What is the perfect female form? Where is it written that as women our bodies must be a certain size and shape? We all strive, sacrifice and place ourselves under so much stress to achieve this modern day, dare I say, illusion and then beat ourselves up when we fall short. Did our great grandmothers feel the same pressure? Do women in villages in Africa today feel this pressure? Where did we get this obsession of comparing ourselves to others? And surely there are more important things in life?
What does it feel like to actually achieve the perfect female form? Do you think that if you managed to achieve it you would be happier? Is this the answer to all your problems? I have been fortunate enough to be slim most of my life (so why wasn't I happy..?), however I have not escaped eating disorders or the intense pressure too many women feel about their bodies. Having debuted as a bikini model at the tender age of 46, at an age where surely the pressure lessens? I have learnt some valuable and life changing lessons on chasing this illusion and is why I feel so passionate about supporting women to feel good about themselves whatever their size!
I will be honest with you, although on the outside I have always appeared attractive, I have not loved myself, I have not treated myself with respect and I had no idea that this was the core of my issues. I was ugly on the inside but couldn't see it although realised that I was far from happy. I was also shy and introverted, I had no confidence in any area of my life (although you never would have guessed it) and I went to extraordinary lengths to hide the real Jane. Born from a lack of unconditional love I have spent a lifetime believing there is something wrong with me, attracting relationships and circumstances that did not foster a positive self image and always searching for the answer of how to “fix” myself.Therapists/books/courses/diets/relationships/addictions the list goes on and on of things I have tried to correct and to hide from my perceived flaws. So in my mid 40’s, having missed out on having children due to my inability to “fix” myself in time, and quite clearly hating myself even more, (but didn't know it) I go to the HUGE lengths of getting up on stage in a bikini. Surely if I obtain the perfect female form AND get the attention and adoration of everyone I will be happy and feel good about myself?
I started down this road for all the wrong reasons; for vanity, for attention, to fill a void, to obtain the perfect female form and to finally be happy… Really? Is that the answer?
A funny thing happens when you start treating your body with love and respect. When you start nurturing it with the right fuel and you become physically strong through resistance training. Most would say you have to be mentally strong to compete in the body building world. I would definitely agree, however, I certainly didn’t start out that way and I am not sure most women do. And although I can now freely admit that I am addicted to this new way of life (I have been addicted to far worse!) it has given me what I have spent my entire life searching for; self respect. Ironic isn't it? Too many women tie their self esteem to their bodies without appreciating the soul that body houses. It stands to reason if you start treating your body with love and respect, when you start to feel the affects of premium health and wellbeing, that your mind will follow and low and behold there is this amazing women inside and guess what? she has always been there!
Well you know the ending to my story; I achieved it. That is me in the picture attached to this blog. I managed to get myself on stage twice and I have had numerous photo shoots and captured all my blood, sweat and tears. And believe me there were a lot of tears. A journey that nearly broke me physically, emotionally, mentally, financially; I lost friends (think that was really a gain), my family didn’t support me, cleared a large chunk of my savings, I have even had trouble securing corporate work. Talk about sacrifices for the sake of obtaining this illusive perfect female form! We look at images of these women and aspire to have their bodies but I don’t think anyone realises what it takes to achieve and how difficult it is to maintain. Did I “fix” myself? Was I even broken? I have certainly come a long way but NOT because of the body I now own, oddly that is not even my main priority anymore (I am now trying to put on weight lol!) but because of the woman I have become, because of the qualities I now possess, because on this journey I was forced to look deep inside to get this shy ass girl on stage! I finally did find the answer and it was within me all along. There is nothing wrong with me!!! Did I really have to go to such lengths to work this out??!!!
So how do you love and accept the body that you have, the beautiful woman that you already are, while striving for a healthier, happier you? Isn’t that the million dollar question! And why I now devote my life to supporting my clients and sharing all my secrets of how I got this introverted, self loathing girl on stage and how I have finally became the woman I was born to be. When you focus on nurturing, caring and loving your body, when you start making yourself a priority in a world that is constantly demanding you to give up your authenticity, truly magical things start happening in your life. No woman should miss out on this amazing feeling of empowerment that I stumbled across while chasing an illusion. And no one should have to go to the extremes I did to learn this lesson!
The perfect female form is a modern day illusion created by mass media. And we have all been sucked in and brain washed. In our so called democratic society we overlook the fact that the advertising and media industry is a business, big business. Once upon a time, when we were a tad more modest and conservative, we were only exposed to images from the media through black and white newspapers. With the advent of magazines, TV, the internet, smart phones etc. and our seemingly endless need to reveal more and more human nakedness we are bombarded everywhere we turn by these images. We have become a society of voyeurs, reality TV shows have become the norm and you only have to look at the phenomenal success of Miley Cyrus, who has exploited the media superbly; love her or hate her, everyone is watching her. Everywhere we turn, including on screens in nearly every gym (?!), we see an image of a female form that is whose version of perfect?