Mum Bods – Strong is the New Skinny

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This was about 7am Saturday morning. Hubby took this photo as he was like “you are not seriously taking them all out” – ah yes – the boys had been up at 5am and needed the park (so did our fur-baby and his friend we have been looking after). I didn’t want to post it as I thought my thighs looked really big. I have always had a thing about my thighs, as I am a pear-shape and have been quite sporty so never really had well…sticks for legs and certainly no ‘thigh-gap’.

Of course I went and saw the movie Embrace that afternoon by the founder of The Body Image Movement and mentally slapped myself. This movie spoke of the 91% of women who HATE their bodies. Who wished their bodies looked something different. Looked like bodies which are NOT EVEN REAL – photo shopped and edited and cropped and colored all to an ideal that does not even exist.

Seriously what ‘perfect-body’ am I trying to aspire to?  Look at what I about to do – push a million kilograms to the park at 7am in the morning. Ok maybe not a million kilograms,  but two toddlers, two dogs and a double pram (‘graduation pram’ thanks Michelle).

What’s more these thighs, great strong thighs they carry two toddlers around (about 10kgs and 18kgs respectively), they squat a gazillion times a day picking up my toddlers things off the ground, they have walked the hallway up and down trying to sooth a baby to sleep for HOURS, what’s more they have endured a 9 hour and a 30 hour labour getting two babies out….oh and not to mention carried those boys for 9months – one of which basically broke my pelvis and I nearly couldn’t keep carrying – but did to the bitter end.

A thigh-gap is not a measure of our strength. It is not a measure of our self-worth. Nor is it a measure of what we are capable of. I am more confident in my body than I have been my whole life but I still struggle at times. I still think to myself I should be skinnier, more toned – have a thigh-gap.

It’s the the language, the words, we tell ourselves which we have to change, and yes we have to block out the tidal wave of images we get pushed at us.

My boys do not care if I have legs that look like sticks. These thighs are the same ones that they climb onto every night and have cuddles while I read them stories – together – one for each thigh. Lord knows what I will do when we have another baby…haha just might need bigger thighs!

They care what I DO, they care how much I can BE with them, they care that I have the ENERGY and STRENGTH to do what boys love to do. They care I put my MIND to use and that I am HAPPY. No thigh-gap can make up for that. I just graduated from my Doctoral thesis and I can promise you the size of my thighs was not part of the achievement criteria. And if you do happen to really love your legs (or have a thigh-gap for that matter) I am really happy for you, because 91% of us really don’t and no it doesn’t mean you are not normal either.

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I just loved the movie Embrace because it was the start of a conversation that needs a much bigger voice. That we are so much more than simply how we look.

So next time you do look in the mirror and at a photo and like me just see big thighs (or a part of you that you really dislike, maybe even the whole part) give yourself a loving but firm reminder and tell yourself how strong you are. How this part of your body contributed to the beautiful children that you created and carried and look after every single day. That you are beautiful, that you are worth it and that you are loved – all of you – thighs and all.

xxx Dr Julie Bhosale

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