Monday, February 15, 2016

Why the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is important

I'm a certified personal trainer. My job is not to make people shrink.  My job is to educate my clients and help them reach the goals they set for themselves. Not everyone's goals are the same.  My goals are not your goals and vice versa.  So why am I bringing up the SI swimsuit issue?  I could write at length about this topic, but I'm going to just share a few things.

Why the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is important:

1. As a woman who has battled disordered eating, bullying (now we call it fat shaming), yo-yo dieting and poor self worth for most of my life, the three very different women on this cover represent a societal shift.  It represents that the perceived standard of beauty and sexiness is starting to change.  Sidenote: the editors and marketing team realized this would create buzz.  Let's get down to it: it's all about money. If these covers entice people to buy magazines, then the gamble paid off.

2.  Health is a lifestyle, not a size.  I don't know a lot about Hailey Clauson.  I have followed Ashley Graham's career for about a year.  I've been a Ronda Rousey fan for 6+ years.  I have watched and read about Rousey's lifestyle and nutrition.  She is healthy, athletic and beautiful.  Ashley Graham exercises on a regular basis, enjoys a diet of balance and moderation and is beautiful.  Though I don't know a lot about her, Clauson is also a beautiful woman.  All three of these women make a living off their appearance.  To say that Rousey and Graham are not healthy because they don't look like Clauson is an ignorant statement. What does their blood work, blood pressure or resting heart rate look like?  Those are really the biggest measures of our health, not how we look in a bathing suit.

3.  Making a decision to lead a healthier lifestyle is major.  Losing weight, gaining muscle, training for an endurance race or simply improving your eating habits are all challenging in their own way depending on the person.   I can tell you that for a lot of my weight loss clients, the biggest battle I help them face is what's going on between their ears.  Overcoming what we see in the mirror and think about our bodies are two of the biggest obstacles in reaching health goals.  Don't minimize the effect of what seeing a woman who "looks like you" on the cover of a magazine might do for a woman's self esteem.  (anyone remember wanting to look like Cindy Crawford, Kathy Ireland or Hannah Davis and realizing that may never happen?)

4. No one has the right to tell you what your body should look like.  It's your choice.  The kind of lifestyle you want to lead will have an impact on what your body looks like.  Hailey Clauson's body works for her career.  Ashley Graham's body works for her lifestyle and career.  Ronda Rousey has made her living on having muscle, strength and stamina.  Who are we to say 'your body isn't good enough?'

I could go on forever about this topic.  If you want to discuss further, leave a comment.  I welcome the dialogue, but no body bashing.


  1. This was very well written! Couldn't agree more....You rock Stephanie...