10 reasons why Ronda Rousey's Diet and Body Image Kicks Ass
Ronda Rousey fought today in Brazil to maintain her title as UFC bantamweight champion and basically beat Bethe Correia in the most embarrassing way possible. And she succeeded, defeating her opponent in just 34 seconds.
It was violent, it was confronting for some, but for many of you that read this blog, it was probably a non event for you because you don't really even know who I am talking about.
But let me tell you why you should, and it's not just because she's a kick ass athlete.
1. Ronda dares to be different and encourages you to do so too.
Ronda is just like you and I, the regular person who society has been told time and time again just isn't good enough. But that didn't stop her from continually battling her demons, defending her worthiness, and pushing as hard as she could to get what she wanted, no matter what. And to this day, she still does just that.
She started out just like anyone else, but worked her ass off to get her success. Ronda went out and worked for it, relentlessly. She now has avid fans across the world, movie deals, a UFC champion title (12 times undefeated), and put women's UFC and MMA fighting really on the map.
Yet in every video, every interview, every picture - she remains authentic and upfront about her opinions and values. That's a tough thing to do, sticking to your morals and your true self when the spotlight is on you and you're constantly criticised.
When fans tell her they do judo because of her, she humbly tells them to do it for themselves too.
When people ask about her diet and body image, she's upfront about that too.
Ronda posed in Sports Illustrated for its swimsuit issue. Instead of dropping weight like most do before stripping down and putting on a bikini, the champion MMA fighter decided to pack on a few pounds.
"I felt like I was much too small for a magazine that is supposed to be celebrating the epitome of a woman," she told Cosmopolitan.com. "I wanted to be at my most feminine shape, and I don't feel my most attractive at 135 pounds, which is the weight I fight at. At 150 pounds, I feel like I'm at my healthiest and my strongest and my most beautiful." Own that body of yours! Don't let anybody tell you what you should look like or how much you should weigh to be beautiful. it's your body. You decide.
2. Ronda doesn't count calories.
"Pretty much I just eat until I’m full. So I don’t count calories at all." Hallelujah!
Obviously in the lead up to fights Ronda is on a very strict diet that cuts out a lot of foods to help her reach her goal weight at the weigh ins. This sport demands you to fit your weight category otherwise you forfeit the fight. This however is a diet that's tailored to her personal needs and used for a short time for a specific purpose. The rest of the time? She's "healthy-ish".
3. Ronda's not a #DNB.
A new term circulating social media thanks to Ronda. It stands for being a 'do nothing b*tch' and it's about working for your own success and goals, rather than just making yourself look pretty for a man (or woman) to take care of you. She vows never to be someone who just sits there and gets all the rewards for doing nothing but looking pretty and being attached to a successful person. Her body is a result of her dedication to reach her goals and she's cool with that.
No matter how muscular it is, with the scars, broken bones and cauliflower ears to match, Ronda is proud of her body. It is a clear indication of how hard she works to meet her goals. Her body is built for a purpose, she doesn't care that it doesn't fit the mould of model-thin, impossibly-perfect beauty standards. Her body is a machine and it serves her current purpose in life extremely well.
What is your purpose in life? What are your goals? Just because your body is a reflection of that, and it doesn't match the standards the fashion and beauty industry push on us, doesn't mean it's not beautiful, or feminine, or incredible.
Your body is capable and worthy of so much more than just 'looking pretty'.
Stretch marks and a soft belly from having kids? Thats's beautiful, you did that, you gave birth, and you should be proud as shit that your body could even do that!
Lost weight by eating well and working out but still not the 'ideal' skinny minny? Hell, congratulations! You're healthy. Screw what others think.
You fight, or train hard for a purpose? A marathon, a powerlifting event, a fighting match. If that's what you're working for and your body is shaping up for that purpose, be damn proud as punch. You worked hard for that body - don't let anybody tell you it's not incredible.
Working 80 hour weeks at work because you're trying to get ahead, save, get a job promotion, or build an amazing business to change the lives of others? So what if you're a little squishy around the edges, or could do with a little more muscle. Nourish yourself, try and fit in some activity to keep you sane, but screw the others that tell you that you need to look a certain way as well. You're busy using your mind and body for a different purpose, and if that's your priority in life, then so be it. Look after your body as best you can and work hard to achieve what you want.
4. Ronda knows the importance of wholefoods.
Ronda fuels herself with wholefoods to keep her energy levels stable, and her body in peak condition.
"Most athletes are trying to get as many chemicals in their body that they can get away with. I try to have zero chemical anything. Just clean, clean, clean."
Her diet is based on real, organic whole foods with plenty of vegetables and adequate fruit. Even her supplements are wholesome!
5. Ronda doesn't supplement with vitamins.
"As far as supplements go, I don’t take anything that is made in a lab. If it was on earth 10,000 years ago then I will eat it."
"And instead of vitamins, I have this giant shake twice a day, so it's all fresh vegetables and fruits: a whole beet, a whole apple, two carrots, four strawberries, one cup of blueberries, two handfuls of red grapes, one whole lemon, one handful of spinach, one handful of kale, one-fourth handful of parsley, two stalks of celery, two tablespoons of hemp seeds, two tablespoons of chia seeds, one tablespoon of coconut oil, one chard leaf, no stem." Boom. No pills needed.
6. Ronda eats to live, not lives to eat.
When push comes to shove, Ronda realises that yes food is delicious, yes food is meant to be enjoyed and a 'treat' from time to time, but that the majority of the time, food is fuel and the right types and amounts make a huge difference to how you feel, perform and look.
A typical day's diet for Ronda in the lead up to her fights:
"Here we go. 8 a.m.: Two teaspoons oat bran, two teaspoons chia seeds, two teaspoons hemp seeds; 10 a.m.: Train; 11:45: Post-exercise smoothie; 12 p.m.: Farmer's scramble: one whole egg, plus two egg whites, two sides of turkey bacon; 4 p.m.: Snack: one apple, one-fourth cup raw almonds, one-fourth cup raw cashews; 6 p.m.: Train. Post-exercise smoothie, da, da, da. Before bed: Chamomile tea. Everything's got an hour, an amount, everything."
I'm not saying you need to eat so strict like Ronda does. She's eating and training for a specific purpose. But following the simple idea that food is a tool to make your life better, and help you achieve your goals is a great way to disconnect the emotion from what you eat. Food is meant to be enjoyed, but what you eat everyday, day in and day out is what really makes the difference to your health.
7. Ronda's been through the body image battles and won.
Suffering from bulimia, body images issues and bullying for her appearance at a young age took it's toll on Ronda, but she fought back.
"I had terrible issues with my body when I was younger because I always had to make a certain weight on deadline all the time. So people were constantly asking me how much I weighed and criticizing what I ate – so I felt if I wasn’t exactly on weight then I was ugly. People were like, ‘Oh, you’re heavy, you’re fat, you need to lose weight.’ I would get yelled at for being heavy so I equated the number on the scale with how I felt about myself. It was a hard thing to deal with if you’re a 15- or 16-year-old girl. I had a big problem with that for many years -- I didn’t like how I looked or how much I weighed."
"What changed for me is I was always thinking I wanted to make my body look a certain way so I would be happy. But when I made myself happy first, then the body came after. It was a journey of self-discovery and trial and error."
8. Ronda keeps healthy-ish.
After each fight she allows herself to eat the foods she loves. Buffalo wings, ice cream and all other kinds of treats. But after about a week of indulgence, and feeling pretty icky, she's straight back into eating well again. As strict as her diet can be, she's human and allows herself some fun and enjoyment from food when the timing is right. Nothing wrong with that!
9. Ronda got professional advice on her diet.
Her nutritionist is currently Mike Dolce. He used to fight, so he knows what her training is like. I don't know everything about his philosophy or his training in nutrition, but he focuses on organic, wholesome natural ingredients, meal timing, tailored nutrition and even supplementing with real foods too. So I can't knock that at all.
If you're not sure what to eat for your needs, find someone who is qualified, understands you and your goals and can work with you one on one to tailor and tweak your dietary plan as needed.
Whether that's for a potential food intolerance or weight loss - tailored advice from a professional is always the best and safest option!
10. Ronda doesn't judge you for what you choose to eat.
This one was a little trickier for me to write being a Dietitian as all day long I talk about food, think about food, research food and eat food. But so many of us are so tied up with what we eat, what diet we follow, if our meals look pretty enough for Instagram, and if where we eat out is trendy enough. De-stress and take a broader view on your diet and life in general.
"There's nothing wrong with your discipline or you just because you ate whatever. But if the best thing about your day is what you eat, there's something wrong with your f------ day."
Well said Ronda.