Currently in marathon training mode, my days off tend to consist of a long distance run and then a crash in the early afternoon. Reading, writing, or documentary watching, as opposed to napping during this crash, gives me a chance to relax whilst learning something new. Taking time to research the things that interest us, expanding our knowledge, can make a seemingly lazy afternoon feel productive and empowering.
In my most recent little afternoon of research I came across a BBC documentary in which Anne Robinson (yes the lady from Weakest Link!) explores Britain’s obsession with body image. Interviewing people from all walks of life, and a huge variety of age groups, the documentary reveals the overwhelming self-hatred of younger generations.
What struck me most was that practically everyone under 30, interviewed by Robinson, was striving for an unobtainable perfection. Whilst on the other hand, many of the elder interviewees were not concerned with their appearance whatsoever. They were free from the weight of worrying about their image 24/7, and my god did they glow with their freedom!
One young ‘fitness’ couple in particular really got me thinking. Obsessed with their own gym routines and eating clean, their relationship was based on nothing but accentuating each other’s insecurities. Their daily routine consisted of a 7am gym sesh, followed by clean protein, perhaps another gym sesh later in the day, early dinner of greens and salmon, before bed at 10pm. And these are the people we’re supposed to aspire to be like? I’ve been there trust me, and it’s no fun!
All this restriction, for what? To make themselves look good enough to please one another. All for aesthetics, and an unobtainable utopian perfection. It just seems so sad and hollow to me. And of course, I don’t know these people, perhaps they’ve never been happier than they are now, but their lifestyle just served as a real reminder and a warning for me. Shouldn’t relationships be about empowering each other, rather than tearing each other down and fuelling each other’s unhealthy obsessions?
Other young interviewees had become dependent on cosmetic procedures, and elaborate beauty routines, driven by the desire to look like someone else. Anyone but themselves. Lip fillers, fake tan, hair extensions, botox. Has our generation totally lost the plot? What on earth happened to embracing ourselves as we are? Embracing each other?!
Today’s society has an incredibly detrimental effect on how we view ourselves. But it’s up to us to fight the hysteria and practice self-love in the face of the media, who constantly portray a false pretence of perfection. It’s great to enjoy fitness, and taking pride in our appearance; hell, I enjoy fitness almost every single day of the week! But I do it for the sheer love of it, the adrenaline, the endorphins, and the awesome people I continue to meet along the way! I’ve learnt through trials and tribulations not to make aesthetics the driving force behind fitness. It’s all about how it makes you feel!
So… make sure that whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it for YOU and nobody else. You should never have to try and change your body for the acceptance of another being. If they’re worth knowing, they’ll love and accept you for your charm, your smile, your flaws, NOT your body.
If you’d like to check out the documentary you can find it over on the BBC iPlayer. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b080byvs/britains-secrets-with-anne-robinson-3-body-image-secrets
Be kind to yourself.
Lots of love,