Marie Wold shares why having sculpted abs shouldn't be your ultimate goal.

By Faith Brar
March 18, 2019
Photo: Instagram / @marieewold

The six-pack has been a highly coveted physical attribute for what seems like all of fitness history. But influencer Marie Wold is here to tell you that sculpted abs shouldn't be the gold standard when it comes to overall health and wellness-and that's something she had to learn the hard way.

Wold shared two side-by-side photos of herself, explaining how her perception of the "ideal" body evolved over time. "I spent 5-6 years of my life chasing different versions of the 'perfect' physique in hopes that achieving it would finally give me the confidence and self-acceptance that I was craving," she wrote. "Turns out it doesn't work that way." (Related: This Woman's Transformation Shows That Getting to a Healthy Place Might Take a Couple Tries)

After spending years training for bikini competitions, Wold learned that going to extremes to attain a certain aesthetic can be detrimental to both your mental health and your body in the long run. "Confidence starts from the INSIDE out," she wrote. "Sure, eating healthy and working out CAN help, but only if your intentions are in the right place. It's not about dieting/exercising to 'fix' yourself, it's about nourishing/moving your body to LOVE yourself." (Related: Why This Fitness Influencer Loves Her Body Even More Since Gaining 18 Pounds)

Today, Wold may no longer have a chiseled six-pack, but she feels more confident in her skin than she ever has before. "Once you make decisions through a lens of love, you'll finally be able to cultivate confidence that DOESN'T depend on what your body looks like, and that is TRUE confidence that no one can take away from you," she wrote. (Related: Cassey Ho Created a Timeline of "Ideal Body Types" to Illustrate the Ridiculousness of Beauty Standards)

While there's nothing wrong with wanting a sculpted core, an aesthetics-focused goal has the tendency to backfire. (See: Why Losing Weight Won't Automatically Make You Happy) Instead, eating healthy, practicing self-care, and maintaining a workout routine to feel good is a more sustainable and successful approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As Wold says herself: "I know it's scary to let go of the restriction and struggle that has become your comfort zone, but I'm proof that freedom is so worth it."

And next time you're pushing through a core workout, think about all these non-aesthetic reasons having a strong core is so important. Promise, they're way better than a six-pack could ever be.