Friday, 19 July 2013

Are you in good shape?

This is a loaded question, as being in "good shape" can mean different things to different people. As someone who has enjoyed participating in various sports in the past, I tend to assume that there's an element of fitness involved and that it means being slim as well. At the moment I'm not at my fittest or slimmest, even though I walk a lot and enjoy dancing whenever I have the opportunity, however I am still comfortable with the shape that I'm in. What about you? Are you in good shape - and did you make the same assumptions as I did about the meaning of this question?

The on-line dictionary definition of "to be in good shape" is "to be prepared", giving the following example: "All our bags are packed, and we don't have to leave for another hour, so we're in good shape." However pick up any women's magazine just before the holiday season and their idea of being in good shape is to be slim and tanned, with numerous articles to help you achieve this. Packing your bags in plenty of time just doesn't come into it!

This obsession with being slim and tanned when you hit the beach is a modern phenomenon. Look at Rubens' models - not a skinny tanned wench amongst them! Pale skin used to be fashionable until the days of cheap travel and then everyone wanted to come home sporting a tan from their holiday in the sun. Hopefully the tide is turning though as we start to recognise the dangers of spending too much time in the sun.

I'd like to make it clear that I'm not saying pale skin is better than dark skin - after all I'm freckled, which is a mixture of both! I'm happy to see so many plus size bloggers on the internet, who are stunning ladies and positive role models; on the other hand if you are naturally skinny you are just as gorgeous. I think the media have a lot to answer for, encouraging women to try and change themselves instead of celebrating who and what they are.

Of course once we are over 60 it doesn't matter, as the media practically ignore us. I've lost count of the number of magazines who run features about women of different ages: when you actually read them. it will be women in their 20s, 30s and 40s or (if you're lucky) 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. Hello! There are lots of over 60s out here in the real world and some of us enjoy reading magazines too.

I know that I will never be a tall, slim blonde. I can change the colour of my hair if I choose, but I'll always be short and I don't intend starving myself to become slimmer - I enjoy my food way too much. I also accept that I'm never going to be young again.  I may feel as if I'm still twenty something, but unfortunately my mirror never lies!

Slim or curvaceous; tall or short; blonde, brunette, redhead or (dare I say it?) grey; pale, tanned, women of colour or freckled faces; young or old: we are all beautiful in our individual ways and we are all in great shape. Yes, that includes you.






11 comments:

  1. I've gotten to love the body I'm in and don't worry too much about the media views on what beautiful is supposed to look like. I'm almost 40 and although I may not be in the best of shape I still think I'm in great shape for my age. Great post!

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    1. Good for you - we are unique and shouldn't be trying to conform to the media's views on what we should look like. Life would be so boring if we all looked the same!

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  2. Hi Sue...I am happy and comfortable with the shape I am in and you are so right...what about women 60, 70 and etc. Women are staying in great shape these days and why shouldn't they be honored for keeping it going all these years. And isn't it funny in regards to the art from back in the day. All the women were bountiful and robust (like the picture above) and were considered absolutely beautiful. If you were skinny, you were considered poor, unhealthy and not a good baby carrier/maker. :) They even thought cellulite was attractive then...and the artist seemed to make sure that was captured in his paintings. Wow...how times have changed. Love your post. P.S. I am a fellow Ultimate Blogger...so nice to meet you. Wendy Baudín www.wendybaudin.com

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    1. Hi Wendy, thanks for your comments. Nice to meet you, too.

      As you say, times have certainly changed - nowadays women are encouraged to get rid of their cellulite and these products aren't cheap. We need more celebrities to display their cellulite and make it fashionable!

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  3. Hi Sue, this is the second time I have landed on your blog and the first one was about your five year stay in Spain. I must say I love your writing and yes there are ladies over 60s who love to read and do more productive things with their time rather than watch idiot box (TV) or gossip around. Wonderful post again keep up the good work.

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  4. Hi Sue,
    At one point in my life I was very, very skinny and I was shocked to learn it didn't make me look any taller. WTF? Now I'm in my 60s (actually I just turned 61 but somehow I didn't think of myself as "in my 60s" when I was 60) and although I'm plumper than I'd like I ride my bicycle around town (Los Angeles) so I guess I'm in good enough shape for that.
    We over 60s will never be totally forgotten by the media because there are so many medications they want to tell us about!

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    1. Hi KC

      I'm due to turn 66 in September, so I'm definitely in my 60s if not my late 60s. I'm tempted to turn into my mother, who claimed to be 39 for many years even when her daughter (me!) temped in the same office at the age of 29. When challenged, my mother said airily "We adopted her!" happily ignoring the fact that she would have only been 10! My Mum refused to be stereo-typed.

      I like the French concept of being "une femme d'un certain age". We may be in our 50s, 60s or more, but it's how we feel inside that matters.

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  5. There is more to just be in great shape than being physically fit. We've been told that we must be a certain size and shape and we all must be within a certain BMI index to be considered in good health. Who's decisions were those? The media and the health industry. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that there are so many other factors to consider. I agree with you that the older we get the less attention we receive in media, print and other areas. What are we left with...an AARP magazine and some Centrum Silver Vitamin commercials? I think we should collectively get together and start our own magazine or something.

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    1. I totally agree with you. The media and advertising industry are missing out by ignoring the over 50s and over 60s and especially by stereo-typing us. KC still rides her bike around town, I occasionally go running (in the cooler weather though, not at the moment!) and many of us are fit and active. I'm happy if any fellow over 50/60 bloggers would like to write guest posts for this blog. Let's get together and shout to be noticed!

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  6. I was surprised to learn that in different parts of the world, it is expected and applauded for women to be more shapely than what Americans consider “in shape”. A more Rubenesque body shape is, in fact, more desirable in many parts of the world as a woman reaches her late 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and so on. It is a sign of a good life, a good woman and prestige to have a full figure! I have come to accept the shape that I am in, while still striving to be in the best shape that I can achieve.

    Elizabeth T, Early Rise

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    1. Elizabeth, have you read any of Alexander McCall Smith's books in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, set in Botswana? His heroine, Precious, is a woman of "traditional build", which it is made clear is highly desirable!

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