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Women In Sport

Thursday by indra

Women In Sport: Climbing Beyond Body Image and Weight

Beauty and physical fitness are primary goals for many women in today's society. Body image, weight management, and eating problems have joined sex as the central issues in the lives of women. Female Athletes are no exception to this rule. The media is constantly bombarding us through TV ads, billboards, magazines and the internet, with the message that a woman's body must be fit, thin, well-groomed, perfumed, and tastefully clothed. Regardless of the female's role in life e.g. mother, wife, athlete, society places an ideal physical type for her to measure up to. With the ideal body image continually changing, this is a never ending process. Because of this, women are taught to view themselves from the outside rather than from a healthy perspective.

For climbers and athletes alike, appearing physically fit is a significant part of the picture. Many women begin exercising for the purpose of burning calories - losing weight and looking better, rather than for inner satisfaction and health. It's time to start thinking differently! Become less concerned about the evaluations of others and focus on your own internal acceptance, regardless of body size or shape. The greater one's inner strength and self-esteem, the less need there is to gain someone else's approval. Avoid viewing climbing as exercise - just a means to burning calories; instead focus on the joy and passion you experience. Think about 'training' - which is about improving your performance and skills.

Overcome the emphasis placed on BMI's, hip to waist ratios, height / weight charts and even scales, think of a healthy weight as the size your body naturally finds when you are living a reasonable life: feeling good, climbing strong, high immunity and low susceptibility to injuries. It is the weight that your body moves toward when you are not obsessing about food, but rather living a balanced life of moderation in eating and training. People come in all sizes and shapes, and many factors contribute to healthy weight, not only food intake. Research has continually shown that dieting does not work. You can't live an unhealthy life and arrive at a healthy weight - not one that will last.

Regardless of your size, if you are struggling with food, weight, or body image, the way forward looks much the same. Move your thoughts from the weight issue and instead focus on self-esteem and quality of life. Rather than struggling with your body, make it a partner in your quest for optimal health. Learn about good nutrition, listen to your body's needs and take good care of yourself. Use positive affirmations, meditation, and visualization techniques to strengthen your self image and esteem to withstand society's negative messages about fat, femaleness, and failure. Become more interested in inner satisfaction and less focused on pleasing others through outward appearance. Once you have a better relationship with yourself, you are more motivated to take good care of your body and with a healthy mind and body, improve your sports performance. Being in tune with yourself allows you to discover a variety of ways to challenge, soothe, nourish and rest your body. Then you can free your energy for engaging in the more exciting activities of life. You can work out for the right reasons, enjoy climbing to the fullest, and do it completely for yourself

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