Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Holley Mangold

I haven't been paying attention to the Olympics.  I avoid competition.  I think it's because I'm so competitive myself.  Oh you thought I was one of those drum-circle sitting earth mamas who embraces the strengths and accepts the weaknesses of all God's children?  Hell no.  Just play a game of Scattergories with me and see for yourself.

I try to stay away from competition the way a new member of Alcoholics Anonymous must avoid all contact with her liquid vice, even if she's just a spectator and not the one drinking it.

But this headline about US lifter Holley Mangold caught my attention.  She's large and in charge and on a mission to improve our body images by setting an example herself.  She weighs 340 pounds and she's proud of her body.  She should be.  She's in the freaking Olympics!  I pat myself on the back for going on my little fifteen minute walks on my breaks at work.  Big whoop.  I can barely lift my fifty pound kid let alone the five hundred pounds Mangold lifts.

But see - that's the problem.  It's not competition that gets ugly.  It's comparison.  So I'm not an Olympic athlete?  I exercise.  I eat healthy foods.  So what if I'll never win a gold medal for taking care of my body.

It's great to have Olympic athletes encouraging kids to feel better about their own bodies and to promote Health at Every Size® in this way.  But we also need more everyday role models for kids to see that you don't have to be skinny to be healthy and you don't have to be exceptional to have a talent for taking care of yourself.