So this post may have been composed on the way back to my car after a rather disastrous bikini shopping experience… To be honest I figured I thought I’d be able to get one easily enough seeing as I’ve spent the last year or so training and eating “clean” fairly consistently (obviously with the occasional treat and total binge) but my God was I wrong. Even though I’m at the stage where I’m pretty happy with my body I picked out every little flaw in that mirror (some that are probably non-existent) and ended up a bit like your one from White Chicks…borderline crazy.
Anyways, before I went full into full on changing room freak out mode about how my holidays would be ruined because I wasn’t going to look like a Sports Illustrated model on the beach my rational mind thankfully kicked in. Looking around I realised nobody really looks like that, not even the Sports Illustrated models. What screws us up most is our image of how we think things should be. We don’t have to have to look perfect to have a good time and enjoy ourselves. You just need to feel comfortable and say screw it I’m happy enough with what I have (because nobody’s ever going to be 100% happy anyway). I’ve got muscles and curves and extra padding in all the wrong places but I’m healthy and strong and have worked hard for what I have so it’s perfect for me. It’s takes a long time to finally get to a stage where you’re happy but it only takes a clever marketing company waiting around the corner (literally) to bring you down again…
|Image from The Guardian.com|
Anyone who’s on twitter may have seen it erupt lately over these advertisements which have been plastered all over the London underground. It’s of a woman in a bikini (most likely airbrushed to a shadow of her real, and probably still beautiful, self) with the caption “Are you beach body ready?”. If you are one of the few who has finally come close to the stage of saying yes then having this image shoved in your face every day will probably shred any bit of confidence you had pretty fast. It’s a fantastic piece of marketing once again by the protein companies but I just don’t agree with taking advantage of people’s insecurities in such a harsh way. To be “Beach Body Ready” all we should need is a beach and a body, and a bit of suncream. I think what they’re really trying to say with this advert is “are you mentally prepared to go to the beach and expose yourself to the world and it’s critics who actually don’t really care what you look like as they’ll be too busy worrying what they look like but buy our weight loss products anyway to make yourself feel better”.
Unless you’re posting photos on social media then you probably won’t experience negative comments as people generally won’t make nasty remarks in person. They’ll only do it when they’re feeling like the big man (or woman) behind a computer screen. If anyone follows the fitness blogger Cassey Ho (@blogilates) on Instagram you might have seen a video she made recently about how she got her “perfect body” (if not go and watch it, it’s very good). This woman is strong, fit and healthy, with thousands of followers but when she posts a photo of herself gets comments like “you’re too fat”, “need a bigger bum” or “should have a flatter stomach”. She decided to make a video where she photoshopped her body taking into account all the negative comments she had gotten and posted the final result on Instagram. However she was still inundated with negative comments and criticism! Basically people will always criticize you so you might as well do what makes you happy, look the way you want and just own it.
|@blogilates on Instagram|
When I say “own it” I mean just recognize what you have and be confident in your skin. Kim Kardashian is a good example (as controversial and all as she is). Before she burst into the public eye everyone wanted to be skinny and petite and when buying an outfit the main question was “does my bum look big in this?”, hoping that the answer would be no. Instead of trying to blend in, Kim turned her asset into a multi-million dollar fortune and made everyone want to be like her. Now the question is does my bum look big enough in this and if not you can get implants, padded knickers and even bum enhancing jeans (which are actually quite popular…).
|The famous belfie (dailymail.com)|
Big bums might be trending at the moment but so is the whole “Girls who Lift” movement. A few years ago most women wouldn’t dream of lifting heavy weights in a gym and definitely didn’t want muscle but now some of the top Instagram accounts are of bodybuilders and bikini models and there’s a whole day dedicated to #flexfriday. Plus size models are also becoming hugely popular with more and more being signed to top model agencies and appearing in print media. It appears that almost every shape and size is being praised and promoted and this is a good thing right?
|Michelle Lewin “The Ab Queen” (girlswithmuscle.com)|
|Tess Munster, a leading “plus size” model (dailymail.com)|
Every shape and size is being promoted nowadays as we have finally come to accept that nobody’s the same. We all have different genetics and lifestyles so there can’t just be one version of a “beach body”. And also, why is it so crucial to have one when, at least for us Irish, we only need it for two weeks a year if we’re lucky. What we need is a “life body”. One that is fit and healthy and can support and keep us functioning even when we put it under extreme pressure or difficult conditions. What does it matter how it looks if it’s doing its job?
The SuperFit Foodie
(If anyone wants to join a community of women focused on getting healthy and not “skinny” you can join my free Facebook group called Girls Gone Healthy here It’s a community where we can share tips, advice and recipes related to being healthy and have conversations with other like-minded women)