My fiancé, Nat, and I love watching the Amazing Race. This season has been pretty good, although I have to say I’m really disappointed by the number of men on the show who are really, disturbingly abusive toward their girlfriends. Nick, Thomas, and Chad seem to think that they are a gift to all humanity, and that their girlfriends should constantly be bowing down to kiss their feet and tell them how wonderful they are. Wake up, guys–you’re assholes. Yelling at your partners, constantly putting them down, and blaming everything that goes wrong on them is not the way to win a competition, or to show that you are fine upstanding young gentlemen. You are misogynists and I hope you all get dumped once your girlfriends realize that they are strong women who deserve 1,000 times better.
A great antidote to these depressing men is the show’s best team: Nat and Kat (and I don’t just say that because of my fiancé’s name and the fact that I like cats). These two women, both doctors, are totally awesome. They go into every challenge with a positive attitude; they respect each other immensely, and they’re respectful toward their competitors; they’re intelligent; they have a genuine appreciation for everything they’re experiencing during the race; and they are in great physical shape. I’m not talking about physical attractiveness, although I wouldn’t deny that they are both beautiful. I’m talking here about their athleticism and strength–I really feel they are positive role models for women! They come off as people who care about their health and wellness first, not people who work out and stay fit for reasons of vanity. I really wish there were more women (and men, too) like this on television and in the media.
Although I like both Nat and Kat, during every episode I find myself admiring Nat’s physique. She has powerful legs, and muscular arms. She looks like she could face just about any physical challenge and succeed! I really admire the combination of visible physical strength and body confidence that she exudes, and I find her incredibly inspirational. Nat is 31, which reminds me of the fact that I will be turning 30 soon, and that one of my goals is to do so in the best shape of my life.
But what does that mean, exactly? I think about this question a lot. Should I whittle my waist? Fit into a smaller pair of jeans? No. These are not the things I am aiming for. Instead, I want to take inspiration from Nat and work on health from the inside out. Will this result in me having arms like hers? Maybe and maybe not. I have no idea what my body will look like, and changing my appearance is not what I am striving to do. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. My primary focus is to take a broader and more well-rounded approach to health and fitness, and to build a strong body that can run long distances, work through a tough yoga practice, and face difficult challenges. More than anything, I want to feel how powerful my body is and be aware of what it can do, rather than worrying about what it looks like, what other people think of it, and what it can’t do. I’m hoping that through activities like running and the Yoga Project, I’ll be able to accomplish this goal.