“Being a gymnast my whole life, the sport forces you from a young age to pick your body apart,” the athlete shares.
Aly Raisman is one of the most powerful gymnasts around – and she is an incredibly fierce role model outside of the gym too. But growing up, she went through her fair share of body image insecurities, especially in relation to her sport. In a new interview, Aly explained that she wants to put an end to all the negative body-talk we engage in about ourselves.
“Being a gymnast my whole life, the sport forces you from a young age to pick your body apart. Also with social media and our society, there is just so much pressure for young women,” the athlete told WWD.
“I see girls start gymnastics when they are two years old, and you overhear these young girls starting to talk about their bodies earlier and earlier. They are so aware of how they look. Every commercial is about losing weight. It’s hard to put into words how it feels when I hear an eight-year-old say her legs are too big.”
So what’s her advice for dealing with the pressure – especially when you find yourself taking in all the negativity?
“It’s important to communicate with people and share how you are feeling. Growing up, I would talk to my mom about feeling insecure,” Aly shared. “And I know there are people who aren’t close with their moms, but try to find someone you trust and surround yourself with people who lift you up.”
The gymnast also has a very important reminder she wants to share with fans.
“There is no such thing as an ideal body type. There is no point in stressing over it,” she said. “I think schools need to teach that. And teach kids how to be kind. A lot of body insecurities come from teasing and when you are young you don’t know the power of your words. It’s important to stress to young kids that your words hurt and will be remembered. How you make people feel is important.”
You go, Aly!