I have long been interested in issues of women and their conceptions of their bodies, and how society fits into the picture and affects how we perceive beauty. I was thinking about this again today because Dr. Phil had a "Fat Debate" going on today, and it made me want to sort out my feelings on everything involved.
I have never at any time been what I considered thin, but looking back at photos, I see that during the end of my undergrad/going into my MFA program, I actually was in really good shape. For some women, being 165-170 lbs and a size 10 is cause for alarm, but I'm 5'10" and I've always had an athletic body. I used to be a runner, I love winter sports like cross country skiing and ice skating, and I've always enjoyed lifting weights and exercising. I come from the land of the Vikings--I'm not meant to be a size 2!
And that's what I was thinking about the most when I was watching Dr. Phil. One part of the debate was from the standpoint of body acceptance, no matter the size. That people should just learn to be comfortable with the body they have. I can't agree with that without qualifying it a bit. You should accept the body you were born to have, and make it the best you can. Not comparing yourself to people with personal trainers, personal chefs, and nutritionists. Not comparing yourself to people who've bought their body parts. Not comparing yourself to models. Or ANYONE else. Not every woman's body was created to be a size 0. But if that's what you naturally are, great!
The emphasis should be on accepting your body because it's different, special, takes you where you need to go, and all that good stuff. But unqualified acceptance doesn't challenge you--and without challenge, there is no improvement. You have to get a little uncomfortable in order to grow. Not just in exercise, but in everything.
If you've never put yourself in a vulnerable position, trying to do something that you know might be a reach for you, whether it be a job, meeting new people, whatever, you won't experience the joy of achieving something tough. Yeah, having my poems rejected from a journal sucks, but what am I going to do? Stop trying to share my poems with the world because it's scary? Hell no! Like Tony Horton says: "Do your best and forget the rest."
So yes, accept your body for what it is--curvy hips, athletic figure, small butt, short legs, big feet, small breasts, big breasts, whatever you have--but make sure you're the best, healthiest, happiest you you can be. That's how I'm operating.