A Conversation About Women’s Bodies. Yeah, That’s Right. From a GUY.

I am not politically correct.  So life is easy for me: I am actually allowed to see and describe reality as it really is.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I first (inadvertently) tried on my first pair of “skinny jeans” and discovered that I couldn’t even get my CALVES through the thighs, let alone my thighs.

I was buying a new pair of jeans for the first time in a fair period of time – jeans being the sorts of things that generally last a while – and was frankly mystified by all the different styles that had popped out of nowhere while I was in fashion limbo.

I’m a weightlifter, and if that isn’t bad enough, I’ve just got naturally big legs.  So yeah, my solid legs didn’t go through the tiny little leg holes of the death camp pants very well.  I mean, what am I supposed to do, say, “Those lucky Jews in the 1940s…Good thing that nice man Adolf Hitler came along to help them get into those fashionable Brandy Melville clothes?”  I don’t think so.

So, with that experience in my mind, let me address this woman shopper’s experience.  And then let me talk about it after the article:

Teens Love Brandy Melville, A Fashion Brand That Sells Only One Tiny Size – Huffington Post
by admin | posted: October 15, 2014

Paytas described the experience in an email to Brandy Melville: “I didn’t get 10 seconds into the store when I was told ‘I would not fit anything’ and that I wasn’t allowed to try anything on because ‘I would stretch the clothes out.’” She added that many of her viewers have had similar experiences at Brandy Melville shops. Paytas declined an interview request for “legal reasons.”

“We can satisfy almost everybody, but not everybody,” said Longo. “The one-size-fits-most clothing might turn off somebody if they don’t walk into the store, but if you walk in you’ll find something even if it’s a bag.”

Whether fat-shamed directly or not, it’s evident that Brandy Melville customers feel the pressure, even by simply walking into a store. Take this sampling of customers lamenting their weight because of Brandy Melville:

NEW YORK — “Small,” reads the label dangling from the first tank top on the rack at the Brandy Melville store in SoHo. So does the one behind it. And the third, fourth, fifth — they’re all small. In fact, nearly every single piece of clothing in the store is either labeled “small” or “one-size.”

how to feel fat: brandy melville jeans

Typical Brandy Melville girls on Instagram.

brandy melvilleAt Brandy Melville, nearly all the clothes are small, though a medium will pop up here and there. To be able to shimmy into Brandy Melville’s only size of skinny jeans, a girl would need to have a 25-inch waist — that’s around a size 0 or 2, depending on the brand. Most skirts and shorts on the website are about the same size. Similar skinny jeans at teen fashion powerhouse Forever 21 span sizes from 24 to 30 inches. In the U.S., the average 16-year-old girl is approximately 5 feet 3inches tall, weighs about 138 pounds and has around a 31-inch waist, according to a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The battle to be thinnest could be dangerous. A 2013 study from researchers at Texas A&M found that girls feel the most pressure to be skinny when they compare themselves with their peers. More than half of teenage girls use “unhealthy weight control behaviors,” like skipping meals, fasting or vomiting, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Rachel Simmons, co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute, a national nonprofit group, said Brandy Melville puts teen girls through the “paces of the popularity jungle,” recreating the challenge of having to be the best and coolest in school.

im too fat for brandy melville and it breaks my heart

Brandy Melville is gaining traction with teens. (Data: Piper Jaffray)

I would buy stuff from Brandy Melville but im too fat.

Whereas typically teenage girls need to come up with the money to buy the “cool clothes,” with Brandy Melville, cost isn’t a challenge. The clothes are relatively affordable. Skirts and dresses run from $20 to $40. Plenty of tops cost less than $30, and some halters cost as little as $11.

Since its arrival on the West Coast, Brandy Melville’s clothes have swept through high schools, attracting teen girls who want to be part of the waif club. Lani Renaldo, a freshman at the University of Southern California who graduated from a Santa Monica high school in the spring, said Brandy Melville clothes were unavoidable among teens in the area. They became necessities, she said.

— lauren (@fivesohs) August 9, 2014

“It was really uncommon to know somebody who didn’t have Brandy Melville,” Renaldo, who wrote a blog post earlier this year condemning Brandy Melville for leaving teens as outcasts, told HuffPost. “You had to own something from Brandy, and if you didn’t, it’s really weird.”

crying bc too fat to fit into brandy melville.. sigh

Welcome to the hottest teen clothing retailer in the U.S., where the garments are designed for just one body type: thin. Brandy Melville has stormed onto the teen fashion scene with its “one-size-fits-most” policy and whimsical California vibe. Despite its modest fleet of 18 stores in the U.S., mostly in California and around New York City, it’s one of the brands with the fastest-growing popularity among American teen girls, according to a semiannual survey from research firm Piper Jaffray.

Who is the Brandy Melville girl? One look at the brand’s website and Instagram account reveals her: young, white, skinny and long-legged.

With all the importance it places on teensy waists and thigh gaps, the Brandy Melville culture was bound to court controversy.

Brandy Melville makes me feel fat.

In 2012, YouTube star Trisha Paytas said she’d been shamed at a Brandy Melville store in California. In a video uploaded to her YouTube account, Paytas alleged that a store employee wouldn’t even let her try on clothes because of her size. She said she took down the video after receiving a letter from a lawyer representing Brandy Melville.

Regular teens aspire to one day be one of these Instagram girls, or at least look like them. Diehard fangirls treat the Brandy Melville girls like Internet celebrities, pinning Brandy Melville bags on their walls as decorations and Instagramming their caches of Brandy Melville clothes, explained Sharp. Teens will go to a Brandy Melville store just to take a selfie and share it, she said.

— layn (@yunglaynr) September 27, 2014

Brandy Melville did not respond to requests for comment from HuffPost. But in an interview with USA Today earlier this year, Jessy Longo, an executive at Brandy Melville, addressed the one-size policy, saying that if customers can’t fit in the clothes, at least they can buy an accessory.

Well, certainly most death camp inmates, anyway.

It literally pains me to read this experience of girls and young women: “I’m too fat.”  But they’re not saying it because they are actually “too fat,” but rather because they can’t fit into some stupid clothing label that markets to walking pencils.

I think of the young girls I know and I wish I could grab them and start shaking them until they understand that there are marketers who are trying to profit by catering to “cool kids” and there are “cool kids” who get to be “cool” for incredibly stupid reasons and probably feel as much pressure to stay “cool” as the girls who don’t feel “cool” but want to feel to become “cool.”

It’s a vicious cycle.  And it’s like global terrorism is an easier dilemma to solve.

Women look at a lot of things men do and conclude “How stupid.”  And of course they’re right; we’re flat-out nuts in many ways, aren’t we?  Well, here, the shoe is on the other foot.  And yes, women, don’t tell me you didn’t imagine a beautiful style of “shoe” when I used that expression.  When it comes to your body image, you girls are completely nuts.

Quit being conformed by fashion perverts and start being YOU.

I am a man who DELIBERATELY made my legs to big to fit into “skinny jeans.”  Because “skinny” is NOT what I as a man want to be, nor do I care what that hollow-eyed, scrawny androgynous male model in the ad looks like.  I want to be strong and muscular.  And if “skinny men” want to tell me I’m uncool, well, I will stare at them incredulously with a look of part astonishment and part pure contempt.  Because, no, I DON’T want to look like you, you weak, pathetic little twerp.

This isn’t about me, but here’s a picture of me so you can see the type of body that I have:

Untitled (2)

Please don’t send me “skinny clothes” for my birthday.  They’ll end up in my rag bag.  With the tags still on them.

And rest assured, I couldn’t get my ARMS through those Brandy Melville pants.  And I take that as a badge of personal honor.

I went through my own struggle with “self-image” that reverses many people’s experience.  When I was young, I was naturally lean and naturally athletic.  Never had any “I’m too fat” or “I’m too skinny” problems growing up.  As a young teen, I emulated my older brother and got into weightlifting.  And being bigger and stronger than the other boys never hurt my feelings.

But I got out of the Army with injuries.  In military infantry doctrine, you are what your body can do.  If you’re busted and can’t perform at a high level, you’re worthless.  If you can’t perform, then you’re simply not a man.  And I’d imbibed that without even thinking about it.  And so I hypercompensated when I got out of the Army by training too hard and gave myself new injuries on top of the ones from the Army.  And I gave up.  And I gained weight that was just fat.  And yeah, my body image suffered.  And my self-esteem suffered as a result.

I never wanted to just lose weight because I had never in my life seen myself as a “skinny guy.”

In my soul, I saw myself as fit and muscular.  That was always my vision of myself.

When I returned to that ideal of myself and began to work to make it happen, I was able to succeed in losing weight where I had been failing before.  Because what I really wanted to do was transform myself into my ideal for myself.  I had physical limitations because of my injuries.  But I discovered if I was realistic I could work around them and still advance toward my goals and actualize my vision of myself.  And I found that my body literally WANTED to return to the fitness I’d had as a young man.  It’s called “muscle memory.”  And praise God for being fearfully and wonderfully made according to Psalms.

You can do it if you want to and if you have a plan and have the resolve to make that plan happen.  It’s just a matter of time.  And anything that truly matters takes time and effort.

I never wanted to be like the “cool kids.”  I had higher standards for myself that frankly didn’t involve them.

If I want to sit at the “cool kids” table now, I’ll sit there and command the skinny little weasels in their skinny pants to get lost.

I tell my story to try to explain to girls why the opinion of the “cool people” shouldn’t matter.  Think outside the box!!!

I wish more girls could have that same attitude if their body-types are different from the death camp inmate girls who think they’re so damn “cool.”

As a weight lifter, I really can’t say I’m in touch with how “handsome” I am.  I’ve never been that in touch with that and what can I frankly do about it one way or the other?  But I do know that I’m what I call “spectacular.”  I invariably see a lot of heads turn when I walk into a room.  I know that there are women who find me attractive because of my physique and I also know that there are women who won’t waste a second glance at me.  I’m admittedly on the extreme side: there are those women who are “turned off” by a big body-builder-type guy; and there are women who are turned ON.

And may God abundantly bless the women who are turned on by a big, strong man’s body.

Now, if you truly prefer the body of Justin Bieber, that’s fine with me.  I won’t even laugh at you (well, okay, I won’t laugh at you much).  Fortunately, this world is big enough for all of us.

Enough about me and my story.

I gave my story just to point out something that it is just a fact of life, girls.  YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYBODY.  Which is what too many women too often try to do too much.  You are frankly a fool for trying.  So be who you are, please yourself and your God and your family who love you the most.  And if you do that, you will find that you will be very pleasing to the people who matter most in this world, I promise you that.   If you focus on being the best “you” you can be, rather than try to force-fit yourself into an artificial mold, somebody is going to seriously dig the best “you” you can be.

I gave my story to point out that it’s coming from a man who never wanted to be like everybody else, to fit into the mold of some marketing gimmick like Brandy Melville.  Don’t be a lemming who wants to look like all the other lemmings.  BE YOURSELF.

And I gave my story – as a GUY – to maybe get some woman somewhere to think outside of her “girl box” and consider a different way to look at herself and at her body.

I have come to learn that I don’t have an “ideal woman” when it comes to beauty.  And that’s because I understand that you discover beauty and appreciate it for what it is, you don’t invent it.  I can’t even describe it; I just know it immediately when I see it.

There are slender women I’m sure could wear those Brandy Melville clothes whom I find attractive.  But hot dang, some of the women I find the MOST attractive would NEVER be able to wiggle those magnificently voluptuous hips of theirs through any pair of skinny jeans.

I note that Brandy Melville’s concept of “beauty” means being “white” as well as “skinny” and “long-legged.”  If I may, the most beautiful women I’m seeing in my neck of the woods are Hispanic.  Damn, there are a lot of gorgeous Hispanic girls.  Anybody who thinks that the most beautiful women are European is an idiot whose concept of “beauty” can be casually round-filed.  There are beautiful women all over God’s earth.

You can be Asian, you can be black, you can probably be blue and be beautiful.  And the beautiful women from different cultures also have different body types from whatever the “white girl” ideal is.  What matters the most is that you are YOU.

It literally hurts me that some incredibly gorgeous women are struggling with their self-esteem because they don’t think they’re attractive according to the fashion Nazis.

How the hell did so many girls come to believe this stupid crap???

It’s like something out of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”  It has absolutely no connection with reality.  It’s completely based on a warped perception of warped people who have anointed themselves as fashion gods.

And it’s only when you ignore them and even outright mock them that they will become irrelevant.

Truly beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes.  And I’m not being “spiritual” and talking about “souls” and I’m not being Disney and talking about “personalities.”  I’m just writing as a man who is appreciating a hot woman’s body here.

Like I said above, I as one guy truly don’t have a “type.”  Girls with big breasts, girls with small breasts, girls right in between, I’ve found some of all of you gorgeous.  Girls with slim figures, girls with full figures, some of you are hot and some of you are not.  If you think all men find all bone-skinny women attractive, you’re just wrong.

Some girls and women have a naturally slender body, but sometimes their bodies tend to lack a womanly shape.  Some girls and women discover that they have a naturally shapely and voluptuous body, but some of these find it harder to keep unattractive excess weight off.  Each body type has its plusses and its minuses.  Go with the flow.

There are three primary types of body for both males and females: ectomorphs who tend to be thin, mesomorphs who tend to be athletic and endomorphs who tend to be more shapely but heavier:

Rather than deceiving yourselves into believing that you should all fit into Brandy Melville clothes, try to realistically determine what kind of body you have and then work to make THAT body the most attractive that you can.

I assure you, endomorph girl, YOU CAN BE SO GORGEOUS IT IS BEYOND UNREAL.

But it starts with you being honest with yourself.  Don’t unrealistically try to force yourself to be something you’re not and then force yourself into clothes that you don’t fit into.

I found a site after a few seconds of searching that I found spot on: http://www.superskinnyme.com/endomorph-body-type.html

Here is the section that I want you girls to see and understand:

There is no way round this issue. Endomorphs will have a harder time losing weight. But lets be clear. No one is saying that endomorphs CAN’T lose weight, but that they will have to work harder to lose the weight. Endomorphs do not have to be overweight. They simply require more determination than perhaps a mesomorph would, to achieve the same goal. Endomorphs have to train hard and must eat healthily most of the time. Endomorphs gain fat quickly when eating the wrong types of foods because their metabolism can be unforgiving. They also find it difficult to lose weight through diet alone.

The good news is that endomorph women are often thought of as voluptuous and sensual because they go in at the waist, have large rounded breasts and have womanly curves in all the right places – when in shape, their curves create an allure likened to that of Jennifer Lopez, Sophia Loren and other celebrated and famous bodies. Some of the most beautiful women in show business today are endomorphs. In shape the female endomorph is unrivaled – toned and fit whilst being soft, sensuous and alluring. It’s a wonderful paradox only the female endomorph can fully achieve. And lets be clear, if you are a female endomorph trying to look like your polar opposite – an ectomorph (e.g. Kate Moss) – a body type that possesses little fat, little muscle and a small frame, producing a linear, narrow body shape. If you do manage to lose a lot weight (fat and muscle!) to somewhat resemble an ectomorph, it will never look as good on you as it will look on her. For her it is a natural state and she looks (and is) healthy, but you have beaten your body into submission, forcing your body to be >something it is not and you will most likely look (and feel and be) gaunt, ill and tired, instead of radiant and glowing. It just doesn’t work. Your goal should be to transform your body into the best it can be, not to reconstruct it into someone else’s body. You can be incredibly slim, lean and toned. You can even be petite. But you can’t be an ectomorph. Read more here about how much you can change yout body type.

Amen.

Please, girls, PLEASE.  Don’t let some ectomorph mafia brainwash you out of realizing your potential.  If you’re an endomorph female, you can literally soar above those most of those pencil girls.

And that isn’t to mock the ectomorph bodies.  If you can fit into those Brandy Melville clothes, goody for you.  Some of you girls look awesome.  And I drool over a fit mesomorph woman.

I take a little bit of personal credit for the woman who I believe became the most beautiful woman in my gym.  She was afraid lifting weights would make her “too big.”  I literally sat her down in the gym and gave her “the talk.”  I made her watch the men and watch them lift weights and tell me which ones were “big.”  And the point I wanted her to understand was that not very many men ARE “big” in the muscular sense.  My point is that it’s hard to put on pure muscle – even for men who have the male hormone testosterone.  It’s REALLY HARD for women to put on thick muscle.  Most women couldn’t do it if they tried.  Rather, weightlifting will sculpt a woman’s body, tighten it, hone it.  She’ll keep her softness where softness matters most on a woman, but her body will firm up in a glorious way.

Anyway, Jacqueline was a hybrid between an ectomorph and a mesomorph.  She was right between the two types.  And that woman started lifting weights with a basic routine I gave her.  And she just got more and more into it.  And she started learning and asking questions and developing her own routine.  And a pretty woman became a jaw-droppingly beautiful one.  She’s in that gym seriously lifting weights three days a week and hot dang they look good on her.

What I would encourage you girls and women to do is to correctly identify your body-type – which might be a hybrid between two types with a tendency toward one more than the other like Jacqueline above – and then look online for examples of beautiful women with your body type.  Get a picture in your mind of what you want to accomplish that’s based on what’s ideal for YOU.  And then work to unlock and unleash the natural potential for your type of body.

Weight loss is a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned.  I hate to diet, but I love to exercise.  The less you like to exercise, the more you better like to diet.  But you need to find the balance that works best for you and you need to find ways to stay active that you most enjoy.

What I hate to see is a girl or woman who has in ignorance believed a load of garbage and feels trapped by an impossible ideal that she can never possibly fit into.  An endomorph girl can never be happy trying to be an ectomorph, or vice versa, for that matter.  If you despair over trying to literally become another woman’s body-type, you won’t be able to succeed and you’ll give up in frustration.

The key is to accept your body’s reality – by which I mean understand your body type and its plusses and minuses – and believe in yourself.

Believe me, I’m rooting for you.  Because I LOVE to see a beautiful woman.  And the more of you beautiful women, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

It starts with recognizing that God didn’t make junk.  When He made you, He didn’t put a thin girl into a fat girl’s body.  Be realistic with who you truly are and it will be the first real step toward becoming the best “you” that you can possibly be.

It may be hard, it may be a struggle, but I assure you, YOU ARE WORTH IT.  YOU ARE WORTH THE EFFORT.  And if you have a goal in your heart and a vision in your mind, you can reach it.

And for what it’s worth, when you get that nice figure that is ideal for you and for your personal body-type, you may or may not be able to wear that Brandy Melville label, but you’ll look beautiful in a lot of other labels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 Responses to “A Conversation About Women’s Bodies. Yeah, That’s Right. From a GUY.”

  1. dog walker Says:

    That is an interesting article but here I am running off on a tangent already. Your picture… somehow I figured you to be older. All this talk about being the old man. Which of your biceps tendons was busted and how well recovered is it? Can you stress it up the same without concern of busting it again?

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    dog walker,

    Oh, I’m old all right. And busted.

    But nobody believes me when I tell them how old I am.

    As for the biceps tendon, it is GREAT. God really did a miracle on that one. You might remember the story I wrote about: https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/the-lost-washer-the-ruptured-tendon-and-the-lord-who-is-god-over-both-a-story-of-thanksgiving-gratitude/

    I had an MRI on both shoulders and I’ve got rotator cuff tears in both shoulders. When I ruptured that right tendon, I could not have the rotator cuff tear repaired at the same time. But the shoulder feels so good now with the biceps tendon happy that I have no plans to have any more surgery on the right side.

    That said, it was the LEFT side that made me quit lifting and just plain give up initially. I’ve had a bad rotator cuff tear in that shoulder for something like 20 years now.

    I’m trying to do what I can and make progress but not mess myself up more until I get surgery on it sometime in the winter next year.

    And once healthy, I’ve got this plan to stay that way and not bust any more of my parts.

  3. FMC Says:

    I will turn 41 this November and I am pretty sure that Michael is several years my senior. I realize that is not really old by most standards, but most people peg me at around 32. I was seeing this young lady not too long ago and she thought I was in my early thirties. When I told her the truth she thought I was lying, so I went along with it until one day she happened to see the birth date on my ID. She said that it made sense because I really didn’t talk or act like the guys her age – she was 28. Anyway, I have always looked younger than my biological age, which I guess is a blessing.

    In recent years, I too have tried to get back in shape. When I was younger, I could always bench at least twice my body weight. My all-time max was 365 with a body weight of about 175. Today, I would be lucky to hit 315, although I am trying to get back into it like I use to. It has been difficult to find the time, though, as my life has become quite hectic lately, but I must carry on.

    Judging by that photo, it looks like you have definitely gotten yourself back into phenomenal shape, Michael. You have definitely got a massive chest and it is easy to see why you can bench like you do. Heck, my all time best max, you can easily rep. It is hard to picture you fat and out of shape, though. Keep at it and don’t bust any more parts.

    As for your article, I can definitely appreciate a woman’s body, but I am glad God made me a man and I don’t have to worry about all that stuff.

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    FMC,

    Yep, “several years” will do it.

    Mind you, I didn’t insert myself into this article to say, “Let’s talk about me for a while.” Rather, my project was to try to give women trying to free themselves from these fashion Nazis something else to hang their mental hooks on to provide a different framework from this “I’ve got to have a bone-thin twig body” thing that seems to so permeate so many women’s minds.

    I provide myself as an example to point out that I’m writing from a perspective of someone who doesn’t want a damn thing to do with allowing some fashion gestapo to blow his whistle on me. I mean, to hell with these jerks.

    Break out of the mold. Think for yourself. BE YOURSELF.

    I also wanted to provide myself as a specific example of somebody who is NOT an ectomorph and is pretty damn proud of it.

    As I was saying, I literally feel pain for these girls who have been peer-pressured into imbibing this garbage. And I feel that pain because I imbibed a different form of the same garbage after I was injured in the airborne infantry. I know what it’s like to feel horrible and useless because I can’t conform to a stamped mold anymore. I think I’m still dealing with that psychological head-game to this very day.

    I don’t fully understand the process, but young girls are just getting indoctrinated into what is pure bullcrap – that they have to be a size freaking zero with a bone-thin body-type in order to have the right to feel pretty or “cool.”

    I believe that true chivalry is still a noble thing. Men ought to be protecting women. And instead of protecting even the youngest and most vulnerable girls, we’ve been standing by on the sidelines and allowing these horrible people to play these mindgames with our own daughters’ heads. And I heard about this stupid Brandy Melville clothing label’s latest venture into the destruction of girls and I wanted to go door-to-door to all the clothing stores and start punching people in the face. So instead I wrote this article because I’m less likely to wind up in jail.

    If these Brandy Melville goons had tried to use this marketing technique in the Medieval world, they would have been burned at the stake as devils. And it would have been a good thing.

    You can understand why so many women end up murdering their own babies given how much they’ve been indoctrinated to hate themselves and feel ashamed of themselves.

    I wrote an article a while ago pointing out what I saw as a proof that there’s a personal Satan given the fact that people were taking the side of the terrorists who were firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel while using their own women and children as human shields. Well, the fact that the most beautiful women on earth actually feel ugly because they don’t look like nth stage heroine addicts is ANOTHER proof that there’s a personal Satan out there.

    Because people wouldn’t believe such stupid and self-referentially absurd lies if they were allowed to reason with their own minds and didn’t instead have the devil owning them.

    There’s a particular event I remember from years and years back. I was dating this girl named Kathy from my gym. This girl had one of the nicest bodies I have ever seen. Anyway, she kept saying, “I’m too fat,” “I’m too fat.” And I would always say “The hell you are!” as if I was Pavlov’s dog and that was the response Pavlov’s dog was supposed to give instead of drooling. Anyway, I finally got tired of it and dumped her. At the time, I was certain that she KNEW she was hot and was just determined to force me to give her 50 million compliments. But it’s only now I realize that, no, she was a perfect mesomorph body who had been indoctrinated into believing that since she wasn’t an ectomorph she was clearly “fat.” Even though she was a perfectly sleekly-muscled babe and if there was fat here or there it belonged there exactly the way she had it.

    Now I know a couple of other girls who are just beautiful but they’ll never believe it because their demonic culture has told them different.

    Just take a look at all the classic art and tell me if the ancients wouldn’t have been shaking their heads wondering what the hell modern man drank to make us so freaking insane.

  5. dog walker Says:

    I like reading these articles and these responses. I hope I don’t come off as being too snarky. I like it that there are Christian men in the military. (or have been) And I like it that there are Christian men in gyms… that are like way more conservative than me… and way more fit than me. I heard Christians talk about their bodies being temples or something like that. But that was in the context of being examples of not having drug, alcohol, tobacco habits.
    But what if I wanted my body to be a temple just cuz God gave it to me and I want to respect that gift. And well maybe I want to tune it up so I can have some fun with it. … and keep it up to where it will last. Vanity… I don’t know. I am married so I don’t gotta be real attractive. But wait a minute! My wife keeps herself up pretty well for my viewing pleasure so maybe I better show her the respect of responding in kind. I got rid of a big old beer belly. It took a few years to get rid of it and now I have the habit established of “maintaining.”

    Maintaining is not a miserable task. I come up with a sport that I enjoy. Actually it is a sport that I have done since I was like eight. I love bicycles. I am starting to do some lifting… but if I told you how much you guys would probably chuckle for a few minutes.
    Oh, sit-ups … I do like 200 sit-ups per week. My doc says that is a good thing.

    But in my defense… how old am I? I get Social Security. Heh!

    Sometimes I like to brag though. People don’t really get it when I say I am a fast animal. Think about a fast animal… an antelope.

    I have caught an antelope before. And I am an “old” man.

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    I have caught an antelope before. And I am an “old” man.

    dog walker,

    If you “caught” the antelope on your bicycle, it isn’t fair. The antelope should have been given a bicycle, too…

    (If antelopes riding on bicycles isn’t one of the signs of the Apocalypse, well, it ought to be. No wait, I think it’s antelopes riding on unicycles that was one of the signs of the Apocalypse.)

    Yes, the Bible does describe the human body as a Temple and for Christians in particular as a Temple of the Holy Spirit. That’s 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. And while you’re right that this is put it negative terms (don’t chew, smoke, drink, etc.), it is more comprehensive. The New Testament talks about what we put into our bodies (food); it talks about disciplining your body in an athletic sense. That’s 1 Corinthians 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

    You can spiritualize this stuff. But you hear me all the time get nauseous over people “spiritualizing” the Bible and stripping it of all of its literal truth.

    Think of the environment. God made the world for man and He made man – as in human beings – to have dominion over the earth. He did the same thing with our bodies. And in both cases, we have an obligation to take care of what God gave us.

    But there’s more. Taking care of yourself is self love. We should love ourselves. The shema of Deuteronomy 6:5 that Jesus repeats in Matthew and Luke says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And then Jesus adds, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39 and see also Luke 10:27).

    Well, how can you love your neighbor as you love yourself if you don’t love YOURSELF??? And how can you love God if you don’t love yourself???

    Take care of yourself; because you’re the only self you’ve got.

    I also think of physical fitness in terms of my personal witness now as a Christian. You see some slovenly person talking about how wonderful Jesus is – and it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus is wonderful – but what if that person really got their lives in order and took care of themselves and of what God gave him/her? It makes a difference.

    Kids relate to me on a completely different level. I’ve had children come up and ask me – and I mean several times now – if I’m a super hero. It’s always pretty awesome. I tell them I AM a super hero and that I help angels fight evil. I try to put my body in Christian terms, to represent Christ and present Christianity as something that makes me strong. You give me enough of a chance, I’ll talk about how I’m weak on my own but that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

    I’d say that’s one of the things I’ve come to most love about being a weightlifter: the way kids relate to me. I’m like a walking Disney attraction sometimes. And children are at their cutest and sweetest and most precious when they’re fascinated.

    My weightlifting gives me a platform I otherwise wouldn’t have.

    Our bodies are for a lot more than merely carrying our souls around or even for just carrying our Bibles around. We were created to be “embodied” beings. We will have new bodies in the coming age. Get used to having a body.

    Most of the ugliest sins involve our lack of respect for our bodies and the bodies of other people. And one of the things we must learn in this world is “self control.” We have to learn how to subject our bodies to what is right and to refrain from lusting after what is wrong.

    And I submit that the disciple we show in exercise and in what we allow into our mouths is part of that effort to disciple ourselves as Christian believers.

    Anyway, to get back to women and exercise, what dog walker says is what we should ALL do:

    Maintaining is not a miserable task. I come up with a sport that I enjoy. Actually it is a sport that I have done since I was like eight. I love bicycles.

    You have GOT to find something you love to do. Because if you hate to go to the gym and you join a gym you’re probably not going to be able to sustain it (which gyms LOVE, btw, given how they lock you into contracts). I love to hike, so I hike. But if you like tennis, play your heart out. Just find something that keeps your body moving and do it OFTEN.

    And in my own personal case, the weightlifting is my “epicenter.” Yes, I need to have a healthy diet. Yes, I need the cardio. But it’s have a weight-sculpted physique that keeps me motivated to do all the other things. It has helped me greatly to have a specific vision of myself in terms of what I wanted to look like and be like that has helped me succeed in my own fitness.

    So I’m not eating the way I used to eat because I have a VISION and a PLAN and a STRATEGY for achieving my plan and I’m doing more cardio stuff to help me actualize my vision for myself.

  7. dog walker Says:

    Heh! Your blog is Great!

  8. FMC Says:

    “Mind you, I didn’t insert myself into this article to say, “Let’s talk about me for a while.” Rather, my project was to try to give women trying to free themselves from these fashion Nazis something else to hang their mental hooks on to provide a different framework from this “I’ve got to have a bone-thin twig body” thing that seems to so permeate so many women’s minds.”

    Sorry for running off on a tangent, but Dog Walker is clearly to blame in this, as he started it… Ha, ha, just kidding, Dog Walker. Actually, I wanted to comment on working out in a previous article but never did and thought I would insert it in this one as the subject was brought up again.

    I have never heard of Brandy Melville until now. I must say the concept is quite absurd. I feel sorry for these young girls today who feel they have to conform to these unrealistic and demonic standards. God created each of us in his own image and has a plan for each person and that should be enough but, unfortunately, the god of this present world has his own perverted image and plan. This Brandy Melville crap is nothing more than a promotion, an extension of satan’s perversion.

    A long time ago, I was dating this young woman. She was pretty and thin, but she didn’t think so. I didn’t realize it in the beginning, but she had an eating disorder and sometimes would go days without hardly eating anything. For some ridiculous reason she thought I was the greatest and this put added pressure on her which only further aggravated her eating disorder. No matter what I or anyone else told her, she did not see herself as being thin, no matter how thin she got. She believed the lie that some demon was whispering in her ear.

    When I was in junior high and early on in high school, I was small. I did not like this and it really bothered me. This is how I got into lifting. I did get bigger and much, much stronger; however, this was only covering up the insecurities that were in me. It was only until I realized that the only thing that really mattered was what God thought of me that the insecurities began to go away. I still lift and workout, but it is for different reasons today (I want to stay young), even though I do have a physical image that I want to achieve. I think that is standard for anyone working out, as long as this is a healthy image that conforms to God’s standards and not societies or some need to be accepted or conform.

  9. Michael Eden Says:

    dog walker,

    Thanks much for your support.

    There are so many evils going on with this administration that I compare Obama to a firehose of pure evil. He’s not doing one evil thing at a time; he’s doing one THOUSAND evil things at a time.

    With this tyrant, you get worn out just trying to figure out which wicked thing you should write about…

    In the case of women and body-image, at least it’s something Obama didn’t outright cause, for once.

  10. Michael Eden Says:

    FMC,

    It’s a weird thing. And it just goes to the point that men are psycho in their ways, and women are psycho in their ways. And we’re all psycho in our psycho little ways.

    My thing is there are young girls out there whom I love and adore and I fear that they’re going to fall prey to this. Their older sister – who is VERY slender – already has in the sense that she is about as much of a fashionista as one can be. What if these beautiful little girls who idolize their older sister don’t look just like her when they’re 19? They’re just as pretty, but what if they’re not just as slender?

    I’m glad you understand what I was writing about when I talked about my own “hypercompensating.” It sounds like you went through that phase. I just went through it at an older age (after being medically retired from the military due to physical disabilities). You get an image in your head that has been literally BEAMED into your head, and you drive yourself into misery trying to be something you can’t be.

    It is far better to first get yourself in touch with your Creator, then get in touch with yourself through your Creator’s view of you, then see yourself in that more realistic manner and try to become what you see in that vision.

    I submit that God wants us to be fit rather than obese and that He doesn’t want us to fail to practice self-control. He wants us to take care of ourselves and our bodies. But of course there’s a point where we can go too far and pervert a good thing into a bad thing.

    St Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:8, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

    Too much of almost ANYTHING is bad, because the opposite of being an exercise freak is being a bookworm, and we’re also told: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12).

    Of course, there is such a thing as too much exercise and too much study, but there is no such thing as “too much godliness.”

  11. dog walker Says:

    Heh!

    My trainer won the Duke City Marathon …

    You would never guess her to be 35 …

    http://www.abqjournal.com/482823/sports/proposals-confusion-mark-31st-duke-city-marathon.html

    (if you are going to be addicted to it, you might as well win now and then)

  12. Michael Eden Says:

    I won “Best in Show” at the local animal shelter.

    Okay, I actually came in third behind a Chihuahua and a Dalmatian.

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