Being proud of your body is nothing to be ashamed about

by Jennifer Hudy on July 30, 2014

in Body Image, CrossFit, Skinny Girl Problems

First off, I appreciate the overwhelming number of positive comments regarding my last post about the haters I recently experienced. You all were awesome at defending me and saying just the right things to outweigh the hurtful comments, and is makes me love my community, online and offline, that much more. I have no problem speaking my mind on my blog or elsewhere; I like what I like; I like who I like; I like me and I’m comfortable with my choices.
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I am all for this movement about being comfortable in your own skin. Embracing the body that you have while on a quest for the body that you want. But on the other hand, there seems to be shaming against those that do have the body they want. Self-shaming. Fat shaming. Fit shaming. It all really just needs to stop.

An article floating around came out the other day about how you shouldn’t strive to look like fitness models as they must be starving themselves and doing unhealthy things to get there. I understand the intent; that fitspo can have adverse affects and that there are people who will go to unhealthy extremes to look a certain way. But what about those of us that have worked hard the right way and are loving the results? Those that feel comfortable with the so-called “pornification” that many have negative commentary on?

I did a “sexy” fitness-themed photo shoot for my 32nd birthday, with just about no extraordinary aesthetic prep beforehand. The days coming up to this fitness shoot, I was on vacation and binged on burgers and donuts. I did one workout in five days, a quick 21-15-9 of KB swings and KB squats, and took one six-mile walk. The result was not anything detrimental. There was no starving or crazy cardio for a last-minute fix. And while the photos may have airbrushed some flaws, and the lighting just right, this is still completely my body.

I think fitspo can be detrimental and can send out the wrong message to girls who think that is the way they are “supposed” to look. But most of us will never look like those girls, and that is okay. You shouldn’t have to strive for a thigh gap or aim for long and lean limbs, a flat stomach with a visible six-pack. But I love the body I have and love what it does. You should love your body you have and love what it does. And never be sorry for that.

If there has one thing that I have learned since doing Crossfit, it is that there is so much more that goes into play with how you look, workouts aside. Diet is a major factor; so are rest and recovery, stress levels, sleep. If you do things the right way, the body will follow. With no weight loss or major transformation story, my journey to an aesthetically happy place hasn’t taken long. But for some people, it may take years, but it is finding that happy place and being confident and comfortable with the journey, not just a focus on the end-result.

But that doesn’t mean I do not have a right to embrace the body I have because, shallow or not, I earned it.

The worry is that what women see in fitness magazines teaches them that what they are seeing is possible for them too. Women are desperate to be published in fitness publications, to be glorified into eternity through a photo. Women will do anything to get there. They will starve themselves to get lean enough to be able to see all muscular definition, they will experiment with recreational and pharmaceutical drugs, they will prostitute themselves to judges and more, just to make it.”

I have done no such thing as mentioned above, yet despite no visible six-pack or stick-thin thighs, I think my body looks darn good. I eat 2500 calories a day, have never taken any sort of diuretic or weight loss drug, and the muscular definition I have is because I lift heavy, not because I have starved my body to get it here. I do not work out for aesthetics, yet I will not complain about what my body is doing. I do not target areas or look to tone or shape. I just workout. And this is what happens.

A coach of mine once told me, as I mentioned in a prior post, “You can control the workouts that you do. You can control the food that you eat. But you cannot control the number on the scale.”

Similarly, you cannot control how your body is going to react to certain workouts. I can do the same workouts at the same lifts as the girl next to me at the box. We can eat the same things, get the exact amount of recovery and work the same amount of mobility. And our bodies can look completely different.

I think if you are doing the right things, however your body looks is doing to be what looks best for your body.

I’ve heard a few girls recently tell me they don’t want to be bulky. Girls that do Crossfit. Girls with natural genetics with an athletic build that I envy, yet physically will likely never be able to look like due to my smaller frame. Genetically speaking, her body may get a bit “bulky,” compared to other girls, but that probably will look great on her body. Another wants to have a dancer or ballerina body. That my never happen, because genetically that is not how she is built.

When you commit to functional fitness and eat for performance and health, your body is going to do whatever it is going to do, and that you may not have any control over the outcome. But the end result on how YOUR body looks is going to be what looks best for YOU, and you should be more than happy with that over time. The article questions,

When will it be acceptable to lift heavy, building confidence and brainpower while strengthening your body, not concerning yourself with how cute your bottom looks in booty shorts?

What’s wrong with being comfortable with how you look in booty shorts? Why can’t you lift heavy, build confidence and brainpower and want to look good doing it?

I love my body.

And I do not think it is perfect and I do not think it is done transforming. But I am proud of it and think it does depict strength and confidence.

I think fitspo can be detrimental and can send out the wrong message to girls who think that is the way they are “supposed” to look. But most of us will never look like those girls, and that is okay. You shouldn’t have to strive for a thigh gap or aim for long and lean limbs, a flat stomach with a visible six-pack. But I love the body I have and love what it does. You should love your body you have and love what it does. And never be sorry for that.

And yes, pictures like above may be “sexualizing” my fitness, and may be projecting the very image of “fitspo” that I so much despise; but why not embrace where I am? Why not want to show off what I have worked hard to achieve? My “working hard” is eating clean about 80% of the time, lifting 4-5x a week, and aiming for 8 hours of sleep. I am not stressing out about what I look like or what my body is doing. I am not doing anything extraneous to get to where I am.

I own that booty. And I am proud to show off my shoulders. And even if I will never look jacked and it would take a heck of a lot of work to put on more mass, I accept and embrace what I have. I love to wear short shorts. And sometimes I strip my shirt off in a workout. And sometimes, I take way too many selfies..

booty shorts

I think fitspo can be detrimental and can send out the wrong message to girls who think that is the way they are “supposed” to look. But most of us will never look like those girls, and that is okay. You shouldn’t have to strive for a thigh gap or aim for long and lean limbs, a flat stomach with a visible six-pack. But I love the body I have and love what it does. You should love your body you have and love what it does. And never be sorry for that.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary
Twitter: inmyheadspace
July 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm

I would never put your new photos in the Fitspo category. Gorgeous, sexy, sure but the F word! I see your body image as strong and fit. There is no promoting thigh gap, bikini bridge ( I just learned this one! OMG! Ha!).
Everyone has their own concept of beauty and I think we all need to support each other….even if one person’s version differs from another. Instead of getting frustrated with a friend over them complaining about not being skinny enough or not getting in to shape fast enough, I try to say something uplifting to them instead and remind them they are awesome!
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Jen @Chase the Red Grape July 31, 2014 at 6:04 am

Great post – so true.
If you eat clean, train and do everything to maintain physical and mental health then whatever body you have is the one you are meant to have. Sometimes this is hard to admit – esp when I look at other girls at the box who have amazing ripped abs and lift so much heavier than me and I can’t understand ‘why I don’t’. But you know what, I am doing everything that is the best for me, so my body is a result of that, and I am proud of my lifestyle and fitness.

We should not be ashamed of living a healthy life!
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Nicole
Twitter: mast2mar
July 31, 2014 at 10:08 am

Never heard of the word “fitspo” till I read this post! I don’t think of you as whatever that word “means”, you are pursuing your passion and your body is showing how it is responding/adapting to make that possible! And if I did end up choosing to do CF one day (for a sustained period of time), I know I would be one of those “muscular” girls since I am tall and do have a larger frame (e.g. SUPER broad shoulders, structured jackets = a pain to find that fits) and have a pretty easy time gaining muscle . Would be interesting if someone did an experiment showing how even one body changes depending on the choice of fitness, like if they just strictly ran or did CF for a year. And I’m glad you got lots of positive support to outweigh the baddies :)
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~jenniferlynn July 31, 2014 at 10:11 am

You never heard of fitspo? Eek.. google and you will find a million and one things that you will not be able to unsee!

Def sounds like a good experiment to do! Maybe you can blog about it ;) I think it would be hard to switch a program for an extended period of time though.. like I love what I do too much to try and commit to something totally different, but would be really interesting!!

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Shelly July 31, 2014 at 11:45 am

I agree on all accounts. I definitely don’t think that your photos can be categorized as “fitspo”, they are too tasteful for that! ;) And in re: to how eating and training impacts everyone’s body differently, that is so true. You can’t change your genetics, but you can make gains, loses and improve your overall health and appearance according to your own personal preferences and lifestyle.
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GiGi Eats
Twitter: dubagee
July 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm

I love my body because it allows me to do so much, even if I am dead exhausted – I am still capable of doing far more than lots and lots of people. Sure there are a few areas I would love to be different, but I embrace and own everything I have!!!! I thank my body every single day, not just by outloud saying THANK YOU – yes I am a crazy person and do that, lol – but I feed my body the best foods and I get lots of sleep and work out! :) I AM NOT ASHAMED of my body AT ALL!
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~jenniferlynn July 31, 2014 at 6:46 pm

An you’re dreaming adorable and fun and so loveable!

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Beki August 4, 2014 at 8:11 pm

I have had a longer journey to get to a place where I love my body. There are still those days that I struggle with it. But yes, all the body shaming has to stop. I am much happier in my skin now at 140 lbs, lifting weights and eating healthier – than I was at 127 lbs restricting calories and eating food from boxes.

I love that you took these pictures! I took similar pictures 6 years ago, way before I started my fitness journey, and I can’t wait to hit my personal body goal so that I can take them again! They are fun and empowering, in my opinion!

You look amazing! You *should* love your body. Anybody who shames you for doing so, should take a good look in the mirror and figure out why they need to be all judge-y. :)
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