This is the third of a handful of posts I’ve solicited from some friends in the ancestral health community whose voices I admire (Part 1 by Tara Grant is here, Part 2 by Kendall Kendrick here). I’ll be posting these in the days leading up to AHS13. It’s my hope that these dispatches will resonate with others out there and help dispel the notion that everyone in ancestral health have hunter-gatherer physiques and zero health struggles. I’m tired of the apologies and I’m tired of people not feeling welcome. We all come to ancestral health for our own reasons, and this is too important of a movement to let divisions arise over perfectly normal, human experiences.
Today, we hear from Dr. Anastasia Boulais of PrimalMedEd.com.
We tend to associate self-doubt and body image concern with teenagers. Unhappy in their own skin, as if they grew into it too quickly, they fret about minor imperfections, dwell on perceived drawbacks that nobody but them can see, and agonise over the opinions of perfect strangers.
The expectation is that we all grow out of this unhappy time. But do we? With touched-up airbrushed photoshopped images of beautiful people screaming at us from magazines, our TV set, and social media, is it any wonder that many of us feel less than perfect? Ever heard 30-something mothers trash-talking themselves down during an afternoon coffee catch up? Yep, it’s like teenage angst on steroids.
The scary thing is that the ideal female form seems to get more and more elusive with every year. The expectations rise higher and higher: slim but toned body, clear skin with a hint of tan but no sun damage, perky breasts, firm cellulite-free butt, soft shiny hair, long black eyelashes, perfect pearly white teeth.
We in the Paleo community are not immune to these pressures. The new “strong is the new skinny” mantra did not remove the body image pressure, but instead, added another layer: now you have to be lean, muscular, have a 6-pack and a big round (still cellulite-free!) bootie. Being bombarded by “Fitspiration” images can stir up the same insecurities, as an old Barbie-doll ideal. And make some feel that they don’t “belong” in Paleo community unless they have the same attributes. What a load of superficial crockshit (pardon my Australian)!
I used to stress about not being perfect. Then I stopped reading women’s magazines or watching TV. If there was a magic wand, are there are things I would change about my body? Sure! Longer legs, perkier boobs, don’t even get me started on stretchmarks (grrrr)… Just like any other woman, I hate bikini shopping (seriously, who invented fluorescent lighting in changerooms?)
I don’t have a full length mirror in my house. I don’t know my weight in kilograms or pounds. I give my body what it needs: nourishing food, challenging training and replenishing recovery. It’s like having a favourite coat: you have had it for years, it has a few holes, the buttons are just hanging in there, the collar is a bit worn, but it is still the best thing you own. Every time you put it on you feel warm, confident and sexy. So next time you get up in the morning put on your “coat”, throw a quick cheeky look at the mirror, and stroll out the door with a radiant smile and your head held up high. And one more, have a laugh at yourself now and then.
Anastasia Boulais is a brand-spanking new doctor in Australia and, along with her partner Jamie Scott, runs Whole9 South Pacific. She’ll be giving a presentation on melanoma and ancestral health at AHS13.