On Obsession

There are some things which are good to be obsessed about; world peace for example. Other things can be dangerous if obsessed over too much. Some people get themselves in trouble over obsessions with alcohol or find themselves at an unhealthy weight due to an obsession with chocolate.

One toxic obsession our society currently forces on us is an obsession with being skinny. This obsession is apparent on the cover of every magazine, in photos of celebrities, on television, in fashion shows, and in the popular clothing styles. Our message to women is that we prefer them most when they have the bodies of young girls 16 to 18 years old; slender, with thighs that don’t touch and a microscopic amount of body fat.

Unfortunately, this is not what grown women are designed to look like. Athletic women are scientifically between 18 – 20 percent body fat. Women’s bodies stop working properly when their body fat drops below 15 percent; causing women to stop having menstrual cycles and in some cases lose the ability to become pregnant. So why is it so many of the clients I meet with every day want to look like this?

There are some things which are good to be obsessed about; world peace for example. Other things can be dangerous if obsessed over too much. Some people get themselves in trouble over obsessions with alcohol or find themselves at an unhealthy weight due to an obsession with chocolate.

One toxic obsession our society currently forces on us is an obsession with being skinny. This obsession is apparent on the cover of every magazine, in photos of celebrities, on television, in fashion shows, and in the popular clothing styles. Our message to women is that we prefer them most when they have the bodies of young girls 16 to 18 years old; slender, with thighs that don’t touch and a microscopic amount of body fat.

Unfortunately, this is not what grown women are designed to look like. Athletic women are scientifically between 18 – 20 percent body fat. Women’s bodies stop working properly when their body fat drops below 15 percent; causing women to stop having menstrual cycles and in some cases lose the ability to become pregnant. So why is it so many of the clients I meet with every day want to look like this?

 

joannakrupa1
Because images like these come from the pages of “fitness” and “workout” publications. And from billboard ads, TV ads, and print abs which tout the benefits of working out and getting into good shape…

 Personal Trainer, Fitness Model Pamela H (1)


So it must be okay for the average woman to want the physique of a teenage girl.

Many women are encouraged to concern themselves with how every single inch of their body looks instead of concerning themselves with how their body can perform under pressure; during a half marathon or 3 hour tennis match. Women buy into this constant scrutiny of every inch of fat on their bodies. Strong, muscular legs, defined deltoids and a trim waistline often is not enough to distract many women from criticizing the two inch square space of fatty tissue on their thighs.

 I argue that not only is this obsession unhealthy, it’s actually detracting from the quality of life of the obsessor, stealing the joy and reward of strength gains, and causing unnecessary stress which greatly decreases the overall health of the individual. In short, this obsessive behavior is self-destructive.

I think we should ditch our obsession with being skinny and avoiding any tiny little dimple of fat and instead replace it with an obsession for making it through an intense hour of kickboxing with no breaks or noticing the cut of our shoulders in a tank top due to our challenging shoulder work.


Every person must decide for themselves what is most important. What do you think is worth obsessing over?

 

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