It’s no secret that perception of the “ideal body” has changed over time and with the influence of social media, but what exactly is considered the “ideal body”? Let’s delve into this:
So what prompted this blog post and the transformation rampage I am about to unleash? Well, I found an old camera SD card with photos from 2015. I saw a dramatic difference in my body shape over the last couple of years. My first thought was: What was I thinking? Followed closely by: Why would I do that to myself? (excessive dieting, restricted exercise) And finally: Oh yeah, now I remember, that’s when I aimed to please everyone and make everyone happy … except myself. This was when I was impressionable… and modelling.
For me personally my perception of what I should look like has changed so often over the years but the one thing that remained a constant was that my body image was dictated by someone else, in this case, the modelling industry. Now I’m not going to go on a “the modelling industry is horrible” rant because I still model, but now my image is different – that may not work for all clients but it sure as hell works for me. I’ve taken the power back.
I was always involved in sport and athletes throughout High School and there were two directly conflicting influences in my life. One was athletics – the strength it requires to compete demanded strong muscles and a well conditioned body. Modelling was a direct contradiction to everything I was as an athlete. I was scouted by my first agency at the age of 15, who said I would work well in the industry, but I needed to lose the muscle in my legs. Now just a reminder, I was a long and triple jumper – Main muscle groups required for efficient jumping: glutes, hamstrings, quads – essentially everything that they wanted me to deplete.
When my social media started to build, I was heavily involved in modelling. I had incredible support for my athletic passion through social media and I wanted to become a genuine inspirational figure for health and fitness. Some perceive the female “fitspo” shown on social media as unrealistic, unobtainable and potentially damaging but social media has helped me break the modelling industry mould.
In 2015 I was asked to model internationally. These kinds of opportunities don’t present themselves very often and as we know modelling has an expiry date, so I decided to pursue it. I deferred University for a semester and lived abroad for a few months. When I returned home I was at my weakest and I can honestly say I never want to feel like that again. It was a turning point and I wanted to rediscover who I was. I guess I had to experience myself at different levels of health and strength to truly appreciate my fitness. I began strength training – my own home workouts, re-living the glory days at the track and eventually became strong, if not stronger, than I have ever been – both physically and mentally.
I know I will still be critiqued on social media with comments such as “too big” or “too muscular” or “you looked better before” but my current body shape is a result of my desire to feel strong and healthy rather than to please anyone else. So what is the ‘ideal body’? well, that’s completely your choice. I believe your ideal body should be the point where you feel your best and your most confident. Most importantly, it’s your body, take back the power.