As you know, this month I’m working on my belly fat by strengthening my abs via my 30-Day Abs Challenge. A few months ago I noticed I could see some muscle definition around the sides of my belly. That got me really excited and I started wondering what my body will look like once all the weight is off.
Sadly, the only thing I could think of was the covers of all those women’s health magazines. You know, all the “perfectly” tanned and shaped women on the covers with the killer abs, no bat wings under the arms or cellulite on the legs.
Thankfully I didn’t get depressed — I mean, there is no way I’ll look like those freaks of nature on the covers of those magazines. I got angry.
Are Visible Abs A Sign Of Health or Just Western Fashion?
The truth is 99.9% of the double X chromosome population doesn’t look like that either. Also, with my weight training and cardio routine, I’m equally certain I can kick those women’s collective asses.
As for beauty, I know I’ll never look like those cover girls either, but I’ve had enough guys at the gym chat me up to know that airbrushed women with the perfect smile and a tan can’t beat out this sweaty, chunky chick when I’m lifting weights.
These magazines want you to think their model’s bodies are the paragon of health, fitness and beauty. Poppycock!
Our Current Views On Fitness & Beauty Are Nothing But Fashion
Sure, I’ve imagined myself with 6-pack abs, but that’s more due to the influence of our culture than what makes me happy. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to see my rib cage. Yikes! That’s too thin to me.
This morning I came across this article by Mark Rippetoe, a great read for anyone who think visual abs is what defines health or beauty. I quickly became a fan of Mark’s when I started weight lifting. His book, Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, is the bible for anyone looking to build muscle and strength.
Mark points out in the article that thin doesn’t equal healthy and that western culture has warped our views of health and fitness. The stronger you are, the longer you’ll live, even if you are heavy.
The money quote:
“I’m no longer primarily concerned with my appearance…Vanity is a luxury we don’t have time for — a costly, unnecessary luxury for…individuals who are content to be merely strong, healthy, and physically competent. My primary interest now is that my continued physical existence be such that I’m still having fun. Ladies and gentlemen, that doesn’t require “abs.”
— Mark Rippetoe
When I set out on my weight loss journey, I initially set my goal as “being thin.” After 3 months of nothing happening, I re-evaluated my goals. I realized it was about getting healthy and living the life I wanted to live.
Sure that includes “looking good.” But I’m the one who needs to define what that means. Not my husband, family or friends. And sure as hell not some magazine cover.
Mark Rippetoe is right. Vanity is a luxury. Ain’t nobody have time for that.