I was recently having a cuppa with a friend of mine, and that horrid female ritual started taking place in which we constantly degrade ourselves. We started listing off the body parts we didn’t think were perfect like a scene from Mean Girls. Usually, unfortunately, this behaviour washes over me, and despite having found a fairly happy place over the last 12 months with my figure, who I am and the way I look, I’ve come to join in with these negative self talk sessions as it seems the done thing.
Bad Bel. *Slaps wrist*
But this fateful day, the conversation took a turn I wasn’t expecting. My gorgeous friend, who’s recently started running, began complaining about her thighs. More specifically about how running was making them fat.
Now, my fellow internet dwellers, this statement confused me.
I looked to her and said “that’s muscle, your thighs are getting muscular because you’re running – thats good!”. Alas, she didn’t seem to see the difference, and began throwing around phrases like, dare I say it, “thigh gap”.
As I type this I still sit here dumfounded. I believed that, as a society, we were taking the right steps into encouraging health and strength over sickness. But maybe my world has just been taken over by fitness inspo and I can’t see whats right in front of me.
As women, as people, there are pressures on us all to look a certain way, and I am the first to admit (especially working in an industry that idolises celebrities and models alike) that we can let ourselves occasionally wish upon a star that we did in fact have Miranda Kerr’s ankles, or Beyonce’s flat-as-hell stomach (I mean – come on). But I draw the line at wishing ourselves weak.
Strength is the most beautiful and empowering thing. In all its forms. Don’t look at your toned thighs and complain that they don’t resemble stick insects, be glad that they can get you from A to B without you crumpling into a heap. (Because I seriously watched an episode of Americans Next Top Model the other day, and there was a contestant who’s legs were so freaking thin that she actually struggled to walk in heels because they were too weak.)
I try my hardest to give my body what it needs and deserves. I move lots, I eat well, I guzzle water and I’m starting to talk to it right. (Yes, I talk to my body, I’m an only child ok – I had to learn to adapt).
I know it can be hard, and I know we are fed a lot of crap about fitting in. There are entire industries out there that are bred to tell us we have to be skinny. But I am telling you, you have to be healthy. And that is all. (And hey, I am the most important person ok? So ignore all those other guys.)
Try (although it can be very hard) to find your happy place. Mine, if this helps at all, is a post workout glow sitting in front of a big ol’ bowl of scrambled eggs. I am not going to pretend that I always love the hill sprints and mountain climbers, my happy place doesn’t kick in until well after burpees are over. But it is the satisfaction I take from having given myself (both mentally and physically) something that it needed.
Sorry guys, this post got a little emotional. But I guess, when it comes to my friends, and how they view themselves, it can be tough not to jump on the couch (Tom Cruise style), pointing and shouting “F**K you, you’re incredible, if you loved yourself half as much as I do, you would punch yourself right in the nose for telling your body off for doing what it is meant to”.
It’s been a bit of a friends appreciation week all up in here. And yes, threatening to punch people is my way of appreciating them.