Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some thoughts on body image

Today's WOD:

5 rounds for time of:

15 pull-ups
20 push-ups
30 KB swings

My time: 19:35. Very painful. The swings killed my grip strength so I was doing sets of 2 and 3 on the pull-ups. Mostly sets of 2. I know I can do better than that, but at least I got through it.

Some Thoughts on Body Image

So some interesting stuff came up at the 9:30 class today. Specifically, the issue of body image.

It kills me to hear the things women will say about their bodies. The most beautiful woman in the world will find flaws in her body and tell you all about them. Today, I heard three women, all of whom are physically elite, extremely strong and lean and fit, say negative things about their bodies and express concern about their bodies changing in a way they don't like.

I think that, as women, we need to love our bodies no matter what.

Someone once said to me that you should not say something to or about yourself that you wouldn't say to or about someone you love. So I don't. I would never tell a friend that her thighs were too big, so I never said that to myself. Instead, I would say she was curvy, so I said that to myself. When I lost weight and my chest shrank down to pre-pubescent levels, I just laughed and said, I look slim and athletic now, and hey, models don't have breasts either. I think it is critical to use kind and positive words with ourselves and to understand that it is in our own power to love our bodies. It is not just about words, but it starts with words.

And it doesn't have to be empty statements, that self-affirmation crap. When you walk across a room, think about what you LIKE about your body. When people compliment you, thank them and smile. And BELIEVE them. It feels good. It doesn't make you a bad person. We're often raised to think that humility means denigrating ourselves. But there's a difference between being humble and being negative and self-destructive.

Every woman I train with is beautiful. They are beautiful because they are strong and disciplined and committed. They are beautiful because they are warm and supportive and kind. They are beautiful because they take care of their bodies. They are beautiful because beauty is subjective, and we see beauty where we look for it. I look for it, and I see it.


Jane said...

I think some women say negative things about their bodies because they know they can and should be doing more to become fit - I know it's true about me. Also, the aging process is a bit difficult to deal with - at least the physical consequences of getting older. I don't mind the supposed "wiser" part of the process - I find that the years have helped me develop patience and more hopeful perception of the world in general. But I do not particularly enjoy watching parts of me head south! Your words about body image are thought provoking - thank you - you are a wise woman.

rosanne said...

Thanks Doc, for the insight. For the most part I like my body, it's changed for the better in the past year +. I understand that we are all made up differently, lean out and build muscle differently, but I just want to be a little less "squatty" and a little more "petite". Which I think I should be, seeing I'm only 4'11". Though I know the reality is I will never be petite. Never have been, even as a little girl. I'm gonna start interviewing men about their views on women, just to see if they see what we see. Or do they just have a better perspective on it. I could be convinced.

Pili Grace said...

Beautifully said. So much of the time, even in CF gyms, women allow the media to tell them what is beautiful. I admit to having been one of them. Now I wouldn't trade my CF body for anyone else's. Sometimes I think that being self-critical has become an integral part of small talk among women. Men not so much! Take a look at the women men fantasize about. Look at comic books. These fictional, "perfect" women sure look a lot like Nicki Violletti, Shari Keener and Jolie Gentry. Thanks for this post!