Being Fit Doesn’t Always Mean “Skinny”

I spend a lot of time on various health and wellness blogs.  As a running coach, personal trainer, and health coach, I make it my business to read a lot of different articles on healthy living.  One thing I love seeing in the past few years is that social media is starting to (slowly) understand that we need to stop worrying about the word “fat.”  Fat as a food source is not a bad thing.  On a physical level, it is so amazing to see that we are starting to embrace real bodies.

Did you see that there is a model in the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue who has stretch marks?  I absolutely love and applaud Lane Bryant for not airbrushing this model.  She is a beautiful woman with a very real body.

skinny1

The reality is that most of us deal with or have dealt with body issues at some point in our lives.  Some people can’t gain weight, and others struggle to stop gaining.  While some people hate exercising, others find themselves compulsively visiting the gym.  The odds are that if you asked almost anyone if they love their bodies, there is something each person would want to change.  This is a very difficult issue for most of us.

What I love about the Lane Bryant ad is the decision not to cover up what some people might consider flaws.  We all have our flaws.  Most of us are aware of these “imperfections.”  The reality is, this woman is a very attractive person who makes a living posing for pictures.  She is also real.

As a health coach, a mom, and a blogger, I have a very hard time embracing the whole “skinny” notion.  I often come across blog posts or articles discussing how you too can be skinny, and it honestly makes my skin crawl.  The quickest way for me to close a blog or skip a post is an article or heading about how to become skinny.

I work out a lot.  I enjoy working out.  I was a competitive athlete all of my life in a sport that embraced “skinny: and encouraged it’s athletes to remain a certain weight/size.  I have made fitness my life and my way of making a living.   But I also enjoy food; much of which is even what you might consider unhealthy food.  I’m not ashamed of that.  After years of struggling with my body image, I am happy to be able to enjoy dessert and a run and keep it balanced.

I also work daily with some incredible people who struggle to find the joy in exercise.  It can be difficult for them to find a balance in what they choose to eat or how much they eat.  This is very real.  When these people find a healthier way of life and take the time to work out, it is a very incredible achievement.  To make anyone think that you need to be “skinny” to be happy is a very wrong and unhealthy message.

And while we are on this topic, I need to wonder what exactly is skinny?  Many of us might look on that cover of Sports Illustrated and see the model in a tiny bikini and think that is skinny.  I myself might look in the mirror at my running muscles sometimes and cringe, wishing those were thinner.  Skinny is a pretty relative and unfair term for us to be aiming to achieve.

skinny2

Healthy is a way of life.  It is a way to approach balanced eating and activities.  Being healthy does not mean that you fit into size 2 jeans or a size small top.  Skinny is not an attainable or quantifiable term.  However, you can make daily steps to live a healthier life.  And please do keep in mind that just because you can fit into a tiny pair of jeans, does not mean that you are healthy.  Being healthy is a process of fueling your body with good food and exercise.

We can all aim to eat smaller meals and add more fruits and vegetables into our diets.  It would be a great goal to be active most days of the week.  Each of us should be trying to exercise for at least 30 minutes several days each week.  I can’t guarantee that you will end up on the cover of a magazine, but you certainly will feel better and be much healthier.  Doesn’t that sound great?!

17 thoughts on “Being Fit Doesn’t Always Mean “Skinny”

  1. Love this!! I can’t face looking at pictures of myself back when I ‘skinny’ now I’m the heaviest, biggest waist, fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been! Scales don’t tell you how much your muscle weighs! X

  2. The only thing I want skinnier are my calves and that’s only because I love knee high boots and my calves are too big for most of them. If the boot makers made the shaft wider, I wouldn’t care at all (and stretching the leather doesn’t work – I tried. I have a pair of very beautiful and expensive boots that I can’t wear.)

    Other than that, I love what my legs do for me.

  3. I can tell you this, I feel (and look) a hell of a lot better at 172 pounds than I do 180 (the old BMI calculator says I’m good either way, but I know better).

    While I’m picking up what you’re laying down, that sword you wield cuts both ways. I have my flaws, yes, but they’re not quite as dramatic when I manage to push myself away from the table!

    • I completely agree. This has less to do with what you weigh and how healthy you are and much more with focusing on being healthy. What irks me is how many blogs focus on being skinny. I would just like more emphasis on healthy. Your healthy involves good eating and exercising, not just not eating to be small.

  4. LOVE this article!! I run 5 days a week not and yet, those pounds don’t budge. But, I feel stronger than ever in my life with so much of self-esteem like never before. Fitness is not about a number, it’s all about what makes you feel your best self internally. Thanks for writing down this article.

    • Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes those pounds are there for a reason and sometimes those last few pounds are just okay. I keep my extra few and enjoy dessert and pizza. It’s a trade off.

  5. Very, very true … I feel like there is so much push to collapse all the aspects of health into one magic metric, and it ends up meaningless. I am at my lowest weight since ~middle school, and thinnest – but also in the best shape of my life.

    I have actually weighed myself once this year, and probably 4-5 times last year. Generally … don’t care – more of a mental calibration than anything else.

    I am biased against fad diets … whether that is the ones that have you cut out massive swaths of food, imbalance macronutrients, but pre-fab meals, most of the ‘shakes’ that are meal-replacements and not home-made, and so on. While I know these things can help some people, ultimately I believe that until you learn how to prep, cook and eat your own food you buy at a store, you won’t have success maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    • I love love love your comments and this is exactly why. Diets generally don’t work. They are not a long term lifestyle. Once you accept and learn to make healthy a part of your lifestyle, it all comes together. With ups and downs along the way of course.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s