All bodies are good bodies. I have gained weight recently due to a combination of mental and physical reasons that I feel I need to justify… but why?! My weight does not affect my worth as a person, my ability to be a good friend, do my job or how strong I am – physically and mentally. Yet I am pressured to be put in this box.
I’ve written before about how diet and shape ideals are a way to keep modern women small and preoccupied with their outward appearance before they can be taken seriously as a person (see Fat Is A Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach). Body image is not just a female issue, whether male or female there are media and advertising campaigns designed specifically to question your shape, weight and food choices.
Body satisfaction has been linked to better overall wellbeing and fewer unhealthy dieting behaviours (but why wouldn’t companies want that? – because we wouldn’t buy their products!). Poor body image = more money poured into the diet industry. ONE THIRD of UK adults say they have felt depressed or anxious over body image.
Weight Training has been shown in MULTIPLE studies to be effective in improving body image concerns. In one study 41% of those who weight trained displayed body image improvements straight away (Depcik, 2010) and in another strength training was associated with significant improvements in several dimensions of body image, health related quality of life and physical activity behaviours – particularly older women (Seguin, 2013). There are numerous others that prove strength training should be the number one port of call for anyone struggling with their body image (Ahmed 2002, Speck 2010, Waldof 2017 – and MANY more).
Your body does not need FIXING. Focus on strength and performance achievements, feel your body get STRONGER and fall in love with the miracle that it truly is; a bunch of cells in which every single one is working hard to keep you alive. Love what your body can DO, not how it looks when it is doing it.
“I wish we cold treat our bodies as a place we live from, rather than regard it as a place to be worked on. As though it were a disagreeable old kitchen in need of renovation” Susie Orbach.