Watch out world, I’m about to box jump right onto my soapbox.
This afternoon, while avoiding housework and instead basking in the new found glory of finally having internet in our home, I decided to check my email. When what to my wondering eyes should appear but an invitation to join a blogging contest, from a website with the word “skinny” in their title.
My stomach immediately turned as I deleted the message, and felt a gut wrenching repulsion from wanting to be associated with anything “skinny”.
Now let me back up, before the hate mail begins flowing. I’ve been called skinny most of my life. I’m not offended by it. I know some amazing fitness bloggers out there with the word “skinny” in their online persona. Some of them, like this guy, could kick my ass and probably yours too…at the same time. Perhaps it’s not the word skinny that I loathe…perhaps it’s the idea surrounding it.
It is blatantly obvious that our society has this obsession with being “skinny”. With fitting into size ____ jeans (you know, the “skinny” jeans). Getting “skinny” before ______(vacation, high school reunion, your best friends cousins wedding, etc). I want to say it’s the superficial aspect of the word that gets me, but it’s not.
It’s the ignorance.
Riddle me this: how often have you heard someone say “uggh I should start going to the gym so my risk of heart disease and type II diabetes decreases, and I can carry my two year old up the stairs without gasping for air” or “gee, wouldn’t it be great if I ate well and became more active so my confidence and mood would increase, I would feel empowered and strong, and set a healthy example for my children?”
Not nearly as often as you see people searching high and low, to the ends of the earth, for a quick fix to take off all of that weight… to get “skinny”. The diet pills, the infomercials, the “programs”. Next time you are in the grocery store, glance at the covers of the magazines that stare at you as you wait in the checkout line. “Lose ten pounds fast”. “How to shed weight without changing anything!” “(insert celebrity here) lost 45 pounds with this miracle diet, now you can too!” The fitness industry is worth BILLIONS of dollars….yet heart disease and obesity are some of the number one causes of death in our society.
Let’s face it, two thirds of us are the walking dead, and those numbers are only getting worse. It even affects our children, 17% of our nation’s youth are obese. Heart disease, hypertension, cancer, type II diabetes, metabolic diseases, osteoporosis….a less than ideal standard of living and early death.
But all we care about is being skinny. Excuse my language, faithful readers, but our priorities are f*cked up.
I want to stare at multiple magazine covers that boast the athletic achievements of average joes, or share stories of how running (or cycling, or zumba, or hiking) saved someone from depression or drug abuse or death. I want to hear more about REGULAR PEOPLE like you and me doing EPIC things with the amazing bodies they were given, and refuse to take for granted.
My one wish is that everyone could feel how amazing being FIT feels. To know you can carry your children, laundry, and groceries all at the same time, with ease. To be able to bend over and tie your shoes and have zero trouble standing back up. To feel the thrill of PR’ing a race, or a deadlift. To hop out of a chair without a groan. To have a significant other who doesn’t care about your dress size but instead brags to his/her co-workers about how you finished a crazy obstacle race or rode your bike X amount of miles, for fun. A partner who thinks you are beautiful because you are STRONG. To be so CONFIDENT in your abilities and PROUD of what you can and have accomplished, that you could care less about the size of your jeans.
And the best part? We are ALL capable of this. Maybe not to the same extent, but in one way or another, we can all push ourselves to be the best WE can be, on the inside AND outside.
Here’s a fact: I’m 20 lbs heavier than I was this time last year.
Here’s another fact: I’m faster, stronger, HEALTHIER, and feel more confident and empowered than I EVER have before. A good majority of that is muscle mass, but some is not. Simply put: I could run circles around last year’s version of me.
Ladies (and gents), listen to me: forget skinny. You goal should be healthy. Be STRONG. Forget Skinny.
PUSH YOURSELF to wake up each day being a BETTER VERSION OF YOU than you were yesterday. It’s not going to be easy, I can promise you it won’t be. But I can also promise you won’t regret it.