tl; dr: Basically no.
This summer, people in the basketball world started questioning Zion Williamson for showing up to NBA Summer League “out of shape.” This is the same guy who was being raved about for his 18-year old, barrel chested body, only weeks ago when he was the best player in college basketball and then the no-doubt No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
Then, in early in July, people were body shaming Jason freaking Momoa for having a dad bod. If Aquaman was being scrutinized for looking like he is carrying water weight, what chance do any of us have?
Seriously, put in “Jason Momoa” into a Google search and the first three suggestions are, in order: wife, height, dad bod.
And that’s only on the men’s side of things, a realm where we never question how Al Bundy could ever get Peg Bundy, let alone Sofia Vergara. For women, body issues have been present since the literal Garden of Eden. Dissertations on female body issues have been and will be written forever, until women stop existing (Trump 2020!) or discourse stops existing (Trump 2020!).
And that’s the point. They may not be the same size—the bodies themselves and the hang-ups that come with them—but everyone has body issues.
Think about your close group of friends and family, and I am sure you can think of at least one other person whose body you envy. And the not-so-secret secret about that person: They envy someone else’s body in just the same way. And that person, and that person too, until we are just one big human centipede of body dysmorphia. The good news, you aren’t in the back! Because someone envies what you have too.
(This is either the grossest thing I’ve written or perhaps the most inspirational. Let’s see how it plays out.)
Teddy Roosevelt said that “comparison is the thief of joy,” and even though he was very wrong about some things, like setting up a puppet government in Panama, he is right on about this one. It takes exactly the same amount of energy to wish you had one thing, than it does to appreciate that you excel in another.
You know who thinks they are the hottest shit out there? Lizzo. And the not-so-secret secret about Lizzo? She’s pulling it off.
Lizzo doesn’t worry about whose likeness is on what magazine cover. Instead, she shines, radiating joy, self-love, and makes the case for the health benefits of pure, organic confidence.
It’s not wrong to want to better your body, and if that self-realization leads to healthy changes that improve your overall well being—mental and physical—huzzah. But fixating on what’s wrong or just not perfect is a slippery slope. If self-reflection quickly turns to being disgusted by your reflection, you’ve gone too far, straight into an unhealthy territory.
Point is, no matter what people, like noted endocrinologist Sir Mix-A-Lot suggest, there is no such thing as a perfect, let alone even an ideal body. I’m not encouraging anyone to stop caring or trying; I just want to offer a simple reminder that the ass is always leaner, or thicker, or more poppin’ on the other side, and that you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to be perfect. Instead, remember that none of us are 100 percent satisfied, so we might as well start focusing on what we’ve got that makes us happy. It’s a whole lot easier to love what you’ve already got than to remake everything that you don’t.
We can begin to be happier with ourselves with a slight twist of perspective on our bodies. It’s less expensive than a gym membership and much less embarrassing than a Shake Weight.