In case you were living with your head in the clouds, last weekend was one of the biggest events of American sport - Super Bowl Sunday. And in case you hadn't heard, Lady Gaga was the half time performer. And according to Forbes, she was the most tweeted about half time act they've ever had, with in excess of 5.1 million tweets during the show - you go girl! But despite her insane performance, you can always rely on some to be critical. I hate that this is even an issue to be discusses, but unfortunately Lady Gaga was body shamed for a tiny 'belly' during that performance.
This makes me so incredibly sad & angry as a loyal fan, that after such an emotional, powerful solo performance, some people had to really dig deep to try to bring Gaga down. But it's not just Gaga that I feel for, it's the young, impressionable teenagers that I fear for. In an age where people are constantly body shaming, young girls & boys are now being told it's not ok to have the slightest bit of fat on your body. And that is not ok! It is such an unrealistic standard & one that can lead to people becoming dangerously ill. On the flip side, every woman is now looking at their own tummy's, comparing them to Gaga's & lowering their own self esteem, because of a few cruel internet trolls, with nothing better to do.
And it's not just Gaga who's been subjected to such ridiculous body shaming - singers, actresses & athletes have all been picked apart, from zooming into somebody's cellulite (which is natural & unrelated to being overweight) to commenting on athlete's if their legs wobble a little while sprinting. Crazy right? Some of these women are Olympic medallists - strong, professional, FIT athletes - and yet still they get body shamed. That just highlights how ridiculous it really is.
Not yet convinced by my words of support, well perhaps some cold hard facts will convince you. So let's talk about the reality of belly fat...
1. Well for starters, are bodies need a slight elasticity & give to allow us to bend & move, so when we sit forward & our tummy's crease, that is allowing for out backs to bend. Without any give in our bodies, we would not be able to bend, it's as simple as that! And no bending would mean no yoga or deadlifting...
2. Water weight, periods, bloating & tight clothes can all contribute to a temporary bulge around the stomach. It's not fat, it's just how our bodies change & adapt to different environments. For example you eat a lot of white bread, you bloat as it is harder to digest. You wear tight trousers all day, restricting your tummy, you may also bloat, as it's disrupting digestion or causing you un-comfort.
3. When you wear tight, non stretch clothes, it will cause a slight 'bulge' out of the garment, because there is no give. For example some pants or bras can give the appearance of a bulge, which is especially noticeable when we put on a tight dress or trousers, hence no VLP pants! Similarly Gaga's Super Bowl pants were quite a form fitting garment, with little stretch, hence creating an indent & being slightly unflattering around the stomach.
4. You'd have to have an extremely low body fat percentage not to have ANY folds in your tummy at all - and I mean unhealthily low. The ideal body fat percent for a healthy 20 something is around 25-30%. Fitness stars usually have a percentage around 15-24% & it can be quite difficult for women to drop bellow this without a strict meal & exercise plan. To have no bulge at all when you bend, you'd have to have a far lower body fat percent than the ones above - which is extremely unhealthy in the long run & almost impossible to maintain.
* A little more information on low body fat percent & bikini & bodybuilding competitors *
The only time people are likely to drop to such low body fat percentages, are during bikini & bodybuilding competitions. Is it healthy? No. Is it permanent? No. Even then, women only drop to around 10-12%, as a certain percentage of fat is essential for our bodies. During such extreme levels of 'fasting', competitors are fully aware of their body's nutritional needs & should know how far to push their own bodies - it's not something they take lightly nor do on a whim! And although, on stage their body's look extremely lean & you can see every single muscle, as soon as the competition finishes, you can be sure they're straight back to eating & nourishing their bodies once more. Thus returning to a healthy body fat percent. Their extremely trim physics are only peak for show day, after that they're back to a healthier, more realistic way of living.
And it's not just me rallying behind Lady Gaga & body possitivity, fitness stars have been getting real about their bodies & what they post on social media. They're celebrating their real achievements, sharing with us they're strict diets as well as their cheeky treats, celebrating their cellulite, stretch marks & scars & telling us that it is perfectly natural to bloat! In particular, I love how they're getting real about abs & how they're not always as visible as we once believed. Here are a few of my favourite body positive fitness stars...
I hope this article helps you feel more positive & confident in you're own skin! This is reality & we need to start spreading the word, reeducating ourselves on what is healthy & start feeling good about our own achievements & bodies, while telling the haters to suck it! To end on a positive note, I just wanted to celebrate Gaga in all her glory, so here's...
1. She fights for equality & love.
2. She is a true creative, a musical genius & supports the arts in so many ways, thus inspiring others to create!
3. She is extremely empowering & not just to women. She speaks for the misunderstood, the mild & the outsider, giving us the confidence to be true to ourselves & to fight for what we believe in.
4. She is a unique, beautiful artist. 100% true to herself, not afraid to be controversial if it's fighting for good & above all, you can feel the real emotion within her music & notice it change as her own life evolves - she is not afraid to be trapped in a genre because its financially profitable.
5. She is a great example of how hard work & determination pays off. What other artists can say they've played twice at the Super Bowl, performed at Victoria's Secret fashion show, been in a successful TV series & been crowned Woman of the Year in the last 2 years alone?!?
We salute you Gaga. Forever stay true & never stop inspiring.