure that is why I was drawn to blogs years ago, and why I chose to become a part of this wonderful community – you know the stories, the photos, the experiences are real.

  19. Jaime says:

    You have such a great blog! I enjoy reading each and every one of your post. I think I relate to just about every single one of them. I used to subscribe to every magazine out there that promised I would have abs and no cellulite in 4 weeks! Guess what? It never happened. So, once again I felt like a failure. I currently own 2 magazine subscriptions to date. Runners World and Oxygen. I still have to be careful not to obsess over the fitness models in my Oxygen magazine, but I just enjoy the recipes and workouts that they have to offer.

  20. Great post, girlie! Though I still love celebrity gossip – it’s my guilty pleasure – I am not into their bodies and what they do or don’t eat. Over it. Even my Fitness subscription annoys me sometimes.

  21. I look for inspiration from blogs like yours!! This was such a great post. Thanks for reminding us all how great it is to be a fit, strong woman!

  22. Ela says:

    I love this post – and I love the reminder that we can all be inspiring. I don’t tend to think of myself in that way – in fact, I often worry that no one ever reads what I write! But I recognize that as pure insecurity.

    I’m really grateful to the blogs that I read – yours a prime example – for reminding me to be loving of my body.

    And I am looking into the possibility of teaching body-image-centered writing workshops to teenage girls: sounds super-daunting but would be an amazing affirmation of my ability to influence.

    Thanks for this. Oh, and glad that you could laugh at your venting: that was one thing I forgot to say in my comment about it, that sometimes letting it all out enables us to see the humorous or ridiculous side of it!

    love
    Ela

    • Tina says:

      I certainly think you are inspirational! You know a lot about food and fueling yourself well. You share a lot of thought provoking insights into things too.

  23. I’ve never been inspired by celebrities. I’ve admired them maybe, but I’ve never found them inspirational because I’ve never BELIEVED what they say.

    Other bloggers inspire me because theyre real people. I love that I get to know them, and see the incredible things they do. I find that when someone tries to appear as perfect on their blog I lose interest.

  24. i’m the same as you – i find myself motivated by the beautiful women around me. and i’d like to see myself as inspirational…but that’s all thanks to the God I serve 🙂

    • Tina says:

      You’re an inspiration to me. From your faith, to your cooking, to your love and kindness. Every day I’m thankful for our across the blog friendship. One of these days it won’t be just through a screen though. 😉

  25. That’s funny, girl….This morning I was just thinking about HOW VERY VERY inspiring the blogs I read are, and how reading them helps keep me motivated and excited about living a healthy, balanced life! Everything you wrote here is SOOO true!

  26. homecookedem says:

    My life has been changed for the better by healthy living blogs. I have “cleaned out” my google reader and I ONLY read and comment on blogs that I feel are good for me to read. There are SO many wonderful women in this community though, so don’t worry, my google reader is jam packed! 😉

  27. I think a big turning point for me was when i stopped admiring girls in celeb/fashion magazines and started focusing on how to become more like the women in my running and fitness magazines- strong and powerful! Their stories inspire me regularly…

    I wouldn’t necessarily call myself “inspirational”, but I like to think that sometimes I put a smile on the face of someone who needs it. 🙂

    • Tina says:

      I think you’re inspirational. You enjoy life to the fullest and have no qualms being yourself. That’s pretty dang awesome in my book. 🙂

  28. I’m to the point now where I just need to look and find inspiration in myself. Even looking towards other healthy bloggers can be a bad thing at times. I try to remember what all I’ve accomplished, what all I’m doing and that keeps me inspired.

    But, looking at women like you—and Melissa @ liveloveandrun is inspiring at motviating to me!

  29. I think real people are way more motivational than celebrities or people who make money for their athletic abilities. While I respect what they do, it is still a profession and not realistic for day to day life. I like reading what works and doesn’t work for others. It gives me ideas and options that may or may not work for me. I hope I am inspirational.

    • Tina says:

      Let me tell you right now….you inspire me. As a loving mother, as someone who works hard for her health and to do what works for her, and as an incredibly supportive wife. You’re amazing!

  30. I find inspiration from you! I admire your outlook tremendously!

    I can’t even take the women/bodies on Desperate Housewives seriously…

  31. I feel the same way about the women who inspire me. I do think it’s a combination of maturity and being surrounded (even virtually) by women of substance. It’s really an incredible realization to notice that the traits of other women that I aspire to have now include confidence and charisma rather than a firm butt or small waist.

  32. Mama Pea says:

    You and I are on the same page once again. And I can probably guess which Book it is out of 😉

  33. Maren says:

    I really like this post. I know since blogging I’m so much more confident. I’m not as focused on fashion and how I look. Just reading about “real” women/people changed so much for me. Everything is in such better perspective. Thank you again for inspiring me to be ME and not that other person.

  34. Sarah says:

    Fantastic post 🙂 I look for inspiration in the women I encounter everyday at work and at the gym (and the fantastic blogs I read including yours). I take Body Step a couple times a week and I’m always inspired by the women who come to class for the first time. It’s scary and intimating to take a class that you’ve never taken before all alone. So these women motivate me to try new things and break out of my comfort zone.

    I am magazine junkie but typically as elliptical entertainment.

    And I don’t think I consider myself motivational. I like to think that I’m relatable, normal, just like my reader. I hope that when people read my blog that he/she recognizes a part of themselves in one of my posts. And that maybe one of my struggles is similar to his/her situation and I can provide comfort that he/she isn’t alone.

    • Tina says:

      I think thats very motivational for people to see you share yourself and be able to relate to that. That’s one of the biggest things I find motivational in other bloggers.

  35. Loriana says:

    Love this! There seems to be a theme of self acceptance and acknowledging your unique beauty today everywhere I turn!

  36. Kristy says:

    This is SO true! When I was at my lowest point I was driven by celebs in magazines. I wanted their hair, body…ect. Now its more like “I want to run a half marathon? _______ did so maybe…” 🙂

  37. Good post this morning. I am too somewhat sick of the images that I see on tv as they are really fake to me and non realistic. I tend to find my inspiration from the women in fitness magazines such as Oxygen. I like that these women have muscles and are still beautiful. I strive for that balance and not the stick thin look. I want to be healthy and balanced and that is what matters especially now that I am havign a daughter. I wnt her to see/view her body as something special and that starts with me. I find motivation in setting goals for myself. For example, after Baby A gets here I am thinking about training for a local 1/2 marathon that happens here every April. It gives me a goal and gives me something to look forward to. I have done the 1/2 before.

    As for my style – I try to be a realistic person. If something I write gices motivation to someone then that makes me happy. I try to make sure that I am honest and that people know I am not perfect just me.

  38. What a beautiful post! You are so right on about REAL women – not the image we’re presented with by various forms of media, but women who are willing to truly put a piece of themselves out there to show that they are human. They have struggles, they face challenges – but they also have so much to celebrate. And that is reality!

    I’m looking forward to both catching up with and reading more from you! And thank you, too, for your sweet comment on my blog.

  39. […] out. And one last thing before I move on to today’s daily happenings. Thanks for the comments on this morning’s post and whether or not you find more inspiration in “real women” and how that applies to blogging. I never get sick of hearing your […]

  40. Caleb says:

    Great post Tina

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