Before I start, I want to get one thing out the way front and centre – variety is beautiful. There are women who are naturally very thin, and women who are naturally very curvy – and everything shape in between. If every woman had the same measurements, weight and body fat percentage it would be a very dull world to live in. In no way, am I saying that being thin is not ok, because if that’s your natural body – then get your lean little pins out, and flaunt them sister. What I do want to say though is, for those of us who aren’t naturally slender – that’s ok too, because for most women, being soft is very, very natural.
Women naturally carry much more body fat than men, and when you think about it from a biological stand point, it makes sense. Way back when, we actually had to hunt & gather food for ourselves, the division of labour between men and women was pretty clear. Men hunted, women gathered. Men’s bodies needed to be very lean and agile in order to stalk, chase and kill prey. Women did not need this same sort of agility on a day to day basis, where gathering was not such a frantic and fast paced activity. Similarity, the reproductive requirements for men and women are very different – I don’t think I have to spell this out, but women need a significantly higher percentage of body fat to create a human being, and nourish it for 9 months in utero, and provide food for it for another 6-24 months after birth – in comparison to the few minutes of activity required of a man to create a baby.
According to www.news.harvard.edu, “When girls finish growing, their bodies are 26 to 28 percent fat, compared to about 12 percent for boys”, they also note that at “At menarche (first period), girls’ bodies contain about 22 percent fat which is the average cut off body fat percentage for ovulation ” , adequate body fat percentage then, signals your reproductive ability. Here’s a little visual of what body fat percentages actually look like, cause ya know, not everyone has one of those weird calliper thingy’s lying around.
Ok – so, enough science – here’s my point. Currently, the idealised images we see in magazines ( not to mention on the runway ) of women are often well below 15% body fat. Most of us know that this ideal is unrealistic and unattainable for the majority of women. However, what we often fail to recognise is the fact that a body fat percentage lower than 15% is very unrealistic is not because of a lack of willpower, or determination – but rather it’s because our bodies are biologically designed to fight against being that lean. As a female, if our body fat percentage drops too low ( usually under 22%), our ability to conceive goes out the window.
Now I don’t know about you, but at the moment, having a baby is the last thing on my mind, so why should you care about this if your not actively trying to have a baby? Here’s why – fertility is a marker of health and attractiveness in women of child bearing age. It’s ok to be soft ladies – it’s the way nature intended us to be.
So if you’ve ever tried to loose weight, get ripped or lean out and found that it was nearly impossible no matter how hard you tried, consider this:
A) You don’t need to have a low body fat percentage to be healthy, in fact body fat on the lower body in females is an indicator of strong metabolic health
B) Women naturally carry their weight around the hips, butt & thighs, and cellulite is actually a secondary sex characteristic, like breasts. ( i.e. it’s totally normal & natural )
C) You don’t need to lean out to be sexy – according to Steven Gaulin, Ph.D, Author of Why Women Need Fat, “Evidence from all over the world suggests that men strongly prefer women who have a lot of body fat (roughly 30 percent of their body weight)”
Mark Sisson, from Mark’s Daily Apple wrote a really easy to read, yet totally back by research, article about this very topic. So if you want to do a bit more reading, I highly recommend it. You can read about it HERE.
Please note, that I am not stating that for any reason, body fat % is the only indicator of female health and or fertility, but rather offering women an alternative to the thin = beautiful mentality. A chance to see that carrying around a bit of fat, isn’t actually a bad thing for your health, has nothing to do with a lack of willpower, and is actually pretty damn sexy. Now, there’s a little motivation to accept your ‘natural’ body, exactly as it is.
Of course, if body fat % goes too far in the other direction, that can adversely affect health and fertility of both sexes. And by no means am I giving you another magic number to try and achieve. This knowledge helped me accept my softer belly and rounder hips, not as a character flaw, but as a natural expression of being a woman. I hope it does the same for you!
If you want some visual inspiration of women rocking out to their natural curves, check out my BODY LOVE
board on Pinterest.
Want to learn more about the slow yoga approach?
Some things are better said with video, sign up below and see for yourself!