I’ve been hemming and hawing about writing this post for a few days because I’m afraid I’m going to sound like a bit of a hypocrite. After talking through it with two teammates today, I think it’s time to own it and share some things.
This image has been circling my little corner of the interweb the last few days, shared by friends I know personally and by strangers in groups:
Ultimately, I’m not a fan if for no other reason than that these two women posed for these pictures with no intention of becoming a comparison, and I don’t think it’s fair to them. That aside, I’ve seen it spark some good conversation, and it’s really made me think about my body, how I look at other bodies, and my journey to loving the body I’ve built.
All Bodies Are Good Bodies
I believe this. I think it’s imperative that you can acknowledge that your body is good, especially in the society we live in today. At this point in my life, I love almost all the parts of my body. I have boulder shoulders, great traps, biceps/triceps with a smidge of definition, lats that exist even though I can’t flare them, a butt I’ve worked real hard for, quads and hamstrings bigger than most men, and calves that, while they make boot shopping hard, are awesome. I see these parts of my body and think “hell yeah, I worked for this!” I also see my belly every day, and I don’t love it so much. 60 pounds down and I still can’t bring myself to love that I don’t have a remotely flat abdomen. Instead, I remind myself that my belly helps me hold atlas stones and continental clean without cheating and is (usually) full of good food. My body could be “better,” but it’s still good the way it is now.
*Fun fact: I met a guy on Tinder who compared my legs to a Lambourghini (it wasn’t as creepy as it sounds when I type it), and I straight up told him that with the legs come the power belly and that better be okay. I promise I’m trying to embrace it y’all!
Be Good to Your Body
While I firmly stand behind the idea that all bodies are good bodies and that we must truly love our bodies, I have learned that we need to be good to our bodies too. This is where I struggle with but understand the sentiment of the aforementioned image. I am not a doctor, so I cannot say if those two women are “healthy,” but the judgment call being made in the photo is that they are not.
Weight certainly isn’t the be-all-end-all way to tell if someone is healthy, but I think it’s pretty common knowledge that both not weighing enough or weighing too much are bad for you. If you don’t weigh enough (aside from the risk of literally blowing away if you live in West Texas), your organs/bones aren’t getting everything they need to function properly. If you weigh too much, your organs and bones aren’t designed to withstand and maintain that kind of size.
*Sorry to my medically-inclined friends for this terrible dumbing down of health.
Where I grapple with feeling like a hypocrite is that I believe everyone should love their body while also taking care of it. I will never—NEVER—tell someone they’re too fat or need to put on weight. Again, I’m not a professional and that isn’t my call to make. There are people who look at my body and say I need to lose weight without ever knowing what I do. That being said, I can’t get behind the idea of justifying that being massively over or underweight is okay. I just cannot. Shoot, in my own sport I look at the world’s strongest men—Brian Shaw, Hafthor Bjornsson, Eddie Hall, etc—and while they’re SO impressive to watch compete, I worry that they won’t get to see their children (or in Thor’s case, his Pomeranian) grow up because their bodies aren’t sustainable right now.
“Good” Looks Different
What’s good for my body may not be good for your body, and that’s a-okay. I often get comments on Strongman videos of people worried about my back/knees/everything else because they’re not familiar with how a movement works (or they’re an internet coach who doesn’t know WTF they’re talking about). If yoga is your thing, rock on. If you like to run, more power to ya because this chick is only running if she’s being chased AND her life is in danger. And in all seriousness, if you’re 5’8” and 110 or 310 pounds and you get a clean bill of health from your doctor, do you, baby. We’ve gotta love the body we got while also treating it well in whatever way that works for who we are.
To close, the idea of body positivity, self love, and the All Bodies Are Good Bodies movement isn’t to talk about health, it’s to talk about squashing the stereotype that there’s one “right” type of body. I love that message. I don’t think that needs to be mutually exclusive with the idea that we should be taking care of our bodies as far health and wellness are concerned. I don’t have some deep way of ending this post other than to say that the body you have is the only one you’ve got, so work with it and for it.
Til next time,