Strong vs. Skinny

So, Erica got all inspirational yesterday, and I’m about to get a little emotional/slight feminist (which is very unusual for me. Not the emotional part, but the feminist part. I’m sort of like a dude 24/7)

My whole life, I’ve been muscular. I came out of the womb with broad shoulders (my mom won’t let me forget that) and thunder thighs. I also apparently came out of the womb sucking my thumb, and immediately downed two bottles after being alive for about 3 minutes. So really, not much has changed. I’m still muscular, and I’m still hungry. All the time.

Homegirl, I can relate. via Nike

In high school, when I got really into working out, my goal was to always get “skinny”. I would purposely only use 5 lb weights so I wouldn’t bulk up, did at least an hour of cardio a day, cut calories, and kept a food diary. At my thinnest, I weighed 125 lbs, and was always so frustrated that I wasn’t losing any more weight (I’m 5’3, so 125 is still slightly above average than a “normal” weight for my height. I’ve definitely roid-raged out on doctors who have told me I should weigh less. Test my BMI, bitch, THEN tell me I need to lose weight). The point is- I would obsess over that number on the scale. I’d weigh myself every day and cut my food intake and up the cardio if I wasn’t satisfied.

 

It really wasn’t until the last year that I became comfortable with my body. I’m always going to be muscular, and I should embrace that. I’m always going to have to get my jeans altered so they fit my booty and my waist. I’m going to go Hulk status every now and then and rip my shirts with my huge stupid shoulders (this has happened more times than I’d like to admit. It usually ends in tears). When I’m on the spin bike, or at CrossFit, I feel so empowered (feminist alert!!) because I feel how strong I am and I see the things my body will do and I see others around me doing the same thing. It’s inspiring, motivating, and it’s expected.

via Body Confidential

But I can’t help but feel frustrated and let down sometimes. I hate myself for leaving the gym feeling all badass and sexy, and then I’ll pass a girl who’s 5’10 and weighs less than I do, and my self esteem drops. I notice how my thighs are rubbing together and how short and stumpy I feel. I immediately start comparing myself to her, and want her bod (not in that kinda way, but in the way that I’d like it if my thighs didn’t rub together and my shoulders were proportionate to my body and my ass didn’t require its own zip code). I know there must be tons of you out there who suffer the same thing- and it sucks. Lately, I’ve been catching myself do it, and have been able to snap myself out of it. In my world, I’ve noticed a HUGE shift towards “Strong is the new skinny” which I obviously love, but there’s still a huge part of society that pressures us into being rail thin (feminist alert part 2!!) and I think it will take awhile for all of us to collectively break that mold.

Can you spot the difference between these two pictures?
Hint: One is an Victoria’s Secret model. The other is not. I know,
it’s probably difficult to tell which one is which.Β 

But guess what? This whole situation is sort of a Catch 22.Β Through my Fitfluential family, countless blogs, and Instagram, I’ve come across dozens of girls who are actually trying to GAIN weight and bulk up because they’re too thin. And they are just as frustrated with not being able to gain weight as I get sometimes with not being able to lose it. So, embrace it ladies (feminist alert part 3, last one). Get off the scale. Stop counting calories. Stop comparing yourself to others (especially those in magazines- you wouldn’t BELIEVE the power of Photoshop). Be happy with your bod. Be confident. Be strong. The bottom line is to BE HEALTHY.

Was that too deep? Did I just become a feminist? Am I being crazy? Anyone else out there cope with body image issues here and there?

-Emily

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19 thoughts on “Strong vs. Skinny

  1. I feel exactly the same way. I’ve never been the skinny type and in high school, I played basketball, soccer, basketball, I danced, taught taebo, did yoga – all at once. but I just got stronger and more muscular. At this point, I’ve given up trying to be ‘skinny’ and rather more fit, toned and healthy.

    Thanks for this post – I’d been feeling a little ‘blegh’ about myself today but I’ll keep hitting the gym πŸ˜‰

  2. I love your blog – I think it’s brilliant, but I really, really hope that you are a feminist! Being a feminist essentially means wanting control over your own body – whether that’s freedom from physical abuse/violence or freedom to look how you want without media pressure or manipulation. You should have a look at this amazing blog http://vagendamag.blogspot.co.uk/ because I think it’s obvious how much you guys respect your bodies and value female freedom and empowerment – so you kind of are feminists whether you like it or not! Embrace it.

  3. Love this! I can totally relate. Lately it seems like no matter how much of a BAMF I feel after I lift, I will inevitably pass someone who I think looks “better” and I’m crushed.
    We all have the shit we don’t like about ourselves (put me in the linebacker shoulder and thunder thigh club) but we gotta let that feminist out every once in a while to embrace the positive: we’re freaking strong as hell!

  4. Your body is sexy, and your broad shoulders are balanced by your thighs that touch and you look GOOD! I have broad shoulders and no hips (thankfully I at least have a bit of an ass for being so small) and I’d give a million dollars (that’s a total lie… I would travel with a million dollars and open a CrossFit gym) to have something on the bottom to balance out my top. But going to the gym and being strong is sexy. And you definitely feel sexy. I’ve never felt this confident before!

  5. What a great post!! And You look amazing in your bikini, girl! Trust me, I hear you on all of this. I too have an ass with it’s own zip code, and have since I was a little girl. I’ve never been “skinny”, I’ve always had an “athletic build”, except for when I was younger, and then I was just chubby. I work every day to love every bit of me.. but some days are easier than others. Thanks for writing this post that so many of us can relate to!

  6. Awesome post! I can relate to the ups and downs. I have an athletic build bordering on manly; broad shoulders, no hips, small chest…I can even build muscle faster than my boyfriend…ridiculous! I leave the gym on top of the world, ready to kick butt and show the world how sexy I am….then I see ‘her’ *sigh*
    No one is immune to body image issues even the Victoria Secret model.

  7. Excellent post on an extremely sensitive and noteworthy subject; thank you. πŸ™‚ I will however note that (in my opinion) it isn’t necessary, nor should it ever be, to put a “disclaimer” out there every time you have a feminist thought. Being a feminist myself, I will admit that the feminist movement over time as given us a bad name, but our results in no way merit a disclaimer as if it is a bad thing to speak up for social equality for women. I applaud you and Erica for sharing your personal stories and thoughts and I hope that you continue to do so, as I do love following your blog.

    • Thanks so much!! I’m glad you liked the post. I did put the disclaimer there as more of a joke just because I don’t tend to get so emotional talking about these kinds of things. We will definitely be getting more “real” in the future, without the disclaimers πŸ™‚

  8. thank you for this post. this is always what i preach. My roomate strives to be skinny I strive to be strong. I am an avid marathoner and at 5’3 the lowest I have ever weighed is 125. During marathon season I pack on up to 15 lbs in my giant thunder thighs..but they only make me run stronger and faster. I have been a solid rock my whole life and according to a scale i am overweight.. according to my bmi I have very low body fat. I dont want to look like that victoria secret model. I wanna look like i can kick your butt if you mess with me πŸ™‚

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