Healthy by Heather

Female Body Image, How Did We Get Here? #bodyimage #beauty #ilovethewayilook #bodyimageissues #gethealthy #healthyliving

As a personal trainer I spend many hours trying to help people perfect their bodies. This idea of perfection brings about a question that I can’t seem to answer. Where did this idea of a perfect person come from? When did we start believing that we had to be a size 2 or below and 10% body fat? It’s a phenomenon that I cannot seem to wrap my mind around and have been victim of myself.  Why is it that when we look at ourselves in the mirror we only see what’s wrong? I truly believe we are our own worst critics and often times manifest defaults that aren’t even there. On top of that, we let the scale rule our lives. We forget that muscle weighs more than fat and bone density contributes to our weight. So if you are an avid strength trainer you are going to have a greater bone density and larger muscle mass. Expect to weigh more when you get on the scale! I’ve put on 10 pounds in the last 2 years that I’ve been doing Crossfit and I am loving how my body looks! Instead of being skinny, I am strong and fit. I love my curves because I know I’ve worked hard for them!

Most of you might not know that prior to being a personal trainer I was a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. To top that, I worked at the world’s largest gentlemen’s club. You can imagine the pressure felt to maintain my appearance and small stature. I spent 2-3 hours a day, 5-6 days a week in the gym. It consumed my life. It was at this time that I realized I wanted to help women understand they don’t have to fit into someone’s standard of what the perfect woman is. In fact everyone has different ideas of what is beautiful. That’s why there is the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

I spent some time pondering this question and came up with a few thoughts of how this came about. First I thought it was from the objectification of women in men’s magazines (playboy, maxim, hustler etc). Then I discarded this thought because when playboy first came about the women in the magazine were not super skinny women with very defined muscles. Look back to Marilyn Monroe. She was what was then considered a size 10 and stunning. She had beautiful curves and didn’t try to hide them.

Then I thought about Barbie. This couldn’t be it because we all know at this point in time that Barbie’s measurements are unrealistic. After doing some research it dawned on me that maybe it’s the fashion industry. Look back to models in the 1960’s and beyond. They went from sultry pinup girls to extremely skinny. There was the era of Twiggy and then Heroine-chic where all the models were waif thin. Until recent, there was no such thing as too thin. And as the outfits get smaller so do the weight requirements.

I think that all these things have contributed in some way but in reality it doesn’t matter how and when it started. All that matters is that we stop trying to measure up to what social media and marketing companies tell us we should be. We don’t need to look like the fitness model from the cover of our favorite magazine. Especially since many of them have been airbrushed. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to take any credit away from the hard work they do to get their bodies in tip top shape but it’s unrealistic for the general population. Plus it is unhealthy and dangerous for women to maintain a body fat percentage of below 11% for a long period of time. Forget about the fact that it’s considered underweight if a women is below 18% body fat.

So ladies please stop looking in the mirror and seeing what’s wrong. We are all different shapes and sizes and that’s ok! We’re supposed to be. It’s what’s different about each of us that makes us special and unique! So start looking in the mirror and loving yourself. Instead of working on fixing what you think is wrong, start working on being the healthiest person you can be. That’s when your true beauty will shine!

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