Friday 24 November 2017

Weight to go, girls: The women confident with their own bodies just as they are

Actress Ashely Benson was told she was too fat for a role
Actress Ashely Benson was told she was too fat for a role
Molly Galbraith wrote an empowering Facebook post
Kim Kardashian has talked about her "strong bounce game" after having her son Saint

'Tis the season to get in shape, with people all over the world resolving to give up bad food habits after the overindulgence of the Christmas period and hitting the gym in earnest.

It may be a cliché, but it's one that occurs every year at this time when people are absolutely sick of tight jeans and feeling unhealthy.

And it's not just us mere mortals that have resolved to beat the bulge and improve our health and fitness - Kim Kardashian has spoken of her "strong bounce back game" in order to lose the weight she put on while carrying baby Saint.

Scream Queens star Lea Michele has vowed to build on last year's fitness resolution and Drew Barrymore said it was her mission to "get smaller underwear" in 2016. But one not-so-famous lady has resolved not to change her body at all in the aftermath of shape-shaming in 2015.

Molly Galbraith from Kentucky, is a trainer who founded Girls Gone Strong. She saw New Year's Day as the best time to speak candidly about her relationship with her body, saying 2016 "is the first year in as long as I can remember that I have made NO resolutions to change the way my body looks".

In an empowering post on Facebook, accompanying a picture of her in a bikini on a beach, she says: "This is my body. This is not a before picture. This is not an after picture. This just happens to be what my body looks like on a random Tuesday in December of 2015 - it's a LIFE picture. This is a body that loves protein and vegetables and queso and ice cream. This is a body that loves bent presses and pull-ups and dead-lifts and sleep. This is a body that has been abused with fast food and late nights and stress.

Molly Galbraith wrote an empowering Facebook post
Molly Galbraith wrote an empowering Facebook post

"This is a body that has been pushed to the brink of leanness in figure competitions and maximum strength in powerlifting meets. This is a body that begged for mercy when it was diagnosed with Hashimoto's and PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome]."

Galbraith goes on to describe all the things her body has been called, including "too fat, too thin, too masculine, too strong, too weak, too big, too skinny... all within the same week".

She went on: "This body has been publicly evaluated, judged, and criticised, and those judgments have been used to determine my level of skill as a coach and a trainer, and my worth as a person, both positively and negatively.

"Some people say they would kill to have this body. Others say they would kill themselves if they had this body. Yes, unfortunately that's actually a thing humans say to one another. This is a body that I spent too much time, energy and mental space wishing would look differently. And today? Today this is a body that is loved, adored and cherished by the only person whose opinion matters - ME. This is a kind of freedom I didn't think I'd ever experience, and it feels really, really good."

Her words are drawing praise from people all over the world refusing to bow to body pressure and sick of listening to other people's opinions on the shape they think we should be.

This comes the same week that Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson revealed in an interview that she was told she was "too fat" for a role. "I'm a size 2!" the actress told Ocean Drive magazine.

"I cried for 30 minutes, but then you have to let it roll off your shoulders or it could cause a serious eating disorder. A lot of people in this industry hear they need to lose weight more times than they should. It does make you stronger, though."

It's not a recent phenomenon though - Tyra Banks once told the world to "kiss my fat ass" on her eponymous talk show as unflattering swimsuit shots of the model surfaced and were published globally. Similarly, actress and producer Mindy Kaling is sick of people commenting on her appearance, telling talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel she doesn't feel courageous in wearing what she wants, as people imagine.

Kim Kardashian has talked about her
Kim Kardashian has talked about her "strong bounce game" after having her son Saint

"They're like: 'It's so refreshing that Mindy feels so comfortable to let herself go and be a fat sea monster,'" she said. "And I'm like: 'I run and work out. It takes a lot of effort to look like a normal, chubby woman.'"

Lady Gaga told fans she'd "rather be fat than shallow" and Demi Lovato, who's long struggled with body issues, said last year: "Guess what? I'm healthy and happy, and if you're hating on my weight, you obviously aren't."

It's food for thought - just glance at popular gossip websites to see they're dominated by body-focussed images of celebs, either praising them for being in great shape, expressing concern they're too thin or large, or pointing out perceived flaws.

Perhaps it's time to take a leaf out of Molly's book and just worry about how we feel in our own skin for once - wear smaller knickers if you like, Drew, but make sure you're doing it for yourself.

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