Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gonna Make You Sweat.

“But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.” -- Tina Fey, Bossypants

I like this quote for a number of reasons. It is so very true that we try to hold ourselves up to impossible standards. You have seen the digital alteration of models to make them look better. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hibyAJOSW8U]

Even worse when they alter a woman's figure into something unobtainable. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq5sVyTpbmI]

Lately there has been a movement entitled Thinspiration. The idea is pretty and fit(mostly skinny) girls showing off with hard work what they now look like.

There is also an anti-thinspriation buzz where they deride these girls saying that starving yourself to try and reach a body that isn't possible or unhealthy.

They are both right.

And they are both wrong.

I fully understand women come in all shapes and sizes. It is physically impossible to all be 5'6", 110 lbs and a size 4 or even 2.

Which brings us to why I am talking about this anyway.

Recently I had been feeling, well for lack of a better term, fat.

Not that I actually was, but I was feeling lethargic and bloated. I still watch my diet and I was still walking a lot. It just seemed as if my body was just caring extra weight and/or flab around.

Something also occurred to me as I was pondering this a few weeks ago and noting my weight was sitting a bit on the higher side. One I was I have reached the two and a half hear mark of being on HRT. While I haven't avoided activity I haven't exactly done a lot of higher intensity stuff as I used to. Knowing this, I felt that this was sufficiently a long enough period to say that my body had change and really wasn't like it used to be.

Suffice it to say I had shifted form the influence of testosterone and wasn't feeling the easy calorie burn anymore. I was feeling blah.

So the time had come to add something to my routine. I can still eat sensibly and keep walking, i just needed a little more. I found this:

Do this first thing in the morning before  
your brain knows what you are doing
Do 2x:  50 Jumping Jacks --  5 Pushups  --   
20 situps or crunches  --  20 Mountain climbers  --
30 second plank  --  7 burpees

If you are not familiar with some of the exercises I highly suggest googling them. I like this because it is simply and fast. I do this first thing in the morning it takes me 15 minutes. (I am not trying to do it fast I have long held that taking the time and doing an exercise in a controlled fashion is far more productive than trying to speed through it.) I than can hop into the shower and start getting ready for work. I am in week four and I can tell you it is HARD. That first week was killer as I have been doing it five days a week.

The effort as already been felt. My body needed this extra work. I am enjoying it. I already feel better but I know it will take time to really see the results. I must keep the following in mind.

Now the list was compiled with women in mind. The picture with it is classic thinspiration thinking. Work out like this, look like that.

This is where they are wrong.

I'll never look like that, it just isn't in my shape or DNA.

That doesn't mean I have to accept the out of shape feeling I was having. Which is where I disagree with the anti-thinspiration crowd.

I am not a size 16 nor am I a 2. I am solid 8 and I am more than happy at that. Yet I want to stay there comfortably. I won't starve myself, but I started eating healthier several years ago. Now I am just wanting to increase my fitness level to say their easily and not feel so guilt when I consume something yummy.

This is why I feel the anti-thinspiration mindset is right. Embrace your body both good and bad. Learn to love it and find ways to feel good about it.

Just don't fall into the trap that fat is beautiful that I see quite often on these types of sites.

You are not going to be a size two the thinspiration crowd would like you to think. But that doesn't mean you have to let yourself to. Take care of that body. It is the only one you have. So be the best size 2 or size 16, or wherever else you fall. Just do take care of it. Don't starve yourself, just eat better. Get some exercise.

Find that balance. Really these two groups need to come together. A happy medium is the best place for you to be at. You'll feel better, which means you will look better to others around you. Find an exercise program that works for you and watch what you eat, but enjoy yourself from time to time too.

Don't be something you can't but don't be miserable about it either.

You need that body to go out and enjoy life. Best take care of it.


Kelly said...

Amen - great post! And for what it's worth, you can't beat walking and taking the stairs every chance you get. It adds up!

Stace said...

Great post! I especially love the bit about beating the people stil sitting on the couch. I am going to have to use this when we try to get people to join the company team for the run next year.

Mind, I feel a fraud... I have terrible body image, as the lovely Mrs Stace can attest to (she gets annoyed at me complaining of my size...)