Happy Monday! I know it’s later in the day on the East Coast so I’m giving you all a good late night read. I frequently get questions related to diet and body image but have yet to ever really talk about it on the blog. I think it’s time for me to do that but I have to warn you, this is something I’m very passionate about so this chick’s filter is currently nonexistent. Let’s start with body image.
I read an article a couple of weeks ago specifically talking about diet culture. This phrase, which is becoming more common recently, is founded upon the shared view of the “perfect body”. The obsession that comes along with that image is what characterizes diet culture. In the article, the author did an experiment to really see how prevalent diet culture is. Her results were simple: it’s everywhere. In the grocery store, on the radio, on TV commercials, you name it. I think what we really need to consider is the foundation of diet culture. This “perfect image” “they” refer to. It’s not very difficult to figure out by looking through the latest fashion trends on Pinterest that it’s women with a tall, slender figure, and of course the infamous “thigh gap”. They’re beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but so is the girl that grew up on a cattle farm that has the work ethic and muscles to prove it.
We need to rid of the “picture perfect” model images that fill young girls/teenagers/women’s heads and distort their body image. Ladies (and gents), realize this: God didn’t design us to have the exact same body type. The problem with diet culture is that it completely negates that fact. We are not all made to have the same body type and we are not all made to be the same weight. Comparison is a thief of joy. Stop looking at another woman and thinking, “If only I were 115 pounds like her…” while completely forgetting that you’re two inches taller and can squat three times as much as her.
I had to learn this the hard way. Years ago I told myself I would be happy once I reached 125 pounds. I saw so many “fit girls” that were around that weight so I felt like I needed to be there too. I went from 133ish pounds to 125 pounds by eating about 1000 calories a day and quickly realized that was not maintainable by any means nor did it help me achieve my goals. I slowly added calories into my diet and have been sitting around 132-135 pounds for years since then. Once I understood that this is where my body is meant to be, my body image drastically improved. I’m at a healthy body fat percentage, I feel good, I’m arguably the fittest I’ve ever been, and most importantly I’m happy.
When I started CrossFit over a year ago, I told someone close to me that I was loving it. Their response to me was, “Just don’t get too much muscle like those CrossFit girls can get…”
I didn’t say anything at the time. Instead I just giggled while biting my tongue. What I really wanted to say was that I think those girls are absolutely beautiful! Do you know how much grit and determination it takes to look the way they do? They spend YEARS of blood, sweat, and tears to build that muscle. They kick their own butts day in and day out to be able to lift heavy, run for miles, do dozens of muscle ups, you name it. Not only are they physically the healthiest people on Earth but they mentally have to be as well. To some it’s not, but to me, that’s definitely beautiful.
This one is 100% easier said than done but it was the game changer for me. As soon as I stopped caring about what other people thought of my body, I felt the most confident in my skin. You know why you should stop caring? Because people will always have an opinion. Some are going to think you have too much fat while others think you’re too muscular. It’s so sad but it’s so true. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what other people think. It’s YOUR body. It’s YOUR happiness. I workout because I want to feel strong, fast, and fit. Not because I care if Suzy-Q thinks I need the muscles that come along with those goals.
Do what makes you happy and feel good. Stop comparing yourself to the square picture on your phone screen. We’re not all the same by any means and we’re not supposed to be. Be your own definition of beautiful. Lastly, don’t worry about what anyone else has to say and watch the confidence in your body image follow suit.