Photo: Avercrombie & Fitch
Today I had the greatest day. I had lunch with two of my best friends whom I never get to see. We all live in different cities, one in a different state, and live such busy lives we rarely get the opportunity to get together. What a treat! At one point in the conversation - that covered MANY things - we all agreed that when we were younger we were so self-conscience about our bodies and wouldn't dare wear some things that, had we been able to see ourselves objectively, would have looked great.
That whole body image issue can be such a huge obstacle for some people, especially young women. Like they say, "if we only knew then what we know now". That rings so true! I bring this up because it relates to some recent events that have stirred a wee bit of controversy in the style, health and fitness world.
You may have heard the news this week that Avercrombie & Fitch's CEO, Mike Jeffries, revealed that he had no interest in making clothing for plus-sized women and did not care to market to them. The media outlets went ballistic in response. A petition was even started on Change.org asking Jeffries to "stop telling teens they aren't beautiful."
I will be honest and say I do not shop in this store. I do not have girls so haven't really had the need. I have always felt their print ads were a little "too much" for young girls anyway and have been turned off by some of the photos they use.
This comes along with some department stores choosing to use larger sized mannequins which has also caused some controversy. See Here.
So, here's the question. When did all of this begin? When did women and then young women begin to feel that their bodies weren't good enough? When did women begin to feel pressure from the media to be perfect? When did the body images begin to suffer?
How is it that some women can differentiate a model on a magazine cover as not perfect, photo shopped, airbrushed and unrealistic and another sees it as a perfect ideal.
There have been campaigns geared at breaking this chain. Dove has one out now and there have been different ones showing how models are airbrushed and/or celebrities are photoshopped to look better in photographs or in magazines.
Recently, Kate Upton, who is known as the voluptuous model on the cover of Sports Illustrated and not a stick thin model, said she loves her body. She is an example of one who is a bit different but comfortable in her skin. (Although it seems to be almost perfect skin at that!) The pin-up girls of the
1940's and 1950's would be considered downright fat in this generation. Even so, I've read old interviews and articles about how these women watched their diet and struggled to keep their size and weight at a certain number.
I, of course, do not have the answer to this. I am definitely not smart enough to figure out the right course of action for us as parents, consumers, the media and the fashion business. I do know that when I am in the gym, in a yoga class, or in front of a class teaching, I see a room full of beautiful people, all shapes and sizes. Even those of their perfect weight, fit and strong, are not the same size as their neighbor, and that's the beauty of it. Some people can wear some styles and rock it, while not so for others, and vice versa. Yet, how great is that? How boring it would be if we all showed up in the same Lululemon outfit each week for class!
At some point I hope we all get to the place of being comfortable in our own skins and stop wanting someone else's skin. We got ours at birth and need to realize all the amazing things our bodies can do for us, and all the great, healthy things we can do for our bodies. Doing both will get us to our best. I just hope the young women out there would reach this realization before they have children of their own!
That's my rant for the day!What do you think about the Abercrombie and Fitch mentality? Is there a healthy way to tackle the body image issue? And didn't Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren rock their bods?
I feel like her. Wohoo! It's Friday! Although it's been pretty quiet on the home front this week. My oldest sons and husband have been away for Spring Break and our third dog is away at "training camp". (That's another story for another day). So, what with only one son, two dogs and a leopard ghecko to care for it's been like a vacation for me this week!
FIT TIP FRIDAY this week is a hodge podge of few favorite things I have run across this week. I hope you find something new and inspiring!
"The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition."
"Water is the most neglected nutrient in your diet, but one of the most vital"
"Processed foods not only extend the shelf life, but they extend the waistline as well."
Have you seen these Quakes? They are the perfect guilt free snack when you want something crunchy and salty! These are Sour Cream and Onion but the Cracked Black Pepper is also delish! I found this bag of sweet potatoes at the grocery for $1.99! You can steam the entire bunch IN THE bag for the family or each sweet potato is the perfect size for lunch. They are chock full of fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants! Lastly, this box is full of individual packets of Organic Flax Seeds. Each packet is 2 Tablespoons and are perfect for adding to smoothies, topping for yogart or salads or an addition for soups. Love these!
I know I am not supposed to compare myself to others, especially those in magazines. Sometimes, though, we are just bombarded with examples of perfect women with perfect bodies and faces. This week brought a nice reminder that we are all the same . . .
See, there are crows feet and laugh lines!
While Kim is quite voluptuous, you can see she's not perfect
It's quite sad that I'm admitting that I have lost some time and energy worrying about this sort of thing. At least I know it's sad AND a complete waste of time!
Strong, healthy and fit, remember? That's the mantra!
And the best thing about this time of year?
The GOOD jellybeans come out!
Have a Fabulous Friday!
REMEMBER, SPRING FORWARD!
Whew, it's Friday already. How did happen? Having a Monday Holiday makes for a short week and also really messes with my scheduling. So, this week while I was doing my normal, nerdy health and fitness reading rambling I ran across an article that inspired this post. The article touched on the fact that when we think about health and wellness, we often fall into talking about weight and physical appearance. For example, look at the health magazines on the shelf. The cover models are sickeningly perfect in appearance (should I remind you that I recently posted on photoshopping?). The fact is, even the "health" and "fitness" magazines focus on an ideal of outer beauty and often neglect the inner health and well-being of persons.
I think of how often I have given a compliment with words like, "you look great"or "you are so skinny". Admit it, you have done the same thing. Also, I will admit that if you give me one of those compliments I will prance like a peacock! So, those types of words go right into feeding the media obsession with weight and looks.
I am around so many fantastic and inspiring women each week. I am so impressed with their accomplishments, strengths, intelligence, attitudes and natures! I am equally impressed with their outer strength, fitness and beauty. Everyone is different - whether in the amount of push-ups they can crank out, how flexible they are in touching their noses to the floor in a straddle split, how fast they can run their suicides or how quick witted they are to make me laugh.
This FRIDAY'S FIT TIP is to challenge you all to compliment another on anything OTHER THAN THEIR APPEARANCE. NO COMPLIMENTS ON WEIGHT LOST OR GAINED, SKINNINESS OR PRETTINESS. I'm sure those around you have so many other things going for them that make them healthy and fit. This exercise is about shifting our mindset about what is healthy. 2012 is about GETTING HEALTHY, BEING HEALTHY AND STAYING HEALTHY.
Now this is not to say I do not want to compliment someone on how great they look, how fit they are, but it made me think about also telling people all the things I am thinking about them! I know people have talents and qualities - so rather than just thinking them, I am going to say them. Let's see if we can make a week of looking past the outer appearance and get to the "real" strength and qualities of those around us - and tell them!
On another note, I had a really great breakfast this morning - so great, in fact, that at 3:00 pm I'm still not hungry! I had a little extra time mid-morning and I was starving so I knew I needed something filling. I wanted something warm as it cold and rainy here. I had kale for a soup tonight so I took a handful and sauteed it in olive oil. In the same pan I cooked two eggs (and yes I included both yolks. If you want to just do eggwhites, which I do at times, it will be just as good!) Can you get more healthy, good for you and filling?
Look at that, you know you want some! So, second FIT TIP: eat breakfast!
How do you compliment others? Will this make you rethink?
What is your filling breakfast?
I am re-posting this video I ran across on SarahFit.com. I actually put it on Faacebook and have loved the feedback and comments. I think it is a great reminder that what you see is not always "the real thing"! This is a fake TV commercial made to look like a beauty ad, complete with ways to make our skin look younger and more radiant, our lips fuller, our hips and thighs smaller, eyes brighter, teeth whiter. . . .you get the picture. Of course, the answer is not with diet, exercise, beauty products or even make-up - it's by Photoshop! Any photograph can be changed and manipulated to look any way, but real. Even with hours of hair, make-up, and celebrity trainers, nutritionists and diets, the photos of celebrity women in magazines are still photoshopped to make them look impossibly perfect.
Sarah from Sarahfit.com had already done a great did a great video where she had a photographer take her photos and show her how the photos would be photoshopped and digitally changed before they would be printed. It was a great article and very enlightening. Women have such issues with body image - and no wonder since we are constantly bombarded with magazines, commercials, ads and photos of women portrayed to look absolutely perfect, when, in fact, they are just like the rest of us. They merely have all of their photos digitally manipulated.
Jennifer Hudson recently gave an interview and discussed her struggle with her weight and the fickleness of the entertainment industry in wanting her to lose weight for her career and then gain weight for a particular movie role or appearance. She admitted that her first Album/CD cover was photoshopped to make her appear thinner than she actually was. She said this was done without her knowledge and she did not see the photograph until after it was released. She was disappointed in the change made to her body in the photo as she knew her audience would know it was not a true portrayal of her. She knew this was the wrong message to send.
So, when did things get so crazy that women are not allowed to be normal, healthy and beautiful as they are? When and why did we begin to expect impossible images as acceptable? It is hard enough for me in my 40's to remember that a photo I see is not "real". I cannot compare myself to these images. It's also one of the reasons I'm thankful I do not have daughters to teach how to navigate the misleading appearances forced upon them by the entertainment industy.
Isn't this just crazy? Do you think the pendulum will swing back to