Mother reveals she is PROUD of her daughter for striving for a bikini body from age 15 and applauds her for getting up at 5am to exercise 

  • Sarah Newton, 47, says daughter Bronte, now 19, exercised heavily at 15
  • Bronte, would wake at 5am to exercise so she'd have a 'bikini-ready' body
  • While she enjoys ice-cream, she controls what she eats to look good 
  • Sarah says friends have warned her that bikinis sexualise teenagers 

It was 5.00 am and my daughter’s alarm was wailing through the house. 

As I turned over and attempted to catch another precious hour of sleep, I could hear her dragging herself out of bed and putting on her workout gear. 

At 15, she was working on her bikini body and I applaud her for that. 

Sarah Newton's daughter Bronte, (pictured left, on a holiday to America with her friend Kaitlyn Sarti), takes her fitness and health routine very seriously and, at the age of 15, was already committed to a bikini body

Sarah Newton's daughter Bronte, (pictured left, on a holiday to America with her friend Kaitlyn Sarti), takes her fitness and health routine very seriously and, at the age of 15, was already committed to a bikini body

Her morning routine consisted of a workout, a healthy breakfast of berries and oats, after which she prepared a salad and chicken wrap for school lunch. She took her fitness and health routine very seriously and her goal was a bikini body. She was committed, driven and focused and I see no problem with it at all.

I’m proud that my daughter wanted to empower herself to stay fit and healthy. And if the goal of a bikini body is what spurred her on, that’s fine by me.

But it seems I am alone and that many mothers believe I should have discouraged her desire to reach for this ideal.

One friend warned me to be careful as I could be encouraging Bronte, “to have unrealistic body expectations”. Another claimed, “She will end up with an eating disorder” and another was outraged when I purchased her a Victoria Secret bikini because, 'I was sexualising her at 15'. 

Mum Sarah, pictured left, says she's proud that her daughter Bronte, right, wants to empower herself to stay fit and healthy

Mum Sarah, pictured left, says she's proud that her daughter Bronte, right, wants to empower herself to stay fit and healthy

Bronte would rise super early and follow a very healthy diet to get ready for the beach, even when she was as young as just 15 

Bronte would rise super early and follow a very healthy diet to get ready for the beach, even when she was as young as just 15 

But my daughters have found wearing bikinis to be an empowering experience and I respect them for that. 

I still remember the look of joy on Bronte’s face when she found the perfect bikini and strutted proudly around in it.

At the same time, I think I have a balanced view about body image. My girls don’t take their bikini bodies so seriously that they deprive themselves of treats. 

Like most young women, they enjoy ice cream and milkshakes – they just understand that if they want to stay healthy and look good, they need to enjoy those kinds of indulgences in moderation.

Since when did the bikini become the enemy of feminism and mothers everywhere?

Friends have warned Sarah to be careful as she could be encouraging Bronte 'to have unrealistic body expectations' (pictured: a healthy tuna salad meal that Bronte might make for herself)

Friends have warned Sarah to be careful as she could be encouraging Bronte 'to have unrealistic body expectations' (pictured: a healthy tuna salad meal that Bronte might make for herself)

Like most young women, Sarah's daughters, pictured left, Bronte's younger sister Freya, and Bronte, right,  enjoy ice cream and milkshakes – they just understand that if they want to stay healthy and look good, they need to enjoy those kinds of indulgences in moderation

Like most young women, Sarah's daughters, pictured left, Bronte's younger sister Freya, and Bronte, right,  enjoy ice cream and milkshakes – they just understand that if they want to stay healthy and look good, they need to enjoy those kinds of indulgences in moderation

The Ripley Academy in Derbyshire recently had to apologise after a Bikini Body Class they offered was met with outrage by parents, who claimed these classes would put too much pressure on their children to obtain the perfect figure.

While I understand parents' concerns, I wonder if their outraged battle cry has missed the point. 

Recent figures from Diabetes UK show one that third of young children are overweight or clinically obese. 

Assuming every girl who reaches for a bikini body is vain, misinformed and sexualising themselves is just not true (pictured: the book Bronte writes her food habits down in)

Assuming every girl who reaches for a bikini body is vain, misinformed and sexualising themselves is just not true (pictured: the book Bronte writes her food habits down in)

Surely, cancelling the class altogether and denying these girls an opportunity to improve their fitness is short-sighted at best and ridiculous at worst!

And Jacqueline Hooton, Founder of Women in the Fitness Empowerment, an organisation that aims to give women a voice in the health and fitness industry agrees in part, saying: 'Less than one in five women engage in the minimum amount of daily activity required for health. 

'This is of national concern, women's long-term health is under threat and it starts in childhood.' 

As a youth confidence coach, Sarah knows how important it is that girls love who they are inside and out (pictured: Bronte, nearest, relaxing on the beach with friend Kaitlyn)

As a youth confidence coach, Sarah knows how important it is that girls love who they are inside and out (pictured: Bronte, nearest, relaxing on the beach with friend Kaitlyn)

But she does point out: 'I believe the term "fitness" has been hijacked by an unhealthy obsession with aesthetics. 

'I think it was a shame to market this class as Bikini Body Fitness rather than cancel the class; it may have been more beneficial to find a more inspiring class name.'

I agree with Jacqueline's comments whole heartedly.

If only the parents at the Ripley Academy could have seen beyond their outrage, they could have opened up a discussion in the school around healthy body image, healthy eating and fitness. 

Some family members tease Bronte when she turns away a plate of chips in favour of a salad but she's happy that her hard work means she feels relaxed when wearing her bikini (Pictured Bronte and Kaitlyn on the beach)

Some family members tease Bronte when she turns away a plate of chips in favour of a salad but she's happy that her hard work means she feels relaxed when wearing her bikini (Pictured Bronte and Kaitlyn on the beach)

Assuming every girl who reaches for a bikini body is vain, misinformed and sexualising themselves is just not true.

As a youth confidence coach I know how important it is that girl's love who they are inside and out. 

That confidence stays with them for life, it starts when they are young and I believe taking care of their body is an instrumental part of it. 

Karen Lisa Laing, Pilates instructor and writer from Fit School agrees, saying, 'As a mum of a girl, I will be encouraging my daughter to train with weights or on the athletics track as soon as possible. From a physiological point of view, it's really healthy to develop lean muscle mass during the teenage years.'

Peace out: Sarah says family members have mocked her daughter's morning exercise routine and the fact that she documents her food intake in a diary

Peace out: Sarah says family members have mocked her daughter's morning exercise routine and the fact that she documents her food intake in a diary

Some family members tease Bronte when she turns away a plate of chips in favour of a salad.

They mock her morning exercise routine as vain and tell her she is obsessive when she records what she has eaten that day.

But she is not obsessed, vain or out of touch with reality. 

She just finds looking after her body empowering and I don't think it's my job to tell her otherwise. 

It is vital that we encourage young girls to look after their bodies and find fun activities that will help them enjoy an active lifestyle, and if it has the word bikini in it, should we really care?

I will never make my daughter wrong for wanting a bikini body and I am appalled that other mothers put their feminist views above their child's long-term health. 

It is short sighted and neglectful to not teach your child to be fit and healthy.

If we were as outraged about childhood obesity as it appears we are about the words bikini body, our children would be fitter, healthier and happier.

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