“Nobody wants to see this body in a bathing suit”. “I’m too chunky to wear that”. “Does this make me look fat?” Most women, I would venture to guess, have uttered one or more of those statements about their bodies. I have said them all and have also heard them spoken by beautiful women of all shapes and sizes. And lately, I have been thinking about the sheer nonsense associated with this. And although I can rant about it, I sadly am not immune to it. It is a constant barrage in these times, media of all types showing us what we “should” look like and heaven forbid if we don’t fit the mold. The truth is, we are all created differently and it is actually our uniqueness that makes us special. So why are we all aspiring to look just like the models and celebrities with the “perfect” size 0 bodies, 6-pack abs and perky breasts? PS. – they all have personal chefs and personal trainers, not to mention plastic surgeons at their beck and call. So why is this the standard, especially when the average woman is closer to a size 10 or 12? Why is there so much pressure for women to have a “perfect” body, even (especially!) if our bodies have done amazing things such as BIRTHING CHILDREN?

I recently signed up (okay, I will admit I was somewhat coerced) to help out with my son’s class field trip to the YMCA swimming pool. Because I’m a work at home mom with flexibility, I am “lucky” to be able to help out on field trips including this one. However, this particular field trip meant that I would need to wear a bathing suit, so naturally I had some reservations. So many of the thoughts I posted above flew like a flurry through my mind, and I really desperately wanted to say I was busy. (I also think pools are gross, but thats a whole different topic!) Now, I do not have a “perfect” body by any means, but I’m a petite size 4/6 which means that my “concerns” about wearing a bathing suit are probably moot enraging to most of human civilization. However, I am far from alone in being “small”, yet STILL UNCOMFORTABLE with my body. The fact that I still often question if I “look fat” (as a size 4!!!) makes me realize that it has nothing to do with size and everything to do with perception.  Many other moms applauded my “good-mom-bravery” and laughed off the thought of themselves ever volunteering on a swimming field trip (because “no-one wants to see this in a bathing suit”). All of these moms are beautiful (some of them were very tiny, but its SO not about that). I wish we all could live free of these chains of not being good enough, and do things we want to do without thinking twice. I also noticed MANY men around me during this field trip, and I must say, that none of them had fitness magazine-worthy bodies, yet none of them were cowering in the corner of the pool trying to cover up their bodies like so many women do. Why is there such a double standard? But, I digress…

I wonder when things shifted. Since when is our worth based on our appearance? Why do we have to spend our lives hiding our stomach rolls? Newsflash: even slim people have tummy rolls when sitting, its called skin and its a natural displacement of said skin. (Don’t even get me started on “side boob” or “back fat” in a sports bra – if you wear something tight it likely will make your skin bulge where its tight, or its not doing its job! Let it go!) Why are we teaching our fellow sisters that we should be considered any less acceptable if we don’t fit the “perfect body shape”.  Your perfect body shape is the one that you were given, and if you are healthy and strong and confident, your body is perfect. Yes, of course we should take care of our bodies as best as we are able – which means both nourishing your body with good foods and taking care of yourself through some kind of physical activity. The problem is that we don’t love ourselves where we are at and instead of embracing the journey, we hide or put ourselves down. We worry about others judging us and what others may think much more than we should. Hard truth: everyone else is far more wrapped up with themselves and their own worries than they are in judging anyone else. So why do we waste our energy on these worries? Why do we let the media tell us what we should look like? We are not all created the same, so why should we all be expected to look the same?
There is so many people out there shaming people for what they look like, and they come in all shapes and sizes themselves and seem to be able to find something to criticize in nearly anyone. Whether you’re big or small, short or tall, slight or muscular, there always
seems to be someone out there telling you there is something wrong with you. d07c668296c4c6ab8c55d052ec1df2ac If you don’t have a flat tummy but instead have extra weight, you’re told its gross or even blocked by social media for ridiculous reasons . Even skinny girls are told they don’t measure up because they are too skinny! How is this possible? The fact that women get so wrapped up in attaining these standards may even result in others thinking they may even have the right to tell us when we are attractive or not. Its not anyone’s job to tell someone else they are unattractive and its not only subjective but completely unacceptable. Yet this kind of cruelty  is happening all the time. Why do people feel they have this “right” to treat other humans as less-than?!

I am also in shock that the media is telling girls how to dress and what is attractive for their body shape at such a young age. In fact I was quite outraged when reading about this magazine article geared towards telling 8-12 year olds how to choose a “flattering swimsuit” for their body type. The only consideration for an 8 year old’s swimsuit should be weather it fits well and functions properly.  But the assault on positive body image is literally targeting girls younger and younger all the time. Its no small wonder that women have so many eating disorders, warped relationships with food and exercise, and poor body images.

Can we all just agree that we ALL need to love our bodies (and accept others) for what they can do, not only what they look like? It is important to put in the effort to be healthy, strong and capable. It is important to eat well to fuel your body so that you can live well. It is important to have balance in our lives. It is NOT truly important to have that “perfect” body, certainly not if it takes away from other more important aspects of life. When we are older and we look back on life, I’m certain that we will not be thinking “I wish I had a more perfect magazine worthy body”.  Most of the time, the photo we pull out of the magazine or pin on Pinterest as “motivation” is photoshopped anyways! We put way too much pressure on ourselves to measure up, and even if we appear to be the “right size”, we still feel like we are somehow unattractive.


We also spend a lot of our lives wishing we could turn back the clock. We wish at 30 that we could “look as good as I did when I was 20”, even though at 20 we felt like we were fat and ugly, and wanted to look older and more sophisticated. Its like we spend so much time wishing we were something different instead of just loving ourselves and enjoying our lives and this is the problem. I have looked back many times at old photos of myself where I distinctly remembering how super fat and unattractive I felt, yet as I look back, I can see there was nothing wrong with me. I looked FINE. But that feeling of not measuring up was so strong at that time. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, it is a sad reality that in general we probably look pretty darn awesome right here and now and we fail to appreciate it! There are too many unrealistic expectations for women and so many standards we struggle to meet lest we be deemed unattractive. Let’s make a change!
My friends, I want you to bring to mind some wise women, the fabulous seniors in the pool at aqua fitness class (any class, anywhere). They have a particular wisdom I’m after and we should all aspire to have – the wisdom that acknowledges that they can get in a swimsuit in public, and not give TWO HOOTS that they have wrinkles, saggy skin, excess fat, or less-than-“perfect 10” bodies. They know that other people’s “opinions” don’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of life. They have the wisdom to know that their body shape is not what is important- rather, their HEALTH and what their body can do is what matters. They know that good health is what allows them to live in relationship, and that our relationships are what are truly important in life. These amazing women embrace the spirit in which I want so fiercely to live out my life.


So my fellow sisters, let’s create a revolution. I challenge you to rethink your body image and all of those concerns you have on a regular basis and I challenge you to let it go. Let’s live a life free of the worries that oppress most women. Let’s live a life where we forget about what others think about our appearance and worry only about living in the moment. Let’s focus on the relationships. Lets create a life where we don’t worry about our tummy, our muffin top, our arm giggle or our cellulite. Let’s live our life to the fullest and be free to love ourselves and be proud of what our bodies can do. Let’s accept that we are a work-in-progress, embrace the journey we are on, and truly be our unique selves. Next time I catch myself criticizing my body, or being negative about my body (or anyone else’s) I’m going to STOP, DROP {it}, and {love my} ROLL(s). I hope you will consider doing the same.



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