05 Mar Enough Fit Shaming: How Female Athletes Can Celebrate Their Achievements and Inspire Others
“I don’t mean to brag, but…”
Have any of you prefaced a sentence with this phrase when talking about your achievements?
Or do you feel you are justifying and explaining yourself when you’re eating healthy when you go out with friends?
Are others berating you for your healthy choices, saying you’ve changed?
Chances are, if you’re a female athlete, the answer is ‘yes.’
During my college playing career, I made a drastic shift in my nutrition and training regimen for the better. While my friends gobbled down greasy food and sugary sports drinks, I fueled with veggies and protein and got my hydration from fruits.
Let me be real for a second: I succumbed to the Freshman 15. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t true, but yes, many college athletes are easily sucked into the pizza buffets and dessert displays at the campus cafeteria. Too, gaining weight from booze is something that is very real. I’m not going to tip toe around the issue and act like college is all rainbows and book clubs.
As I began to tweak my nutrition in a way that supported my physical performance as well as cognitive function, I never turned back. My playing reached amazing heights, my creativity flourished, and my speed and explosiveness left opponents in the dust.
Coming back to not wanting to brag, my mom always gloated about my accomplishments and where my hard work took me:
Leading scorer every season. Broke midfield scoring records. National player of the year. Academic All-American. Dean’s List. Scholar All-American. And the list goes on.
There are many layers as to why I hid my tail between my legs and let my mom speak when people asked about the glowing successes in my career – societal norms, personal insecurity, fit shaming, and fear of what others would say. I believe women are discouraged from growing and building and blossoming, and celebrating how amazing they are.
As an example, when I started to eat healthier, take care of my body, and dial in with all aspects of my performance, from sleep, to stress management, to academics, to friendships, a lot of my friends would say to me, “you’ve changed.”
Well, duh, I have.
Was this them genuinely concerned for me? Or was it them remaining stagnant themselves, not taking responsibility for their lives, and shaming me for the power moves I was making?
I believe the latter.
Nowadays, fit shaming is just as dangerous as fat shaming.
Don’t get me wrong, fat shaming is bad, and we shouldn’t police others for what they choose to put into their bodies. However, this article is not about that side of the argument. I’ll write on this another time. ;-O
So let me leave it at this: no matter what others do, whether they choose to consume nutrients or toxic junk, the shaming needs to stop. Period.
Maybe I’ll change the world posting my big salads stacked with copious amounts of protein, fish and meat on Instagram. Maybe I won’t.
But it’s not my burden to change others’ behaviors, nor is it my job to expect others to be like me. All I can do, and all female athletes can do, is lead the way and inspire. That’s it.
Be The Inspiration
I urge female athletes who are dialed in with their training, nutrition and everything that keeps them healthy, to keep the momentum going. You have the opportunity to inspire others with your actions.I urge female athletes who are dialed in with their training, nutrition and everything that keeps them healthy, to keep the momentum going. You have the opportunity to inspire others with your actions. Click To Tweet
The world needs you.
We live in a world now where healthy people are seen as giant germs.
We live in a world now where fit people are seen as privileged.
We live in a world where talking about natural medicine is censored.
We live in a world where doctors discussing movement and sunlight are called quacks.
We live in a world where healthy people are called “conspiracy theorists.”
We live in a world now where muscles on women are still not celebrated as much as they should be.
We live in a world now where meditating and taking a break from social media isn’t normal.
We live in a world where eating healthy is seen as restrictive and not living enough.
Some days, I feel like I’m in the twilight zone – that fit shaming is the norm of the future, and it’s toxic to inspire others with your health and well-being.
“You’re privileged. You’re spoiled,” they screech to me.
Just like all humans on planet Earth, I’ve been exposed to empowering, healthy information as much as I have been exposed to demeaning and toxic information.
I’ve been exposed to drugs. I’ve been exposed to alcohol. I’ve been exposed to tobacco propaganda. I’ve been exposed to the dark side of psychiatric meds. I’ve been exposed to abusive relationships. I’ve been exposed to McDonald’s, foods high in oils and bad fats. I’ve been exposed to downright unhealthy living. It’s splattered everywhere. Everyone is exposed to both ends.
Is it a privilege amidst all the sickness and temptations in society I actively chose to not participate in these, and instead, live a healthy and fit life?
Is it a privilege I work hard day in and day out to be my healthiest self?
Is it a privilege no one saved me, but myself?
Yes, I went to one of the best school systems in the country, but did I learn anything about health, preventative medicine, cognition function, and food as healing? Not at all. Didn’t learn jack.
I taught myself. I researched. I connected. I talked to others. I dug for information. I embraced nature. I studied natural law. None of this was learned in a textbook, nor was it dependent on how much money I had in the bank. I just went out to explore.
And what I found was, the richest people, were in fact, the unhealthiest. Over-consuming. Over-stimulating. Over-buying. Over-eating. Over-stressing.
Returning to simplicity and embracing a minimalist life was what liberated me from a profoundly ill society. When I lived in the Amazon jungle with nothing but a fishing hook, a hammock, a machete, and a canoe, I was my happiest and healthiest.
It confuses me when people say healthy folks are rich and privileged, when most are out in nature eating natural foods, and they’re away from the GMOs, pills, television sets, screens, and the immune suppressing indoors. LOLOLOL.
Alas, I digress.
Too, my biggest light bulb moment occurred when I realized the health practices I do daily are free – free sunlight, free movement and walking, free rest, free meditation. I will continue to be loud with my message to spread information to the world. For free.
Alas, people still fit shame those for spreading empowering information.
It is tough to leave the shackles of a society that imprisons humans to play the victim. If people opt for this, that is fine too and it is not responsibility to bully people for their decisions, but I beg, don’t shame me for my way of living, calling it a privilege. This is hard freaking work, yo.
So female athletes, if you’re healthy, totally rocking it in your diet and lifestyle, I say screw the noise and own who you are.So female athletes, if you're healthy, totally rocking it in your diet and lifestyle, I say screw the noise and own who you are. Click To Tweet
And don’t let others gaslight you into saying you’re spoiled or privileged because you are making an active choice, let alone, putting in thousands of brush strokes day in and day out when you could easily plop on a couch and not work toward your dreams.
Let’s make healthy sexy again.
If anything, female athletes can be the inspiration in a world of misinformation.
If anything, female athletes can be voices in a world of censorship.
If anything, female athletes can be the hope in a world of despair.
If anything, female athletes can be the warriors in a world of bullies.
If anything, female athletes can be the victors in a world of victims.
But most importantly, female athletes can give others the power in a world that forces humans to be powerless.
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