Holistic Health Radio Episode 4: The Truth About Bodybuilding & Bikini Competitions
About This Episode
So I never in my wildest dreams thought I would post these photos again. I put them up on Facebook 10 years ago after competing in my first bodybuilding competition in the Bikini Division and thought I looked like the picture of health, but the truth is these photos symbolise the start of an eating disorder.
They symbolise restriction and obsession with exercise, weight and shape.
They bring back memories or prioritising my workout routine and strict diet over work, my Uni degree, and spending time with friends and family.
They remind me how sad I was despite the fact that I’m smiling here through it all.
They make me recall the eye surgery I had 2 weeks before the show and the fact that I couldn’t let myself rest and recover.
This photo isn’t health. Diet culture isn’t health. Yet we glamorise it like it is!
For example, last week Barnaby Joyce ex-wife, Natalie Joyce made the news for her recent weight loss and participation in a bodybuilding competition. My clients brought it up in conversation commenting on how well she’d done and how great she looked, and isn’t this an achievement that should be celebrated.
This my friends is diet culture at its finest. I honestly can’t even imagine the heartache Ms. Joyce has been through, but the fact that she made the news for shrinking her body to fit into our westernised ideals perpetuates the message to women (and men), that success means being in a smaller, more toned body.
That if something happens to you in your relationship, or your career, or anything that you hold in high stead and subsequently lose, you can just get revenge by spending all your time, money and energy changing your shape.
Exercise can be a great way to help with emotional regulation. It can also be a way to avoid emotions at all costs. Exercise can also bring people together, or it can tear them apart because it’s prioritised above everything else.
I say this not as a personal attack on Ms. Joyce because I have nothing against her personally, but simply to highlight that she’d probably never have made the news if she decided to dedicate herself to 12 weeks of something not related to weight loss like mindfulness or meditation. “Natalie Joyce Gets Revenge By Being The Most Zen Mum Ever” just doesn’t have as much pull does it?
Diet culture messages surround us every day. All you have to do is scroll through Instagram, or pick up the latest glossy magazine. Buy this supplement, do this workout, follow this diet. They all hinge on our insecurities and make us believe we’re not good enough. They lead to self-esteem issues, disordered eating, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and the list goes on. It also makes feeding yourself much more complicated than it needs to be because the next new diet or superfood is always popping up.
However, you do have another choice. You can choose peace. Peace with food, movement and your body. The realisation that you are enough and that your gift to the world is not the vessel that you embody, but the mind within it to do great things.
Hi future friends, I’m Sarah King, a Health At Every Size (HAES) Exercise Physiologist and health coach.
Science, not trends is the foundation of my approach. By nourishing the body and mind with scientific facts we can build foundations for a life of realness, not just wellness.