Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Struggle to Gain: Body Shaming in All Forms

Standing in front of the mirror and being unhappy with the body of the woman staring back at you.  At some point, even if it's only for a brief period of time, we've all been there. Who are we kidding.  Whether it's that postpartum saggy skin, stretch marks, that little bit of cellulite that came out of nowhere, those not-so-perky-anymore boobies, or those scrawny stick legs with no muscle tone.  We're shown "perfection" our whole lives in magazines and on TV and live in a competitive society which makes us feel like we have to constantly improve.   Plus, as a woman, it's in our nature to be judgy and compare what we have to others.
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But when is it ok to turn that picking apart, that displeased, unhappy with your body view onto someone else?  To judge someone else's physical appearance.  To tell someone that they're "too skinny" or "too fat".  I mean, do you really even know their story?  You can try to walk in their shoes, but chances are they're not going to fit you anyway.  

For every woman wishing she had bigger legs, there's another who wants the opposite.  For every woman who hates her stretch marks, there's another who wishes she had them.  For every woman who thinks she's too bulky, there's another struggling to gain weight.  A woman is an enigma. She is strong, fierce, determined, but can also be very fragile.  Skin is not a very tough armor.  What you see on the outside isn't always what's on the inside. 

I've always been skinny.  It wasn't until the past couple years, and through my third pregnancy that I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I didn't want to be "skinny" or be judged for looking like I had an eating disorder, or worse, people assuming I had one.  I wanted to be healthy and fit.  I wanted to stop being envious of those girls who had arms that made tank tops look good, who had a butt that could fill out a pair of jeans. I wanted to change my body but I couldn't do it by sitting around and talking about it.  I had to take action.  

I did my research.  I needed to eat more.  I needed to consume about 2,500-3,000 cal/day.  Yes. This little bird eats on average 2,500 calories per day and on the upper end when I'm bulking or focusing on adding more muscle.  Let's face it, I'm trying to live in the bulking phase! Many people think you have to eat like a bird to "be skinny".  First of all, my goal is not "skinny". It's strong.  Second of all, to build muscle you need calories.  To burn fat, you have to fuel your body.  To LOSE WEIGHT you have to EAT!!!  And get this: the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is!  So, for me, that's a catch 22.  So I eat more.  But I'm not scarfing down cheeseburgers.  I'm eating sweet potatoes, rice, chicken, turkey burgers, veggies, eggs, oats, bananas, peanut butter.  Lots of peanut butter.  Do you know how difficult it is to eat 3,000 calories?  Especially when it's not donuts or McDonald's or a venti pumpkin spice latte with whip?  

But I digress.  My point is, everyone is on a journey.  Whether it's that that person is already down 200 lbs and has another 200 to lose or that they just started a fitness routine today, or that they've been struggling for years to gain weight, it's not up to you to judge them. Commend their efforts. Support them. Encourage them. Know that they are working on themselves and don't need any additional critiquing. And go back to that mirror.  Take a good, long look and decide if that person staring back is really in any place to be doing any judging to begin with. 

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About Ashley:
Ashley is a mommy to three beautiful girls, a wife to one amazing husband, a dog mom, a fitness coach, nurse, nursing student, a lifestyle changer, a motivator, an inspirer, a bikini competitor, a CEO, and a goal chaser. She loves to cook and bake, eat clean, and share her journey with others on her blog. Connect with her on Instagram or on Facebook for more about her busy life! 

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