No, don’t answer that question about me. I’m just going to live in la-la land and assume that all of you think I am the human equivalent of Fancy Feast and leave it at that. (No I don’t know what that analogy means either, shut up.)
Since starting the Jillian Michaels Experiment (which oddly has been waaaay easier than I had expected – not sure what to think of that yet), one of the most frequent comments I’ve received both on the net and in real life is about how Jillian looks.
People have very strong opinions about her (as might I if I had ever seen The Biggest Loser, which I haven’t). Women either think she looks like a dude or that she’s completely bufftastically awesome. I haven’t had one person look at the book cover and just go… “Meh, she’s all right.”
All of this body ideal talk got me thinking. Back in the day, when I started my whole fitness kick (What – you thought I was always this crazy? I was the softest squishiest geek you ever pushed into her locker in High School.) Amy Lee of Evanescence – yes I went through a Goth phase and yes I know I just dated myself, shut UP and let me finish already – was my ideal body type and I thought that Kelly Ripa looked “hard” with her visible pecs & bulging bis.
And so it was with this attitude that I found Tom Venuto’s book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle,” which became my weight-lifting and nutrition bible for the next year. The subtitle read: How to be a fitness model or just look like one. I thought the term “fitness model” meant the girls who appear on Shape & Self and the like. Who wouldn’t want that? It was a couple of years before I realized that “fitness model” is an actual title that means something akin to this:But by then I was too firmly ensconced in the fitness world to care. I loved my exercise. I loved my new muscles. I loved that I could climb up the fireman pole at the playground without using my legs. I loved that when I flexed my back, it actually rippled. And it never occurred to me that I had passed right on by Amy Lee and was closing in on Kelly Ripa, although I’ll never have her abs – but it’s not for lack of trying.
The change was subtle. Slowly but surely I started thinking of starlets like Kirsten Dunst and Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan as “squishy” and “un-toned” and even “skinny fat.” Theirs was no longer a body ideal I aspired to. But I didn’t really realize how far I’d come until a good friend’s husband looked at my Jillian Michael’s book and wrinkled his nose, “What girl would want abs like that? Gross!” Me, apparently.
Any of you experience a paradigm shift like this?