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Should Strong be the New Skinny?

Posted May 17 2013 10:41pm

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.” —

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.


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 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.


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

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