According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, the “ideal” body type portrayed in advertising is naturally possessed by only 5% of American females. If that number isn’t frustrating enough, the National Eating Disorders Association found that 70% of women report that they don’t like their bodies, while 89% of women have dieted by age 17.
One of the reasons I decided to try to run my first marathon was to lose weight. I, like so many women, had an image of what a runner looks like and the body I had, wasn't it. So I ran a marathon. And then a few dozen more half marathons. And three more marathons. But despite the fact that I was working harder than I'd ever worked before, I didn't think my body reflected it.
That was until one summer day when I caught myself dissecting my reflection in the mirror. I felt the familiar wave of self hatred wash over me and stopped dead in my tracks.
That was the day that I found the courage to finally ditch my shirt, start putting in the work to love my body, embrace my strength, and launched the #SportsBraSquad with hopes that other women would join me in my quest to change the way we see strength.
One of the most effective ways to change the way we see and feel about our bodies is to experience what they're capable of. But it isn’t easy to learn to love the rolls, cellulite, love handles, and stretch marks you’ve spent years ashamed of. All our lives we've been shown that strength has one look and for 95% of women, it hasn't looked like us.
The best part about being a runner is that we know how hard we work and I can almost guarantee that most of us aren’t running towards a goal weight. We’re running for our lives. For peace of mind. And because we love the feeling we get when we push our limits and make our own impossible goals, possible.
But despite the fact that we're all working as hard as we can to be the strongest versions of ourselves, so many of us still fail to look in the mirror and see our bodies for what they are, STRONG.
Welcome to the #SportsBraSquad. A movement dedicated to redefining what strength looks like. Here, women can share their stories, why they ditched their shirts, and what they run for.
If you'd like to share your story, email SportsBraSquad@gmail.com.
Let's show the world what strength looks like.