I haven't been to the gym in a while, I've been running about once a week, but have paused from a more strength based routine. This is due to a couple of reasons, one being that I've been dating someone which of course takes up some time, and that I've been enjoying running outside in the evenings.
Just before heading off to the gym, I read an interesting article by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano called "You're right, I didn't eat that," about the choices (sacrifices?) some women make to stay thin. I'm firstly in awe of her writing, but it also struck a few chords with me, and I thought I'd highlight and share some of her ideas.
Firstly is the idea that men who like thinner women also demand that the woman not be seen to be working for it. They want to see them eating burgers, and skipping gym sessions - but to stay small. I'd never really considered that before, and as Autumn highlights, the desire is often wrapped up in the belief that women just need to "look after themselves" (but of course meaning stay slim).
I found Autumn's discussion about the need (desire?) to maintain thinness particularly interesting. The diet industry makes its billions due to the fact that people who want to lose weight find it pretty near impossible to maintain the changes. She reminds us that for most people "thinness is so impermanent", which resonated with me. I often say that if you want to lose weight and maintain it, you have to make that choice over and over, each day.
This idea of course applies to many habits that we change, including fitness, keeping a tidy house, and learning a new language. Changes are not binary, they have to be chosen, repeated, and stuck to when we don't feel like it, and worked on over and over again.
Autumn raises the point that there are women who are naturally slimmer, and women who work at it. Although she only discusses men's attitudes to these two types of women, I actually see it in women too. There seems to be a positive-body movement that seeks acceptance for whatever bodyshape we come in, as long as it hasn't been changed too much. It seems that women are not allowed to want to change their bodies, without their choice being seen as reflecting negatively on women with the opposite choice. As if a lady who has sculpted a set of muscles looks down on those who do not?
The final statement in her piece includes, "...that when it comes to me being thin and carefree about it, they can’t have their cake and eat it too. But that they’re more than welcome to mine." Again, summarising the choices we are all able to make every day about what and who we want to be. Sometimes, I can't eat at the first restaurant my date takes me to, and sometimes we have to check menus before we go. I'm now a woman who is vegetarian and pretty low-carb, which seems to rule out a lot of the core veggie dishes places like to offer me (pasta, rice etc). I've become that girl. But do you know what? I'm ok with that (I've never felt better).