5 Things Olympic Bodies Teach Us About Health
Like billions of people around the world, I love watching the Olympics. As someone who recovered from an eating disorder and used to yo-yo diet, one of the things I find most fascinating about the Olympics is the athlete's bodies.
Here are 5 things Olympic bodies can teach us about health:
1. Weight moesn't matter
Shocked that I would say that? Good! It's time you learnt the truth. Olympic athletes show us that you don't need to weigh a certain amount to be healthy. In fact, you cannot tell if someone is healthy by looking at their body. I am serious. We have been lied to and it's time for the judgement around the 'weight' to end.
When it comes to working out if someone is healthy, I don't care about what you weight. I'm far more curious about: energy levels, fitness, nutrient levels, blood pressure, heart rate, emotional happiness etc etc. These measures tell you whether someone is healthy - not their weight.
2. The BMI is bollocks
I think the BMI (or Body Mass Index) is complete rubbish. If you applied the BMI to these Olympic athletes, many of them would have 'unhealthy' BMIs. The BMI was developed to look at population data - not individuals. And it's outdated now anyway.
BMI should not be used to determine if someone is healthy by comparing their height and weight to the 'norm'.
Too many people who work in the health industry still rely on BMI which is disappointing. But luckily, I think this is changing.
3. We are so different. Naturally.
We have a very narrow view of what we define as a healthy body type. For women the ideal is slim and toned... (but not-too-toned because god forbid women should look too strong! Argh) and for men, the ideal is lean and very muscular (which is equally hard to achieve). Apparently, these 'ideal' body types are meant to be 'healthy'... but I don't buy it.
There is no one healthy body type.
We are all unique with naturally different shapes. Just look at these incredibly healthy Olympians whose incredibly different body types make their superstars.
4. Body shapes are predetermined
We all have a unique body types, that is largely predetermined. Fitness magazines and stupid diets love to make us think we can magically morph into a different body type with enough willpower, exercise and restrictive. But we can't. If you look at the Olympic athletes, you can clearly see the natural differences in body types.
One body type is not better than the other - they are just different, with their own unique benefits.
I'm a naturally muscular girl. I've always been good at sports but even a few years ago, I would have traded that in a heart beat to fit into the thin body ideal. I used to resent that I wasn't lean, skinny or slight. But that is my body type. No matter how much weight I lose, my body type remains.
Instead of trying to change my shape (which is actually impossible), I've just accepted that this is my body type and I'm embracing the benefits that come with it. It may not be 'perfect', but it's healthy. And that's far more important to me...
5. No one is naturally or permanently body confident
Have you ever lost weight and thought, "this is great - but if I could just lose a little more then...". It's super common. Even people who have the 'ideal' body type aren't happy with their bodies. Olympians aren't immune either.
My take-home message for you, my friend.
Please don’t give up 95% of your life to weigh 5% less.
Your healthiest weight is not defined by how good you look in swimmers or whether or not you have cellulite on your thighs.
Your healthiest weight is where your hormones are balanced, your body is strong and you have the energy to do the things you love.
When you push your body to lose those last stubborn pounds, deprive, restrict, push and punish, you’re giving up more than calories.
You miss out on life. You pay with freedom and spontaneity. You give up your mental space so all you can think about is food and numbers.
Your life doesn’t have to revolve around food and your mood doesn’t need to be dictated by the number on the scale.
Body love isn’t about losing weight until you finally love your body. It’s about accepting your body the way it is, right now, imperfections and all.
Body confidence is always a work in progress. With the never-ending news feed telling us to lose weight and look a certain way, it takes constant work to remind yourself that it's ok to just be healthy, not perfect. It's something I remind myself of daily. But it's a decision you can make.
Now I'm going to leave you with this video of Serena Williams being awesome and teaching us how to work it..
If you're sick of hating your body and want to love your natural body shape, then let's do something about it. Learn to listen to your body, give up diets and eat well by checking out the Keep It Real Program.
MORE BLOG POSTS YOU MAY LOVE:
SOME HEALTHY RECIPES TO BITE INTO:
This super simple one tray salmon bake is a game-changer for mid-week meals.
This one-tray balsamic chicken is a perfectly balanced meal to make for a mid-week dinner (or meal prep)!
This Loaded Greek Salad is one of my favourite recipes. It uses everyday ingredients to create something really special... in a matter of minutes.
One pot and just a few key ingredients, this easy (and cheap!) recipe will create a delicious meal. Make it for Meat-free Monday and you'll have plenty of leftovers to enjoy throughout the week.
A delicious 4-ingredient treat. I pretty much just took the yummiest ingredients and blitzed them up into a recipe. How could it not be good?
This is an easy, classic and oh-so-delicious salad recipe to add to your repertoire. It's perfect for meal prep...!
With only four ingredients, this simple salad is perfect for mid-week meals (or entertaining).
The perfect Summer BBQ salad to impress friends and family. Add this healthy recipe to your repertoire when you're next entertaining.
You're busy? Me too! So here is an easy and healthy mid-week Eggplant Parmigiana. You pretty much throw all the ingredients into a tray so it's kinda hard to mess up. Enjoy!
Easy, healthy, tasty... This healthy chocolate smoothie recipe is so filling and super convenient breakfast for busy mornings. It'll even help you sneak in a serve of greens.
You'll want oodles of these zoodles with this delicious creamy avocado dressing. Topped with flakey almonds, bright cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese, I know you're going to love this healthy recipe.
When you make your own muesli or granola, it's often a lot healthier because you know exactly what goes into it. Try my homemade toasted muesli (granola) recipe for a healthier breakfast cereal.
This soup is so filling and healthy. I'll meal prep this recipe ahead of a busy week. It's a great way to get through veggies in the fridge and feed the family a really nourishing meal for less.
Tomatoes are at their best during Spring and Summer and this simple 4-ingredient Tomato and Feta Salad is a winner, especially for BBQ season. Swap the boring same-same salad for this simply wonderful dish.
This quick and easy overnight oats is wonderful for busy mornings. You can meal prep them on the weekend ahead of a busy week.
I'm so excited about this recipe. You should know up front that I can’t bake very well. I’m quite impatient, particularly when chocolate is involved. But even I could make this delicious Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe easily. It's so good!!!
Chocolate and Hazelnuts... two flavours that are meant for each other! This healthier version of a choc-hazelnut spread has only 4 ingredients, is super easy to make and did I mention it tastes amazing too?
Introducing Cauliflower Steaks - A healthier alternative to the BBQ grill. You've probably eaten cauliflower as rice, mashed, boiled and baked - but have you ever tried grilling it on the BBQ?
This is my favourite baked sweet potato recipe. It's a classic. I keep coming back to it because it's really that good. The sweet potatoes caramelises. It's the perfect recipe for batch cooking or meal prep.
With only 2-ingredients, this healthy recipe will be ready in less than 3 minutes. I have a major sweet tooth and this healthy strawberry sorbet (with its' sweet/sour taste) really hits the spot.
Avo smash is a classic Aussie favourite featuring beautiful Australian Avocados. This simple healthy recipe is a fantastic breakfast option. You'll find it it's satiating thanks to the combo of healthy fats and lean protein.
Most banana breads from cafes are closer to dessert than "bread", however, this banana bread recipe is far healthier for you. You're going to love this recipe!
Love avocado? chocolate? and dessert? then you will love this super simple, quick and easy creamy avocado and dark chocolate mousse!
This whole baked dutch carrots recipe is a great side to almost any dish. Once the oven is on, make your life easy - add chicken or salmon to the tray. An easy and healthy dinner will be ready in no time!
Want to put a healthy dinner on the table in 30 minutes, without much cleaning up? This healthy one-tray recipe is for you! It ticks all the boxes.
Love fresh and crispy veggies (not overcooked, limp and dull veg)? Then this super-quick sautéed chilli snow peas recipe will give you healthy crispy side dish in five minutes.
This 10-minute chicken salad with strawberry and a sweet balsamic dressing is a delicious, healthy and fast meal. This recipe is the perfect light summer meal.
Love chocolate like I do, but want it to be healthy? This yummy Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe is delicious, high in fibre, healthy fats and protein - so you'll be satiated and nourished. It's a great snack and perfect for healthy meal prep.
You need to try this simple 4-ingredient pancake recipe from Wholefood Society founder Nadia Felsch. It ticks all the boxes. Simple, healthy, real food and minimal cleaning up. Enjoy anytime of day!
BBQ season is just around the corner. If you're wanting to eat less meat (like I am!) then this healthy Tomato Medley & Barbecued Haloumi Skewer recipe is for you. Enjoy!