I have never been one to be faithful to sport, exercise or any kind of movement whatsoever. Well, besides running around after my kids, but I don't think that counts. Or does it? Oh, and let's not forget walking around shopping centers in super high heels. Yep, that should definitely count as exercise. Anyway, in order to get rid of the 10 or so pounds left of flab I still had on my body post maternity (second baby, Mikaela Natascha born Feb 08), I joined a fitness club near my office so I could go and work out before going to work. At that point in time, I had a new found respect for waking up at 5am to rush to the gym and have a full two hour work out before work. Awesome, right? Are you feeling the urge to applaud? OK, now, hands down please. It only lasted three months... :) *cheeks blushing in embarrassment*
Anyway, from day one of starting the whole gym thing, I noticed one thing. More women were members of this gym than men. I had this idea in my head that men would dominate the fitness world, with them hovering over the bench lifting weights and trying to have six packs or eight packs or chocolate bar abs, or whatever they call it now. Oddly enough however, I only found 4 men working out that morning, while 19 women (excluding me) were buzzing around the gym. And if you think they were sitting together gossiping or chit chatting, you are so wrong. None of them even spoke a word to each other, and were dead seriously working out. Except for me, naturally, I was too busy observing.
From day two onwards to day 45, I still saw the same women every single time. What amazed me was, I only worked out twice a week - and that was already enough to cause aches and pains all over my obviously untrained body - but these women worked out every day, seven days a week! Not a single day off unless truly sick, the kind of sick that would keep them strapped to their beds. I couldn’t understand this for the life of me.
Curiously, I started asking them while in the locker room after the sauna and showers. Woman A said, “I have to, if I don’t work out, my legs start getting all flabby and my husband gets completely turned off!” while woman B said, “I didn’t used to work out every day, but my wedding day is in 67 days so I have to make sure I fit into my dress properly. I purposely made it 2 sizes smaller”. Ok then!
Woman C had a completely different reason, “ I have a health condition, so I have to make sure I exercise at least 45 minutes a day, but light exercise” similar to woman D who was only walking on the treadmill everyday for 35 minutes because that is what she did at physical therapy anyway, and felt it was cheaper to join a gym. But woman E through to woman S all had one thing in common with woman A and B: they felt the need to be slim.
Why is it such a prerequisite these days that in order to be looked at, to be liked, to be attracted to and to feel good about yourself, there is a need to look into the mirror and be able to recognize and say, “I am slim” or even some to the extreme of “I am skinny”? Who says you look better when you're slim?
OK, maybe it's because I am not exactly skinny either that I feel so strongly about this. But I never understood it - and believe me, I am one of those people who insists that I need to be slim. That's why my recent posts on Twitter and Facebook have been all about the guilt in eating what I want in the portion that I want , and the guilt is has grown more and more ridiculous by the day.
I recently posted a question, asking if it was better to eat less and feel hungry and pissed all day, or to eat more and feel guilty all day. Almost everyone answered "eat more" seemingly to say that they didn't care about looks and simply wanted to be happy, but I know for a fact that those people who answered also look into their mirrors every single day and wished they were model-like skinny.
In Sunday School, we were taught to love ourselves no matter who we were, in whatever shape, size, color we came in, because we were created unique and special - yet we hate being different anyway. Our parents have taught us that beauty lies in the inside, i.e brains, heart, passion, love and not looks - yet everyday we fear going to school because the skinny and popular girls at school would pick on us for being a bit heavy. Articles in magazines and newspapers talk about real women, real curves, being proud of your body - yet we turn to the other page, see a model in a bikini and feel bad about ourselves. Celebrities have blogged about loving their so-called cellulite and curves, and say it's OK to be size 2, 4, 6, 8 - whatever. But then they too, turn around and go the skinny route, flashing their bones on the red carpet.
Folks, I have a dream. I dream that one day, we'll all be truly happy with who we are. I dream that the world would not judge us for being larger than a size 0, and that people would really see past everything physical and love us for who we are inside. I dream that we can all accept and just be grateful of what we look like... Flesh, fat, cellulite and all, and happily eating carbs even though we know our jeans size may go up afterwards - because the size won't matter.
Who's with me?!