“Real women have curves.” I saw this statement recently in a magazine and it gave me pause. You’ve likely heard it somewhere too. Such statements are intended to promote a healthy body image and celebrate women of any size, but when you think about it, they only celebrate women who are larger sized.
What’s my take on this?
Real women have curves. Real women also don’t have curves. Real women have flat breasts and big buttocks. Real women have big breasts and flat buttocks. Real women are overweight and bulimic. Real women are underweight and binge eaters. Real women still shop in the kids’ department. Real women now shop in the plus-size department. These women are all real women.
Women can be heavy, thin, tall, short, apple-shaped, pear-shaped, or no discernable shape at all, but no matter what our size is, our experiences as women living in modern society, with all of its pressures, expectations, and stereotypes, are no less real.
You may have seen the image above (click to enlarge) floating around social media. Which woman weighs the Australian average of 154 lbs (70 kg)? The answer is that they all do. Women carry weight differently. The same amount of weight loss or weight gain would look completely different on each of these women. What is the lesson to be learned here? The number on the scale tells you nothing about your health, fitness level, self-esteem, or self-worth. Comparing your weight or size to others is pointless because your body’s composition is like no other.
For the overwhelming majority of women, no amount of weight loss or muscle toning will make us look like Victoria’s Secret Angels because our bodies just aren’t built that way. The Victoria’s Secret Angels are real women. But real women also look just like you.
Whether you’re recovering from an eating disorder or simply trying to gain or lose weight, remember that you should be only competing against yourself. Measure your progress against your personal highs and lows. You’re in a one-man or one-woman marathon. Your finishing time will always be the best time.