I think it’s safe to assume many women have the “ideal” body pictured in their mind. Let’s be real here: we see these images of women’s bodies plastered over and over again on social media outlets, advertisements, TV, and magazines that it’s almost natural or immediate to form an idea in our own minds of what “beauty” is or what it “should” be. We learn messages and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us when we’re exposed to the same sort of message persistently and consistently. So, it makes *sense* that we begin to associate a women’s body with what society has taught us all along.
Rewind 5 years ago when I had the firm belief that I could actually alter my body to achieve this ideal body. For me, this meant the images I saw of women with a “toned” body, thicker thighs, a flat stomach, and a bigger booty. Sidenote: I’m cringing while typing this. And so I spent several years eating a very specific way and exercising a very specific way with the end goal of TRANSFORMING my body.
I began to see some “results.” And at first? I was pleased with myself. Pleased with my body. So yeah, maybe it IS possible to “obtain the body that we believe we want.” However, what are we sacrificing to get there?
What the results DO NOT show are the increased hours spent in the gym. The happy hours I ditched with friends. The cookies I passed up that my boyfriend baked. The food groups that I started to cut out, despite enjoying them. The increased amount of time I spent body checking and weighing myself. Oh, and weighing my food.
Again, these are the things that were NOT visible to the public; because the public eye just wants the results and the body that was achieved.
At the end of the day?
- Your body STILL might not respond in the same way as the chick’s bod on Instagram did! We all have individualized shapes, bone structures, and genetics that inevitably play a role in the way our bodies respond to food and exercise. This is where the notion of “if I eat and exercise like HER, then I’ll LOOK like her” sets us up for disappointment every. single. time.
- Was it worth it? Really though: is. it. worth. it? And if you answer “YES,” then I’m not here to judge. Ultimately, it’s your life and YOUR relationship with your body. For me personally? The “healthy lifestyle” I was living just wasn’t going to work anymore. Following the rigid rules and routine didn’t allow for the other more valuable things in my life to exist fully.
- THIS body you’re in RIGHT now may be exactly where you’re supposed to be! It is diet culture, social media, and other forms of pressure that cloud the possibility of body-acceptance.