I remember going to the doctor for a physical exam when I was about 12 or 13 years old. I needed to have one done before the volleyball season began. At that age, I was already 5’6″ and I weighed 127 lbs. I was definitely on the taller side – which actually crushed my dreams of ever becoming a jockey, but that’s for another time 🙂 . As the doctor was looking at the growth chart and making notes in my file, he says, “According to our chart, you’re considered overweight.”
Thankfully my mom is someone who always celebrated everything special and unique, and at that age, I knew I wasn’t overweight. I was fit and active – I just happened to be tall. While it didn’t faze me, it is something I have always remembered.
I’ve often wondered about other girls being told that same thing. Were they able to brush it off? Were they already struggling with their body, and a comment like that sent them over the edge?
My mom has always been tiny. She’s 5’3″, was a runner, and just had a slim figure. Women would tell her she was too skinny, which of course she laughed at, but it was something that she had to deal with all the time. I learned at a young age to love myself. Did that mean that it was always easy for me? Not at all. But it’s something that I’m thankful has always lived in the back of my mind.
Staying in shape was not something I worried about in high school. I was slender with an athletic build, and strong legs. I just always moved. My parents encouraged my brother and I to stay involved in physical activities, and it was normally not much of a struggle to get me involved in something. I enjoyed being social, even though I wasn’t very good at it, so sports forced me into that social setting. I also LOVED a good challenge. All of this made it so easy to stay in shape.
In college, like most, I made poor food choices, drank, and rarely did any physical activity. But you know what’s interesting? I was confident. I don’t ever remember worrying about my body or what people thought of it. And not that there was anything wrong with my body back then, I just know that I wasn’t making healthy decisions.
After college, I hit an all-time low and decided to really focus on getting healthy and in shape. I had jumped around from program to program, and finally settled in with a personal trainer. I lost weight and was at my leanest ever. As I was celebrating my new found body and strength, someone mentioned to my husband that he “needs to feed me more”. He just shrugged it off, but told me later about that conversation.
“Am I took skinny?”
“Of course not,” he responds. “That guy didn’t have any idea what he was talking about,”
Sure, ok, I think. People just don’t think before they speak.
Over the next 8 years I struggled with fitness. I’d go from being in really good shape, to not doing anything physical for weeks. Then spending one day exercising, only to not do it again for another month. I’d find something that worked, and I would have amazing results, but then cycle back to not doing anything.
When I was out of shape and at my heaviest, no one said anything to my face. No one would speak negatively to me. I did all of that on my own. But when I was in great shape, people felt it was their job to comment on my body.
I remember coming across this post that said “Real Women Have Curves”. And then not too long after something to the effect of, “Men don’t want to be in bed with a woman who feels like a man” aka a muscular woman.
This is actually what started me using the phrase “I feel like a badass”. I was tired of women with one body type trying to speak positively about their shape, but in the same breath shaming another group. I was tired of feeling bad about the body I worked so hard for. I was tired of all this negatively being thrown around. I was tired of seeing one woman feel badly about herself while another one celebrated her body. We all have different likes and dislikes when it comes to body types, there’s nothing wrong with that. What is wrong, is when we condemn someone for having a certain type of body.
While my focus now is aimed at helping people make healthy eating and fitness choices, I understand that healthy looks different on every body. No one is alike, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Let’s focus on what makes us amazing people, and not what we look like.
Be fearlessly badass.