Magazines, movies, models, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. Everyday we are bombarded with thousands of images of “ideal” bodies. Through the generations what defines the perfect female form may have changed, but the fact that it is defined has not. The idea that as a woman, there is a prescription for how your body should look, is something I think we need to challenge.
Like lots of women, I have struggled with my weight and body image for most of my adult life. Naturally slim as girl, in my early twenties I began to put on weight. It crept on slowly, almost imperceptibly until I found myself fat, sick and unhappy. It was time to make a change.
I tried lots of things that promised the world and delivered very little, until I eventually stumbled across Strength and Conditioning. I began dropping weight, gaining strength and was initially extremely excited to be on this amazing journey. However, it was not long before I discovered that the weight of other peoples’ opinions can be just as burdensome as the excess kilos.
This is what I have learned about the 21st Century (rx) body;
- Women should have flat tummies, but not visible abs
- Women should have neither bingo wings nor biceps
- Women should have big glutes, but definitely not quads
It is ridiculous in the extreme. Since beginning to train, I have lost count of how many times I have been advised “make sure you don’t get too skinny” or “make sure you don’t get too bulky!” One particular woman told me that she would prefer to starve herself than have muscles in her arms. It was when I heard her say this, that I realized that we women are truly screwed.
Whether your goals are based on performance or aesthetics, they are your goals. If you want to lose weight to flaunt that bikini, or increase strength to compete in Power Lifting, girls, it is entirely up to you. Don’t allow anyone to dictate to you what your body should look like. Trends and fashions will change, they should not be the yard stick against which you validate yourself and your efforts. As a health conscious person, you get to control how you eat and how you train, you don’t get to control how your body will respond to it.
You may believe that “strong is the new skinny” or you may not. Building a body that is healthy, happy and confident is what matters. Work towards your own goals, and if you are lucky enough to have is all figured out, enable your sisters to do the same.