Have you heard: Strong is the new skinny? Among my 8 children, are a couple of teenage girls. Teenage girls tend to worry about how much they weigh, and whether or not they’re perceived as “fat.” Teen girls are more likely to develop bulimia and/or anorexia nervosa than any other group.
One daughter decided she was going to be a vegan (then changed her mind; she would only be vegetarian), beginning this summer. There were several motives for the change, but one goal/hope was that she would become very slender (like her fourth grade teacher, who was an extremely slender vegan, and who made a profound impact on her). The recurring theme this summer has been her concern about whether or not she’s getting “fat” (she isn’t; as a matter of fact, she even has a low-normal BMI…but we can discuss BMI another day).
No matter how often I tell her she’s beautiful and wonderful and perfectly the way God intended her to be, she continues to believe she needs to ‘diet’ to lose weight. Dieting is, as I’ve said, not the key to a lifetime of wellness and strength. The diet only works as long as you stay with it, and you should only stay with it if it is well rounded and can support a healthy, active lifestyle.
It’s important to live a well balanced life that includes putting only healthy foods (and healthy liquids) into your body, and doing things with your body that cause it to become stronger and more functional (getting enough exercise and enough rest are part of that).
Skinny is often not healthy. I don’t mean thin people aren’t well. Actually, people who tend to be slender, over the period of a lifetime, tend to have fewer medical issues in general when compared to people who tend to be overweight. It’s the long haul that matters, though, if we hope to live to a ripe old age. But- WHAT we do to be skinny can be dangerous. Not eating, or restricting certain generally healthy foods because we are ‘cutting’ certain things from our diets, can be counterproductive to our long term goals.
Some people will lose an inordinate amount of weight when they are stressed or depressed (some gain under similar circumstances). If you have this unhealthy tendency to gain and drop substantial amounts of weight, it may be a good idea to address the issue to your healthcare specialist. Remember; our outward selves are a reflection of our inward selves. We are not intended to yo-yo in any way, and it’s unhealthy to do that.
Let your focus be strength. Let it be peace and wellness. Let it not be skinny. Skinny isn’t health. Strong is health. Be fit. Be well. Be peaceful. Be positive. Be happy. Only you can do that…think about it. Be strong!
Sally Windham is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor in Blanco, TX. Please send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org