How do you react when you see yourself in a mirror…naked? Sadly, if you’re like me, your brain buzzes with self-directed insults. “Oh my god, I’m so fat,” “What an ugly flabby belly,” “That’s no muffin top, it’s a friggin’ Mac truck spare tire,” “My butt is huge,” and so much more.
Well, guess what, Divas? Your body – no matter its shape, size or weight – is much stronger than you think it is. Yes, believe it!
Whether consciously or not, each and every woman who competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio had to believe in their bodies’ abilities to be strong enough for their sport. Looking at athletes such as tennis great Serena Williams, gymnastic sensation Simon Biles, world-champ triathlete Gwen Jorgensen, and beach volleyball phenom Kerri Walsh Jennings, we naturally believe they are strong by their athletic performance and by their well-defined muscles that were honed by their sport.
But what about a woman like Sara Robles? Would you expect her to be one of the strongest women in the world? Never heard of her?
Don’t feel bad if you don’t believe me or if you don’t know her. We’ve been exposed to decades of body-shaming messages by advertisers, the cosmetic and fashion industries, and others looking to profit off our insecurities. Except for the brief mention during NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, I don’t know if she’s been interviewed by broadcast or cable sports outlets.
As a member of the U.S. Weightlifting team, Sara won the bronze medal in the women’s 75+ kilogram (weighing more than 165 pounds) weight division at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
In her five lifts, Sara successfully lifted a combined 286 kilograms (630.522 pounds!) to win the first medal for the U.S. since 2000.
China’s Meng Suping (center, above) lifted a total of 307 kilograms (676.819 pounds) to win gold. North Korea’s Kim Kuk-hyan (left) lifted 306 kilograms (674.615 pounds) to take silver.
Two other American women competed in weightlifting as well.
Jenny Arthur finished in sixth in the 75kg (151.822 to 165 pounds) division after lifting a total of 242kg (533.519 pounds).
Morghan King also finished sixth in the 48kg (weighing less than 105.6 pounds) division after lifting a total of 183kg (403.446 pounds).
No matter what shape your body is in right now, it can become stronger, more agile, and healthier when we start exercising it and feeding it the foods it needs to thrive. Yes, it takes effort. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes a willingness to change. Getting started is the hardest part.
So let’s begin that journey right now with one this single step: Let’s stop shaming ourselves right now for the bodies we have and start celebrating how wonderful they really are.