Hi guys and happy Monday!! I am home from my little getaway to Maine with my fam which was SO amazing, and I only have 13 days home till I’m back to school- eeeeep!! Anyways, going to be linking up with Julia today for another Mental Health Monday so let’s get started 🙂
Have y’all been keeping up with the Olympics?! I sure hope you have: especially with gymnastics because those girls have been kicking some serious butt. The team won the gold medal, Simone Biles won gold in the all around and vault, Aly Raisman won silver in the all around, and Madison Kocian just won silver on the uneven bars. These girls are so freakin’ strong and their work-ethic is admirable. Not to mention watching them do their thang just puts the biggest smile on my face because their love for the sport is just so evident. I could ramble on and on about how amazing these gymnasts are, but let’s stick to the point of this post instead of me just talking your ear off.
These gymnasts bodies are all unique. They don’t all look the same. They are not sticks. They are strong, they are fierce. They have muscle. Simone Biles does not have a thigh gap. The best gymnast in the world does not have a thigh gap. Ya hear me out on this one??
Something you might not know about me is that I was a competitive gymnast for 8 years (hence why the Olympics and every gymnastics competition still excites me). I was a gymnast in elementary school, middle school, and part of high school. One thing I wish I understood and could tell my young teenage self is that my body did not have to look a certain way to excel more in the sport. I did not have to be stick thin in order to be the best gymnast. And this desire to be stick thin that stemmed from the pressures of doing well in gymnastics (as well as other reasons) led me to go down the path of restriction. Restriction caused me to lose weight, which then caused me to feel weak, which then caused me to be tired all the time, etc. etc. I became thinner but the more I restricted, the worse my performance obviously became. (less food, less energy, duh!) Looking back, I wish I realized that food packed with nutrients would have actually enhanced my performance and fuel me to do my best. Looking back, I also wish this BOPO movement was something I knew about, and that it was bigger: specifically in athletes.
Sometimes athletes feel the need to look a certain way to perform their best. Megan talks about this frequently and is working hard to end disordered eating among runners and remove the belief that runners have to be “lean/skinny” to be good. I could argue that dancers and gymnasts feel this way too. My best friend Marina talks about the pressures that dancers feel to be tall and thin in this amazing post too. I know that as a gymnast, I always looked up to Nastia Liukin. I admired her incredibly small frame and her long legs that the commentators made sure to make a point of every single competition. I saw how successful she was and how she went on to win the Olympics, and I definitely began to believe that in order to be good in the sport, you can’t be “big.” Or if you were slightly “bigger,” you had to be all muscle and extremely powerful. The problem was, I fell right in the middle of those categories and I didn’t like that feeling: at all.
I am so happy now that many of these gymnasts are body positive. Shawn Johnson struggled with loving her body, and now she is open about how important it is to recognize that we are all uniquely made. Aly Raisman is the spokeswoman for Walden Behavioral Care, eating disorder treatment with various locations around New England. (the place I got treatment at!) I commend Aly for doing this and speaking out how important it is to love yourself and treat yourself with care!
Psalm 139:14. I ADORE this verse. Because it is such an important reminder that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God. God created us and made us special. God created us so that we can do wonderful things. He did not create us to tear and bash our bodies apart. He gave us these bodies. He gave those athletes those bodies and that gift they have, in whatever sport it may be; to use their bodies to do what they love and to do what truly makes them happy. He did not give them those bodies so they can work so hard to change it and compare it to the athlete next to them, or feel the need to make it smaller to because they believe it will make them do better. God created us with love and tender care, and he made us to be UNIQUE! We all need to remember that.
It makes my heart so happy to be seeing all these beautiful and amazing different body types killin’ it over there in Rio doing what they love!!
No questions today, but as always I would love to hear your thoughts on this as I value and cherish them so much!! Have a happy Monday friends!
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