I’m a big believer in diversity. Whether we’re talking food, friends, politics, body image…I believe that the more options we have, the more open minded we become, and the more we understand what makes us happy as individuals.
Still to this day, diversity seems to be the most passionately and fiercely debated topic among the human race. Immigration polarises people on a macro scale, body image on a micro scale…
Since this isn’t a political blog by any stretch of the imagination, I want to talk about body image and my experience with my own…
Growing up with parents in the public eye and at one point even chasing my own television presenting dreams, I have always been fair game to the opinions of others. I’ve read it all, from comments about how pretty I am, to comments about how ugly I am, and everything in between.
About 2 years ago, I met my ex boyfriend Danny, who undoubtedly changed my life forever. I was frustrated internally, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and struggling with anxiety and self confidence, and I was frustrated externally too, running for hours on end, avoiding carbs and not really getting anywhere with how I wanted to look. I was lost and unhappy.
Lucky for me, Danny was a PT. When people hear the term ‘Personal Trainer’ they don’t feel particularly inspired, rather imagining someone who helps others workout for a few hours each week. While this is true for some, there are plenty of us who use the structure and challenges of diet and training as a way to rebuild the courage, confidence and mental strength of our clients. And it works.
Danny did exactly this. He challenged me, broke me, and allowed me to rebuild myself from the ground up. I became strong, capable, and focused in every area of my life. He inspired me to become a PT, and I am a completely different person now to the girl of 2 years ago.
Of course, the physical changes of my body have invited attention. Don’t get me wrong, I court this attention and accept the flak for doing so, posting selfies and nodding my head when people call me narcissistic. It sounds like a cop out, but ESPECIALLY when I was starting out, the thing that kept me going was the selfies coming out of various fitness model’s social media accounts. The nights I was the only family member eating fish and veg, surrounded by bowls of pasta and bread, those half naked fitness models were my rock!
When I finally got into an iota of the shape they are in, I wanted to post similar images to inspire and motivate my followers, and yes, as a sort of celebration and congratulations to myself.
But with the inspiring and motivating force of these images came the ridicule and disdain. Comments like:
Ew, she’s so muscly she looks like a man!
She looks unhealthy! She shouldn’t be encouraging young girls to look like that!
She’s not even in shape?!?!
Very strange figure! Not attractive at all!
Women shouldn’t look like this! Women should be curvy. She has ruined her body!
She could have at least sucked it in before she took the photo!
Here’s how I see it: Everybody has their own taste and their own opinions of what looks good. What maybe attractive to some will be unattractive to others. Just because I have muscle, does not mean I think curvy girls need to lose weight, I consider MYSELF a curvy girl. Nor do I think that skinny girls need to gain weight, my best friend eats like a horse and she is tiny, it’s just the way she is and always has been. Women have the RIGHT to decide EXACTLY how they want to look. If it makes you happy, then go for it. The ONLY piece of advice I have is to keep your body HEALTHY.
So why on earth do we think it’s ok to slam others for the way they look? We either don’t have a choice as we were born this way, or we have CHOSEN our image as it makes us HAPPIER. So where is the justification in slamming that?!
Women in particular KNOW how hard it is to accept themselves the way they are, this difficulty deriving from the ridiculously unrealistic ideas of beauty the media PERSISTENTLY promotes today. So WHY are we buying into it and using it against each other? We are only making OURSELVES unhappier and applying more pressure.
My advice for anyone who is encountering harsh opinion of the way they look is this: If you are happy, hold onto that. If you are unhappy, change it. But whatever you do, do NOT let the single-mindedness of others box you in. Do you.