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I shared the article this quote is from last week on my Facebook page but I relate to it so much I had to make it a post.

It’s called “This Trendy ‘Strong is the New Skinny’ Thing and what is could mean for the next generation of girls,” and this paragraph could not describe me and mentality at the moment, any better:

“Now when I look in the mirror (this is embarrassing by the way, I can’t believe I’m admitting this online) I flex instead of sucking in. Now when I pinch my stomach, it’s to feel my abs, not to feel shitty about how much “flab” (real or imaginary) is sitting there. I no longer stare at the “calories burned” display on the elliptical, but how many plates I have on each end of the barbell.” — Sophieologie.com

I mostly agree with the article but like some of the commenters, I fear “strong” could become the new “skinny” in a bad way.

It’s true. I’ve become a bit of a workout junkie. I took this photo last month as a joke but never got a chance to share it.

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I’m really starting to see the changes in my body. I feel the difference in my strength. I have more energy. I’m happier. I even feel calmer in a weird way, more in control of my emotions.

So my gut reaction to this article was positive. Of course “strong” is a better goal than “skinny.” I’ve even wrote a post about why I feel “skinny” is about the worst goal you can set. 

However, it does feel a bit like we are swapping out one cultural obsession (thinness) with another (super fit), and although I fall in the category of a workout junkie (now) I’ve made that choice after a lifetime of hating myself and my body. For me it IS a more positive shift in my goals, but I can only imagine how young girls may feel today.

What if you happen to be thin and have no interest in lifting weights — do you now feel just as inadequate as I did not sporting the “heroin chic,” waifish frame body of the ’90s? What about other folks who do workout, enjoy it, yet still don’t have the “expected” body shape of a “strong” woman?

Why does it feel like we are we constantly doing things in pursuit of someone else’s ideals weather it be skinny, strong or curvy?

It’s taken me a long time to get to where I am emotionally and it’s true I got here by pursuing weight loss. I’m not going to lie and say the changes in my body aren’t awesome, but I stripped myself of the pressure of looking a specific way long ago. If I didn’t I’d still be pursuing Twiggy’s arms and Elle MacPherson legs, both of which are a complete impossibility for my body type regardless of how much weight I lose or iron I pump.

Now I do what I do because I WANT to do it. I pursue fitness goals because it makes me feel amazing. Alive. Accomplished.

Confidence should be the new skinny.

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I hope that’s the message I’m spreading.

 
  • http://www.FitandFreeEmily.com Emily

    YES. Although I really hate this whole movement of skinny being “wrong” and all the phrases that go along with it (Strong is the new skinny, real women have curves, etc) What if you’re naturally thin and CAN”T look the way we’re praising? It’s just as damaging to say “real women aren’t fat,” right?

    How about just “love yourself”. Period. No “new skinny” needed. No comparison to body type or size.

  • shandy

    I think it’s funny how we have to have a label. We’re strong or weak, fat or skinny, etc. I know I spend a lot of time dreaming of my ideal label, but this post just made me think how we need to just “be”. Be happy in who we are at our best selves. Women especially feel the need to define ourselves in regard to other women (yes, men do this too). But I don’t want to fear a label like strong. I’ve spent too much time hating fat and weak. Go confidence!

  • http://twitter.com/YanetBradley Yanet Bradley

    couldn’t agree more, thank you… confidence should reign supreme… I am a skinny girl, I love working out and often I feel attacked, I love my body the way it is, I exercise because I love the feeling I get from it, and also is my hobby, my me time..
    no labels, just respect for one another..

  • Amilja

    Love this post! So true !!!

  • Kim Turner

    I like the idea of confidence being the goal!!
    I think the whole idea is to work toward being the best you possible!! (at least that’s what keeps me going)

  • Nikki

    I had an emergency c-section just over 2 weeks ago with the birth of my son. Prior to becoming pregnant, I weighed about 179 lbs. and am only 5′ 2″, so not so thin. I only gained about 5 lbs. through the pregnancy, and was earlier this week down 10 lbs. already from my pre-pregnancy weight (my son was only 5 lbs. 4 oz. at birth). My average pant size is/was a 12. However, I heard the surgeon (who was not my regular OB/GYN and had never seen me) and the nurse assisting him commenting on my strong abs as they were cutting. So, you can be fat, strong and lack confidence, but I agree that confidence, is the main goal. Be comfortable with who you are, and not focusing SO much on what someone else’s idea of “ideal” is, because, let’s face it, that’s different for everyone you meet and you can go crazy searching for that.

  • Peggry

    Great post, Roni! I agree totally.

  • Noelle

    you rock.

  • http://bonpetitplat.wordpress.com/ Sandra

    I completetly agree. I wrote a quick article on my blog as a reaction to a new Dove advert, in which women were asked what they liked about themselves and were struggling to answer. When asked what they liked on their friends/mums/sisters, they were full of praise.

    Some women definitely need to be confident about themselves, me first!

  • Paula Saardchit

    I LOVE IT! Confidence should be the new skinny. That’s absolutely fabulous. And it can mean something different to each and every woman (which is perfect because we are all created uniquely). Thank you. You’re an inspiration :-)

  • Carolyn Viggh Fitness

    Great post! I wrote a very similar one (with the same title =P) on my blog, Survival of the Fittest. I think it is so important that people start to pursue fitness goals with the attitude of trying to be happy and fulfilled, not to make others happy by looking a certain way. I am so glad to have found another person who shares my view on this! You are right, confidence should be the new skinny!

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