Saying that we live in an overtly superficial and vain world is not an exaggeration. Well, atleast our Instagram feeds and Facebook posts do testify the same. As much as this appearance-obsessed culture is hard on everyone, women are its foremost victims. Men still get away unperturbed and unscathed, as they do in most of the other areas of life as well. It is the women who fall victim to all the social scrutiny and public opinions.
My friend and I have this debate quite often. She is a little on the heavier side and I have always been the one with an athletic frame. Though she is quite happy and content in her own frame, she does wish she could shed off a few kilos and look slim and lean like other girls around. And this complex builds up even more when she looks at those picture-perfect images on her Instagram feed. For someone who can only wear those few clothes that fit her, she does feel the pressure when bloggers end up styling a basic white shirt in 6 styles and end up looking stunning in each one of them. How hard it becomes for a girl to love her own heavy body after seeing visuals like these. No matter how many body positivity and self-love posts she might read, that one video puts all her confidence back to a zero figure.
So, we can’t deny that there is certainly pressure on women to stay slim and lean. But at the same time, it is more internal than external. Like, for me, I definitely want to have a lean frame and constantly work toward staying slim at all times. A major motivation for this comes from my desire to be able to wear all those wonderful and stylish clothes that I see out there in stores. Also, I like the fact that when you are in good body shape, everything looks good on you. The ball is in your court or in this case, the outfit is in your closet. You don’t have to be cautious all the time and can wear anything that you like. So, I would not necessarily say that it is an external mandate for me to stay slim and fit. Rather it is a conscious self-imposed preference and lifestyle choice.
For the last few years, there has been a lot of conversation on the internet around body positivity and feeling confident in your own size and shape. I am all in support of feeling confident in your own size. But at the same time, I also do not advocate celebrating eating unhealthy and putting on kilos with a lack of exercise and a lazy lifestyle. You cannot put on a lot of weight and preach about feeling positive. Staying slim is not important but staying fit definitely is. I am totally not in support of women who do not work towards shedding off extra fat and getting into an exercise regime. Talking about body positivity in such a scenario is as good as encouraging and propagating an unhealthy way of life and eating irresponsibly. One should always work towards attaining a healthy Body weight and being in the best shape possible. Yes, one’s confidence levels should not get affected by the size of their body. You should not feel superior or inferior to anyone because of your size and how slim or fat you are.
I have been working out for years now. I had adopted a clean and healthy lifestyle years back. And it was not for just staying thin. Rather, to stay fit, active, healthy and optimally strong. I lay a lot of stress on eating healthy and indulging in some or other form of exercise each day. Yes, I do love to dress up and maintaining a lean figure helps me get into all styles of clothes that I wish to wear. So, coming back to the question of ‘Is staying slim and fit a social mandate these days?’, I think it is more internal than external. We all should strive to maintain a healthy, slim physique that is strong and fit and does not carry excess fats and body mass. Also, staying slim should not be on the agenda. Rather focusing on building strength and overall fitness and agility should be the motivating factor.
For all those women, who feel they can be in better shape and want to take steps to work towards it, the following points shall be quite helpful.
– Do not aspire to be lean, aspire to be healthy and the right body weight suited to your height, age and other physical conditions
– Never starve yourself of food. Rather adopt a healthy diet. Increase your protein intake and bring down your sugar, carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and alcohol ratio.
– Either consult a dietician or a nutritional expert or research well enough on a balanced, nutritional diet. Starving our bodies and skipping meals is the worst way to shed off your weight. You are rather harming your body than doing any good. Instead of losing the unnecessary fats, you would end up losing your muscle weight.
– Do not get demotivated at any point in time. Set up short-term achievable goals along with long-term goals. Pat yourself each time you achieve a goal. Staying fit is a lifelong lifestyle choice. It is not a short-term achievement that you get done with.
– Stay strict and firm. Be focused and dedicated but do not be too harsh on yourself.
– Work out rigorously. Make it a part of your lifestyle. Dieting without working out is of no good use. You might end up the excess weight, but your body would not be strong and fit and in a good shape.
Love yourself and be confident at all times. You are trying to get into a better shape for yourself and not others. How you feel about yourself or expect others to treat you should have nothing to do with your body weight.