** DISCLAIMER: While it is entirely possible to be both thin and fit at the same time and there are a vast number of people (my 20 something self included) who are genetically predisposed to ‘thin-ness’ this article pertains to the idea that ‘thin-ness is the ONLY possible outcome of a fitness oriented lifestyle.
In a nutshell.
– Being thin is not and should not be considered as the pinnacle of success with regards to fitness and fitness training.
– Idealised social media imagery is (unsurprisingly) affecting our mental health.
– Fitness should be the pursuit of personal betterment, not idealised body ideals.
Fitness is NOT thinness.
Have you ever heard of Tia-Clair Toomey ? She competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio Di Janeiro and the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast. Adding to an already impressive acumen she is the current GLOBAL womens Crossfit champion. Her record time for the Crossfit workout FRAN is a mind boggling 2 minutes 13 seconds. Tia-Clair Toomey is the pinnacle of womens fitness and she is not, by ANY stretch of the word ‘thin’. The same can be said for Donna Moore. The English super mum who stormed the weight lifting world to become the worlds strongest woman after only two years of training! What about Serena Williams? Arguably the most celebrated female athlete EVER. Once again she definitely doesn’t fall into the ‘thin’ category. These women are at the top of their game, they have reached the absolute pinnacle of success in their respective fields and they are DEFINITELY not losing sleep about whether they’re thin or not. So why do we?
The Lion in lambs clothing.
Recent studies demonstrate that exposure to photos of idealised ‘thin’ bodies produce an upsurge in body dissatisfaction and notable negative effects on mood. Of course it only takes the shortest scroll through literally ANY instagram feed before we are subjected to an avalanche of this type of content. Adding further fuel to the fire they’re oftentimes accompanied by guilt inducing quotes and digitally altered to further lengthen the gap. Under the guise of motivation these materials overhwhelmingly focus on body image, weight stigmatisation or guilt inducing messages around food. The insinuation that one must conform to a body shape that is anything but their own is as absurd as it is dangerous. It’s time to accept that imagery that emphasises beauty ideals and objectification is not #fitspiration. Furthermore this imagery should be recognised as a part of the problem and definitely not the cure.
Serena Williams – not ‘thin’ still killing it.
So what next?
I’m about to propose something radical. If you are not a naturally ‘thin’ person, you should not be torturing yourself with the sole goal of ‘being thin’, ‘losing weight’ or ‘getting skinny’. You should work out how to decouple your exercise regimen from aesthetics alone. You should be exercising for fitness, whatever that looks like! Workout to get healthy, to excel in your field or to achieve something. Only seeking thinness will never provide you with satisfaction. Take a leaf out of Tia-Clair Toomey’s book and use your body to achieve something other than the approval of random strangers! Do what you love to the best of your ability and the fitness will come with it. If you’ve always wanted to be a swimmer do that! A pole dancer? A football player? ANYTHING. Whatever it will take to bring a little joy to your life and break a sweat at the same time. Fitness is not restricted to thinness and never will be.
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