The other day I saw a video clip of a horse in his stall, bobbing his head to the Meghan Trainor song, “All About That Bass.” Aside from the humorous aspect of seeing horses, like humans, enjoy a fun, funky beat, the song lyrics speak to the weird obsession our American culture has with size.
“I see the magazines workin’ that Photoshop.
We know that s*#t ain’t real, come on now, make it stop.
If you got beauty beauty just raise ‘em up ‘cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.
Yeah, my momma she told me don’t worry about your size.
She says, boys like a little more booty to hold at night.
You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll.
So, if that’s what you’re into than go ahead and move along.
Because you know I’m all about that bass ‘bout that bass, no treble.”
The song was released last summer and was an instant hit. While Trainor, the singer, was lauded for its message, it’s a sad reflection on the qualities our culture holds dear.
Our culture has an extremely weird view of body image. I have a dear friend who lives with a disease that’s ravaged her body down to a size two. At her most unhealthy, I had another friend tell me how fabulous she looked. Knowing she wasn’t even capable of taking a daily walk, I was aghast.
And then there’s the flip side, enabling obesity. Given how much goes into the obesity issue: poverty, genetics, lifestyle, healthcare, etc., it’s no surprise that a large chunk (forgive the pun) of our nation is heading toward the blubber-esque future depicted on the spaceship in the 2008 movie “WALL-E” in which humans simply sat in hover chairs and motored around.
Mixed into this psychosis is the anti-aging business: Botex, tummy tucks, neck lifts and all sorts of breast enhancements.
Just last week there was the un-retouched photo of Cindy Crawford in which she’s rocking sexy lingerie despite a wrinkly, fleshy belly.
The responses were as varied as our craziness: there were many who supported the photo for its “realness,” others said it was re-touched to amplify the flaws, while still others lambasted people for praising Crawford’s aging body in an effort to make themselves feel better about their own aging, flawed bodies.
I can’t be the only one who sees this madness for what it is!
Personally? I’m not one to obsess too much about my looks. My sisters would prefer I learn to accessorize, but really, what goes better with jeans and a race shirt than tennis shoes and a hoodie?! I’ll admit, I color my hair, but make-up? Ugh.
That’s not to say I judge others for rocking the latest infinity scarf and never leaving the house without lipstick. I’m actually quite jealous. Just last week I told a sister, “You need to take me shopping. Teach me!”
But looks are not really my thing. Performance, I guess, is what pushes me to try to eat healthy, count my calories, pump the iron and pound the pavement.
A year ago, I gave full disclosure of my physical progress toward a stronger, healthier body. Here’s a comparison, in pounds and inches between then and the last time I was weighed and measured…
Feb. 10, 2014 vs Jan. 28, 2015
Lbs-175.8 Lbs-162.2 (down 13.6)
Neck-14.75 Neck-13.5 (down 1.25)
Chest-41 Chest-40.5 (down .5)
Waist-38 Waist-35 (down 3)
Hips-42 Hips-38 (down 4)
Thighs-23 Thighs-22 (down 1)
Arms-12 Arms-No change
Body Fat-38% Body Fat-29.2% (down 8.8)
With an overall loss of 13.6 pounds, 9.75 inches and 8.8 percentage points, I’m making some real progress. Especially considering my eating during much of the last year was pretty crazy. It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve refocused my efforts.
As I’ve written before, I can’t exercise my way to a healthier body, I MUST be mindful of what’s going in my mouth. I don’t pay much attention to popular fads like Atkins and Paleo because of my person needs. Given the year-round triathlon training I do, I get the majority of my calories from carbohydrates, followed by proteins with the least amount in fat.
That said, I LOVE FAT! Specifically? Movie popcorn with extra butter (mixed throughout, if you wouldn’t mind).
But seriously, I put this information out there in an effort to stop with the fat shaming, the anorexia adoration, the Barbie doll idolatry and the desire for quick fixes. Change that comes quickly rarely stays. And change without a deeply personal idea of what that change will look and feel like, unfortunately, will never happen. We have to do the work, day in and day out, repeatedly.
So what’s my change look like? For 2015, a little more rational than last year. Just one ultra, one full marathon and two 70.3 Ironman events with lots of little stuff sprinkled throughout.
Originally published 21 February 2015 in The Observer.