Now being in my early 30s, I’ve certainly identified a massive shift in body image from my 20s. In my 20s, my view and opinion on myself, and others, were a lot different…
In my early to mid 20s, everyone seemed to focus on being “skinny”, eating as little calories as possible, not wanting to get “fat”. I remember eating one meal a day in between my split shifts at work, and not eating breakfast because I thought skipping it would keep me looking thin. Not only was there this warped mentality with diet, there was this way of thinking when it came to training. Doing anything that would keep me thin, god forbid that my butt stuck out and my quads got bigger. I shared this same way of thinking with many other females at my commercial gym at the time. It was always about the next 12 week “slimming” challenge, the latest bikini diet or low fat food options.
For me and many other women my age, there was a constant struggle with how we looked, and I honestly believe that these thought processes lead us into being more reliant on other people, particularly of the opposite sex. For a very long time, the media has made women feel obligated to be a certain way: the way we look, the way we eat, the way we should train…
Towards my late 20s, there was an increased popularity in female weight training (bodybuilding, fitness modelling). Women were slowly realising that lifting weights had so many benefits. I also started to notice people’s self esteem increase and women be more proud of their muscles, shapes and curves. There was still a huge focus and negativity towards diet though. Constantly being in a calorie deficit was the “in” thing. Maintaining this eating pattern was supposed to be a normal way to live…
Coming from a post comp diet “blow out” myself, it was refreshing to see that somewhere along the line women
started to be proud of training hard and eating to match their energy output. Strength training and eating well is now the norm in the wider community. Indulging and eating to satisfy the needs to a body that is growing muscle and wanting to increase strength is a regular, everyday thing. Recognising that women are all shapes, sizes and strength levels. Understanding that just because our abs aren’t visible, it doesn’t mean we don’t have them!!
I’ve made jokes since coming to a strength sport, that being lean isn’t functional. It’s an option, yeah it looks good, but it doesn’t define who we are as athletes, competitors, or members of society. It’s not the be all and end all.
I feel lucky to have been able to see the shift in mentalities, and watch the trends change on social media over the years. I really believe that we have so much to celebrate together, and hope more women change their way of thinking.
Don’t forget to use our hashtags on your training photos and videos