Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself that you were to skinny, too muscular, or to tall to be a swimmer, a gymnast, or a figure skater? As a 13-year-old competitive figure skater, I struggled with being shorter and more muscular than my competitors. I did not have the long, graceful lines that the judges were looking for. This often caused me to become nervous before competitions and to lose trust in my abilities. I did not love my body for what it could do; like rotating in the air, spinning in unique positions, and moving powerfully across the ice. Without practicing positive body image, I was stuck recognizing what my body looked like, not all the amazing sequences I could make while skating. Therefore, this summer leading up to my 25thbirthday I sought out on a journey to love my body for what it can do, and to thank myself for all the hard work I have put into developing the person I am today! On my running journey this summer, I reflected on what I would have wanted my 13-year-old self to know, and decided to share it with you all.
Here are the three most important things to remember when practicing positive body image:
- Love your body for what it CAN DO.
- FUEL your body to perform.
- You may be short, but you are STRONG.
Love your body for all that it does… it is hard not to wish you were taller or skinnier like other girls, but know that your strong thigh muscles are what allow you to propel your body into the air and rotate 2 times. As a young athlete, it is never to late to think about the proper way to fuel your body with delicious nutrients that will improve your performance! In college I started to drink 1% Horizon Chocolate Milk after long runs, and realized it was such a great way to enjoy a little chocolate while refueling my body. Peanut butter and rice cakes are also my go to! Being 4’11 will never be easy – there will always be someone who wants to treat you as baby, but remember ALL the strong things that your body can do and be Proud of short stature!
My lasting message for my 13-year-old-self is that you are STRONG, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, and NEVER GIVE UP! Love your body for what it does, not what it looks like.
Follow this three part series with writer Meghan Olt as she reflects how ZGiRLS Curriculum can impact her 13-year-old self, and all the amazing ZGiRLS out there.