Sakurasenshi wrote a good thing today about body acceptance & shame. I’ve been having some similar thoughts recently, but it’s hard to put them into words (coherently, at least). But for definite, recently I’ve been realising that lots of the fitness blogs & Tumblrs I follow, which also focus on weight/fat loss, make me question myself.
As I’ve said before, I discovered fat acceptance (and later, HAES) before I started lifting. I didn’t start lifting because I wanted to be leaner or lose weight; in fact I didn’t even really realise there was all this stuff about fat loss and getting leaner until I’d been lifting for about a year. Most of my lifting idols are men, like Andy Bolton, whose body type don’t even grace the door of of fitspo/fat loss etc. So I had no idea at first.
So why don’t you want lose weight?
Because at ~72kg, I’m pretty much spot on for the GBPF 72kg class. I could try to lose weight and end up maybe at 67kg, say. And then I’d be even less competitive in the 72kg class, as I’d be giving away 5kg to my rivals. Why bother?
Or, I could try to get down to the next class below – 63kg, that’s over 9kg. I very much doubt I could lose that in much less than a year while still maintaining my strength. So that’s effectively a year out of competitions. And would I be happy at 63kg? Probably not; I’ve not been that small as an adult. It would be hard and I wouldn’t like my body as a result, because it wouldn’t be me.
But what about body fat?
Let’s be honest here – boobs. I’ve had big boobs since I was 15ish, and they’re kind of an essential part of my body image. They’re also my aesthetic. I know lots of people think abs are better than boobs or whatever, but I don’t. Some people also think small boobs are perfect, and that’s great! But I like my boobs as they are.
Plus, a life without being able to wear a Freya Deco bra is a life I don’t want to live. I’m very much into my bra bloggers & bra shopping. Big bras are like… a cult I really really want to be a member of!
But don’t you want to be a smaller dress size?
I’m on the very smallest side of plus-size, and I wear both straight- and plus-sized clothes. But I still associate myself with the fat acceptance & fatshion communities.
If I had to choose between the online fitness community, and the online fatshion community, I’d choose fatshion every time. Basically, because it’s supportive, it’s inclusive, and it’s full of women who say things I want to listen to. People like Marianne Kirby, Gabi Gregg, Georgina Horne & Bethany Rutter are my kind of women.
That’s not to discredit the online fitness community; but I’ve found it’s a lot less welcoming, accepting and inclusive. It’s a bit cliquey, to be honest, and I’m too old for cliques.
Why don’t you eat “clean” / Paleo / wheat-free / sugar-free etc?
Up until now, it’s been because I find those things restrictive. I live in London, I’m dating my boyfriend (we don’t live together), we have plenty of money between us & we’re serious foodies. I would much rather spend my money at a restaurant, than save it (for that hypothetical rainy day) and invite my boyfriend round to cook. I don’t want to plan my meals, not when I don’t know in advance what nights I’m going to be home. I don’t want to stay in at the weekend because there’s a big bag of broccoli at home that needs using up.
All that said, next month I’m going to be cohabiting for the first time (eep!) and my boyfriend has suggested that we spend Sunday prepping meals for the week. I’m pretty excited about this. I’ll have access to a car for the first time (buying weekly groceries without a car = a pain) and I’ll also have my Sundays “back”, as right now they’re spent hanging out with my boyfriend, then travelling 1.5 hours home. When he & I live together, we won’t have all the travel time, and we’ll probably go on fewer dates (since we’ll be together all the time!).
So, I can see myself eating “clean”-er in future. But not Paleo or gluten-free or sugar-free or dairy-free, because I enjoy foods forbidden on those plans (and the most important macro is deliciousness). Just fewer restaurant meals, most likely, and more home cooking.
This has been a big old ramble, and if you read it all the way through you get a cookie (not gluten- or sugar-free, sorry).
At the end of the day, I don’t think weight- & powerlifting should be about losing weight, losing fat or getting lean – unless the individual wants it to be. There should be no obligation to eat “clean” or Paleo if you want to train (one of the reasons I’ve avoided CrossFit is because the Paleo aspect seems to be almost mandatory).
There is no reason why fat people shouldn’t train, nor thin people, nor anyone in between. People who lift weights should not have to justify their eating habits, body image or desired aesthetic to anyone. If you’re a woman who wants to lift to get a lean, fitspo-type body, then go for it; if you’re a woman who want to lift to get bulky like Andy Bolton (or Kristen Rhodes!) then knock yourself out. I’ll join you in the bulky camp 🙂
Just lift & eat what you want.
Plus, I promise this stuff gets easier as you get older & more comfortable in your own skin (but it probably won’t ever entirely go away).