“Strong is the new skinny”.
I overheard this the other day, and it made me want to do a little fist pump!
After having my baby eight months ago it’s been a slow process getting my body to feel ‘back to normal’ again. I’ve come to the realisation that it will never be what it was before, and I’m quite fine with that. A few wobbly bits and some loose skin are a little reminder of the amazing job my body did growing a person, so I wouldn’t want to trade them in for the firm twenty two year old body I used to have way back when. This older body has been to war and survived, which I’m really proud of.
But I do miss feeling strong deep in my core. I miss being able to dance the night away (should I get the opportunity) and not be aching all over the next morning. I miss being able to lift heavy things without wincing. I miss being able to touch my toes with ease.
So thin is no longer the goal. The goal is to be strong, like an oak tree. Or better still, like Wonder Woman.
For me, this means regular exercise and core work (pilates, yoga etc), quality sleep and lots of veggies. I’m pretty hopeless at self-motivation if I’m staying up late and eating poorly.
It’s funny though, that once you take ‘skinny’ off the table as the ultimate goal, the motivation to keep going is steadier. So if you skip a day at the gym or eat a packet of chocolate biscuits for dinner, it’s less of a big deal and doesn’t feel like all is lost because of one deviation.
If we’re really honest, being skinny can be more about other people than it is about us as individuals. It’s a lot about what other people see when they look at us, and ultimately how we are perceived by a society that glorifies a thin woman. By contrast, being strong is more about ourselves, and how we feel from within. Being strong is less about fitting into a smaller size and more about lifting a bigger weight.
Feeling strong is cyclical too. When we feel strong, we feel energised, so we exercise because we feel capable. We eat well to nourish ourselves because we care about what we put into this strong body. We have healthy habits, which reinforce the strength we’ve created. It’s the old ‘more begets more’.
I now remind myself often that I am the owner of my body. It’s my job to look after it and respect it. It’s my job to be kind to it and speak kindly about it.
When I feel strong, skinny doesn’t matter.