This post is equally part frivolous and serious… take it as you may 😉
In our Americanized, fast-food and photo-shopped culture, we have two opposing extremes that seem to affect us women… especially women who are having or have had children.
I’ve read countless testimonies of women who felt “pressured” to look a certain way due to photo-shopping in magazines, ads, etc. They always claim the same thing – that even the models don’t look like that in their ads, which is probably true. Photoshopping really is awful and ridiculous, and it probably does cause eating disorders and problems for young girls, etc. This post isn’t defending photoshopping by any means, it’s humoroursly congratulating inspiring women who are wives, have lots of babies, and still look amazing.
So it’s true, the models don’t look like their photoshopped selves. But the problem is… it is EQUALLY true that those same models still look pretty damn good in a bikini when snapped in photos by paparozzi (see above images).
You could even say, these models, especially the often criticized Victoria Secret models,
look better than 95-98% of the female population.
The problem is that, even in real life or on television (which typically adds weight), these women still maintain a figure that most of the female population would seriously desire for themselves, but have no clue (or sometimes discipline) to work to make it happen. Over and over again women like this model, and many women not in the public light, maintain their figures and muscle tone even after having several children. Why? Because it feels amazing – both physically and mentally/psychologically to be that fit.
The fact remains… even though a lot of women wouldn’t openly admit it for fear of being shamed for having such “superficial” goals, almost every overweight woman has a deep longing to be thin and look good – at the very least, to FEEL good about herself, which unfortunately (but naturally) a lot of those feelings come from our appearance. It IS good for women to accept themselves and know for sure that they are LOVED by God no matter WHAT their weight is. But it still doesn’t negate the fact that our natural design (and desires) are to be what Eve represented to her husband and the world – God’s “masterpiece,” of creation.
When God designed Eve, who was naked and unashamed in the Garden of Eden due to sin not being introduced yet, her glorious form was probably as beautiful as the female body could get! In my opinion, women have a deep longing to be beautiful, even to be thin since fat detracts in varying degrees from beauty, because it was how God designed us to be in the first place. Wanting to still be beautiful and at a normal weight – especially in the eyes of your husband when you’re married – is a GOOD thing, a wonderful thing, especially when it increases his sexual attraction to you!
And if there was a switch to give an overweight woman a super fit and bikini-ready body, almost every single overweight woman would flip that switch and think it was the best decision of her life. Of course, nothing like that exists 😉 and it would probably *not* be the “best decision of her life,” but the fact that an overweight woman would hands down choose to be thin if such switch existed, proves something that diet fads and the fasion industry have used against women time and time again. That desire to look beautiful and feel awesome and proud of your body – a body that other people would admire (since beauty is often *not* just in the eye of the beholder, but an actual statistically measured response), is totally normal and even maybe God-intended.
From knowing many women who have had weight struggles, including my own mom who I’m so thankful was open and honest about what fat really does to women (and how they get treated or feel etc.), I’ve always known that being fit and thin and strong – throughout life – was not a “superficial” goal for me. I’m sure some women can place too much emphasis on fitness making it a kind of idol or measurement of success or happiness. But for me it’s simply that it adds to my overall energy and mental health – literally making me feel amazing from the inside (my body working correctly etc.) and extending to the outside (looking great and being happier as well due to everything else)!
It’s simply a matter of being an adult and taking care of yourself responsibily.
Sometimes losing weight can be impossibly hard when a woman’s hormones are off or their diet is not “correct” for their body type, and the result is always them being incredibly unhappy with their body. The overweight woman in the above photos has said before that she has an insulin problem that makes it extremely hard to lose weight. Her weight gain wasn’t due to having babies, and she isn’t married (she’s been engaged to a man who assaulted her, but no marriage as of yet). Even with her medical condition though, she was able to lose about 42 pounds of fat in one month when she really tried. The difference was hard to see for some, but it was a significant difference that dropped her from a size 22 to size 16-18. At the time of the bikini photos via papparozzi, she tried to be confident and happy with her size (she was a plus size model afterall), but admitted that her weight did bother her and that she desired to lose some of it.
Again… think of that imaginary switch. If there was such a switch, I have no doubt that this woman would have flipped it. Being overweight is not fun, and it doesn’t feel good physicaly, emotionally, or even spiritually (you deal with internal shame).
Since this issue is just so personal, many women don’t feel free to really confide in their friends and family. Most try to act like it doesn’t affect them as much as it actually does emotionally. You hear their admissions more when they’re in fitness groups or confessing to a trainer, or complaining to their husband about the weight issues they experience psychologically. This unhappiness though, I don’t believe is healthy, as it literally affects everything in that woman’s life!
That being said, I also don’t think it’s healthy to seek out perfection in one’s appearance, to be too hard on oneself and critical to the point of mental illness as seen in cases of obsessive plastic surgery or anorexia. Again, photoshopping probably does NOT help with those issues, but that doesn’t explain away the crazy notion that the models themselves look like “normal” women in any way imaginable. Especially American women 😦 but even Australians and women in the UK are seeing an uptick in weight problems, especially after they have children. Maybe some plus size models do look like the “normal” woman, but the mainstream ones that work out 6 days a week and watch what they eat carefully are not “fake” women, nor are they considered representative of “normal” women.
They are very real though, and attaining that kind of success for your body is not out of reach for most women if they understood how to achieve it. It may take years to lose enough weight if the woman is seriously overweight (over 200 lbs is seriously overweight), but baring medical or hormonal disorders, I’ve seen it happen many times from the private fitness groups I’ve been in.
So… having the simple goal of looking your personal best, being strong and confident in a swim suit even after having multiple children, is just not as evil as some people make it out to be. I think it’s normal and shows a woman’s strength and health.
Notes: The woman, Doutzen Kroes, in the first photos has had TWO children. The woman, Gemma Collins, in the later photos hasn’t had any. And at that weight, she may have induced PCOS and is infertile 😦 . So don’t let having babies be a mental block keeping you from losing the weight and enjoying being truly fit.