Hey swole sister (Screw you carrot stick, I’m eating peanut butter)

Peanut butter sits on somewhat of a food pedestal (if you will) in the bodybuilding world, thanks to its awesome protein content and good fats, plus lets face it, it’s delicious. I will confess to raiding the peanut butter jar in between meals armed with nothing but a shameless spoon, and a large one at that.

It was not always the way though. Once upon a time I would have run away from such rich and crunchy treats in favour of a lettuce leaf, or glass of tears (my own, from being so hungry). My most formative years in terms of body awareness and general social acceptance occurred in the 90’s.

I became aware of what my peers deemed ‘cool’ whilst listening to The Cranberries and Live, and later Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam. When I was about 13 I joined the multitudes of young (and old) women who obsessed over Johnny Depp, and by association Kate Moss, whom he was dating at the time.

Kate Moss was the poster child for 90’s waif and what morphed into heroin chic. I defaced library magazines in order to adorn my bedroom walls with Calvin Klein adverts; Kate’s nubile often half naked body staring blankly out at me, as I felt the warmings of pressure to adapt my body to look the same.

I was not alone. Many girls my age were showing the signs of urgency to conform to the standard of these awkward bambi-esque creatures skulking down international runways. The pressure was on, but from whom?

I have always been open about my own struggles with food and body image, with the knowledge now that my teenage years were adorned with body dysmorphic disorder, and a frustration at not ever quite being able to reach the ‘qualification’ of anorexia.

Throughout the years this monkey has ridden my back, albeit with weak arms, and I accept that he may be a passenger for many more to come. However, these days I tend to thwap him on the head with a kettle bell if he rides too close to my ears, and that has been part of my success in keeping up this health ‘kick’.

As the decades have progressed, I believe our perception of what is attractive has evolved also. This is evident in the clothing stores, many of which have some form of workout/basics/lifestyle component added to their range. We are starting to praise those who run, and jump. Those who are athletic and strong.

I Love that when I go to the gym I see girls lifting heavy weights. There are so many benefits to lifting, not least of which is that you can SKIP CARDIO for the day! Weightlifting (or ‘using weights at the gym’) boosts your metabolism, and ‘they’ say that it can cause your body to keep burning calories well after you have left the gym.

You have to admit, a fit, strong woman who looks after herself, is attractive. It shows determination and perseverance. I work on my muscle groups now instead of giving myself shit about my ‘weight’. I am working on thanking my body for what it is doing (in my head- no-one needs to hear my cheesy affirmations) while I am doing it, instead of fantasizing about being skinny. I smile at the other women at the gym sweating and lifting. Solidarity people.

And let’s be honest, even Johnny broke up with Kate.

 

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