Growing up in the post-Paris Hilton era, Kim K became a thing. I remember occasionally hearing about her in the hallways at school, but mainly I saw her on a website that was my slightly embarrassing past-time; reading all the articles on msn.com. The fashion articles of the day covered her cotton and Lycra outfits, which featured those awful heeled boots- thank God Kanye saved her from looking like 2010 forever.
Naturally, I'm a curvy girl. I don't mean by weight exactly, but definitely by shape. I remember in middle school being a size zero and looking a lot like my Coloradan friends, but then hips happened. And insecurity happened. I was a healthy BMI but I had the biggest hips in the friend group, and even when size 0 became a 3, I was insecure about it.
Like I said, I had heard about Kim Kardashian and heard the pop culture opinions, "If Kim K can rock her curves, so can I!". I was un-phased. I still was insecure that my body wasn't straight up and down like my best friends' were, and which still are to this day. Months later in high school, I was running on Colorado trails in the summer with the sun behind my back, criticizing the shadow in front of me.
"We're running to get rid of 'that'" is what I thought to myself, as I looked at the shape of my hips. I consistently thought about how skinny I'd be if my hips were the same size as my waist, and that was what I wanted to create.
Obviously, you can't change your bone structure, so that didn't work, but I continued the cycle. Hard cardio, restricting calories, basically doing everything those msn.com articles taught me in middle school- or at least the ones that talked about diet. They focused on weight loss, calorie burn, restrictive diets, and cardio. Then I'd crash. Obviously, because all of those things suck. I'd forget about working out for a while. An endless cycle.
College; same thing: still thinking that I need to be the best runner to get the body type of my dreams, sucking at it, then remembering my body rewards hard cardio with actual stress fractures, and crashing and burning. Again.
1. Then, something happens. Kim Kardashian breaks the internet?Giphy
Although I am not the type of girl to repeat her actions, Kim represented the body I had more than a 90's amazonian Versace runway model ever did- and she broke the internet doing so. She represented bodies many of us have. She broke culture with something that wasn't classic Barbie. This moment had already happened in history by the time I realized to accept myself, because honestly, I wasn't paying attention. But the after-effects of Kim becoming incredibly mainstream changed the culture, and years later ended up changing me. Instagram happened, and Instagram models happened, and suddenly famous models weren't just the classic ones Anna Wintour and every other mainstream print editor had chosen for the covers of their magazines. Representation in the media is confidence.
2. The Problem With Fashion Prior To KimGiphy
Before Kim, all girls ever saw was this. Magazines and television were some of the only outlets to learn about fashion. And what's behind fashion? Our bodies. The Amazonian body is the human hanger, and to market excessively designed haute couture clothing, brands found it necessary to utilize it before the turn of the 21st century. Should the Amazon body be shamed? No, but it is not the only one to be accepted.
3. Love at First StepGiphy
Miles and miles on the Southern Illinois University track which I used to basically live on, trying to run my thighs away, I kept seeing the same girl on the stairclimber. She was easily the fittest girl at the gym, and she killed that machine every single time. I finally decided to give it a shot, even though it looked terrifying, and it was the best thing to ever happen to my curves. My body loved it. I could utilize the power I had in my lower body, and I could give my joints a break. Less impact, more muscle. I was obsessed. If you're pear-shaped, hourglass, or are just curious to see if you'll like it, get on the stairclimber!! You can slow it down and barely move at all, then speed it up for a few minutes when you're ready. It's less boring than the treadmill. Using it for a HIIT workout burns an ungodly amount of calories. You can get a lot done in even less than 10 minutes. It makes your glutes a new level of crazy and tones every ounce of your body. What more do you need?
All of the sudden, I wasn't working to not get rid of my shape, but to enhance it. And Kim Kardashian was giving me permission.
4. Work Out to Make YOU Better, Not Look Like Someone Else
It's really easy to see an Insta model, influencer, or someone on the street and think about all the insane work it would take to look like them. However, you can't change your bone structure, and trying to won't change your confidence. The most important thing is to work out to take care of the body that you have, and embrace it! Make what you have even stronger. Beauty comes from knowing you're giving your body the best, and the best is not starving to look like something you're not. Beauty is in every shape, and every size, and sometimes it takes a viral photo in the media to prove it. That being said, you should only do what works best for you. If you're a beast at the treadmill, please occupy it for me. My shins can't handle it. The 5k's and Marathons are waiting for you. If your upper body is insane, you'll be able to train your abs way better than us pear shapes can. No matter you're strengths and weaknesses, focus on your strengths. They're what will make working out fun, and growing your strengths will give you the confidence to ignore what you ever thought were weaknesses in the first place.