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Sunday, April 8, 2012

SKINNY does not mean HEALTHY

I have spent the past week or so really trying to find the right words for this post. I have finally come to the realization that I just need to be up front and point blank about this. I really just need to vent just a bit.


That being said, I am human and I get my feelings hurt, too. I have to admit though, it really pisses me off that I couldn't just shrug this off but instead, let it get to me. Especially when what was said to me shouldn't have bothered me!

Last week, I had someone very close to me, another woman, lovingly point out the fact that I had still have a belly.
Not a shocker! I mean, it's not like I didn't know, but it hurt my feelings just the same. I said as much and she told me that she didn't mean to hurt my feelings BUT she was taking these appetite suppressants and maybe I would like her to get me some also to help me get rid of the rest of my belly.

And do you know what makes me the most upset?! The fact that for a split second before I shut her down, I was willing to hear about these pills. WHY?

Seriously! WHY?!

If someone from my gym had told me that this had happened to them I would have come UNDONE! I would have been so upset! Then I would have spent the next 30 minutes explaining to them that SKINNY does not mean HEALTHY! Pills are NOT how to lose weight and blah, blah, blah!

So why didn't I have this immediate reaction when it was suggested to me that I needed help to lose my belly? I think partly because this statement came from a loved one, but I think the real reason is because I, like so many of you, can not be completely satisfied with how I look.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

I have never been that girl with the eating disorder. Mostly because I enjoy food too damn much!  What I have always wanted though, was an athletic build. A body that, when people saw me, would know that I worked hard for it, not wonder who my plastic surgeon was. (DISCLAIMER: I have nothing against plastic surgery, it is just not for me.)
Up until a few years ago, I didn't do the work to get that body, so I had no reason to be upset that I didn't have it. So, I wasn't.

If you don't work for it, you can't expect it, right? RIGHT!

After the birth of my 3rd and last son, I got serious though. I started working out 6 days a week doing something you may have heard of, P90X. This was perfect for me at the time. I had a newborn that I couldn't take to the gym and with this, I could work out at home. I did this for 3 years, every day. (YES! You read that correct) I measured myself monthly, weighed myself, took the before and after pictures. You name it! Over those 3 years, I saw my body begin to change and reward me with my hard work.

THEN I discovered CrossFit and my life completely changed!

I also discovered I wasn't near as strong and in shape as I thought I was. My first CrossFit workout handed my ass to me...and I loved it!!! As a result, I saw my body change more in the following 3 months than it had changed in the past 3 years of P90X. My arms, my legs, my shoulders and my back all begin to change. For the first time, I was able to see muscle definition. I didn't even know I had some of these muscles. Very cool!

What was even better, was that I found my goals had begun to change as well. I was no longer concerned with the number on the scale going down, or the measurements, or the damn "before" and "after" photos. My goals changed to things like, lift heavier, run faster, get an unassisted pull-up, learn the olympic lifts, do push-ups correctly.

Losing 5 - 10lbs began to seem silly to me.

I felt amazing and fitter than I had ever been in my life! Wasn't that supposed to be our goal?

I also learned what my body was not going to do. I had always expected my body to respond to everything, and for the most part it did...except my abs.

I joke with my friends that I only have a 3-pack instead of a 6-pack. Those other 3 abs that will not show, I have named them Taylor, Brendan and Jordan after my 3 boys.

So then why the hell did this conversation bother me so damn much? I had accepted a long time ago I was not a 6-packer.

Not a 6-packer

Nope, no 6 pack here either.
Reality = STRONG!

Not me! :)
My best friend suggested that maybe I was mourning a loss. She asked me, "Why are you not upset that your boobs aren't perfect?"
I laughed hard and said, "Girl, I have had three boys! There is no help for them expect for surgery, which I won't do."
She said, "The same is true for your abs! Everything else about your body changed as you expected with the exception for your stomach. Let's take a photo of those abs you think you should have, burn the picture and bury this crap!"

Well said, Cindy! So, for those of you out there that may be going through this same struggle, let's bury this crap! Love who we are! Be proud of what we are doing, and most important, don't let the hurtful words bring you down.

Strong is Sexy and Beautiful! Caring what people think of you...not so much.

You know better. I know better!

Be healthy, be fit, and most important, be HAPPY with who you are!


  1. I love this post! I wrote about the same thing. I also believe those six packers are beautiful but where's the applause for the women without six packs, a little "extra"?? I don't have a six pack and never will but i believe I'm strong- ive run 4 marathons, 2 half's, and I lift like crazy.

    1. Thanks for reading, Maureen! I have had six pack envy long enough! I think those women are beautiful,too but I don't think it defines beauty. My husband tells me I am beautiful everyday and that is enough for me.
      Keep up the great work! You ARE strong! 4 marathons is something to be very proud of!
      I would love to read your blog.

  2. Love this story - I've always struggled w/a positive self image. Always thinking I can do better. I'm slowly learning to accept and be happy with who I am! Thank you for sharing your story!

    1. Thank you for reading April. The response I have received from this blog post has spoke volumes! I think this is something that touches so many of us. I am also still learning to accept that I will never be perfect either.
      I think what we need to remember is that we aren't meant to be perfect! Perfect doesn't always mean happy or healthy. If we make ourselves miserable trying to get this "perfect" body, then I think we are missing something very important - Self-Esteem and Confidence.
      Nothing shouts BEAUTY, SEXY and STRONG than a woman who is confident in herself. :)

  3. Just wanted to add . . . I, too, have three boys (16, 13, 6 . . . all 9 pounders) and, once, in a conversation with my oldest about tattoos and [what I would consider]reasons for having one, realized the only symbols I would want to carve/ink on myself would be those of my three precious boys, and then those to remind me of where I've been and what I've been through. And I realized I ALREADY HAVE THOSE SYMBOLS!!! They are my scars. They remind me of how wonderfully this body carried three, big, beautiful boys. How I survived a pretty intense cycling accident and overcame through the lengthy recovery process. How the worst DIDN'T happen when I was four. How it feels to be going so fast that when you skid and scrape, hide is forfeit. How these breasts made three incredibly chubby babies! So on and so forth. THESE are symbols of where I've been, what I've done, and who I am. No, my tummy isn't flat (don't think it ever will be, honestly)and yes, my breasts are somewhat deflated, but my body is STRONG and that makes me feel pretty darn good. THAT . . . is beautiful.

    I'll take that any day over plastic parts and surgically-enhanced pieces. ;) Thanks for sharing your story. Be proud of that gorgeous body!!!

    ~ Jo

    1. I love this! Our bodies tell a story, why should we be ashamed and hide it. You are so right! Thank you for your words as well.

  4. I'm sure this post did strike a chord with a lot of women! It seems like no matter where we go, no matter what we do, someone is ready to judge our bodies with insane standards of perfectionism, and they do the judging OUT LOUD! No where is safe; even on Crossfit's FB page people make stupid comments - instead of applauding the accomplishments shown in a photo, they critique the women's bodies (not everyone, of course; just a few @55holes).

    There are more and more posts like yours, especially in the Crossfit and Paleo blogs. I'm really hoping that it will make a difference; it's time to turn this around. I mean, it's not just a matter of preferring strength to thinness, or believing that strong is sexy - there are also women who aren't strong, maybe never will be, or just flat-out aren't interested in it. Why does that still have to be the ONLY thing women are judged by?

    Everyone has their aesthetic preferences, and everyone has beliefs about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, and that's fine, but I would like The World to stop thinking that women OWE beauty - of whatever definition - to anyone.

    And p.s.: you ARE beautiful, and you're obviously strong as hell. You have nothing to feel insecure about :) You're fabulous.

    1. I hope post like these will make a difference. I know it won't reach everyone, but if I can help one person realize how beautiful they are and not worry about what the world thinks, then that is just incredible. Each generation has a different standard that is considered beautiful. Now it's the rock hard body. In the 90's it was skinny.
      My goal is to be healthy for my family. I have chosen to do that with CrossFit because it makes me happy. My best friend doesn't like CrossFit and thinks I am nuts :)). That being said, she is also very healthy and goes about it completely differently than me. AND THAT'S OK! There is not only one way do it and I think that is the way it should be. You are so right!
      And thank you for your sweet compliment. I was terrified to post those pictures but I wanted to show that not all CrossFitters are shredded. I don't take my shirt off to show off abs, I take it off because in 110% humidity in Alabama, a drenched shirt really grosses me out. :)

  5. Really, really, really important post here. Thank you for saying it out loud.

    We all feel the pressure, well, the 'all' of us that don't have always feel we have it all ;). And even in the deep dark recesses of 'their' minds, they are a part of the 'all' most of the time. Often we can be toughest on ourselves, but someone's idea of what we should be rather than what we are is a bit hard to swallow sometimes. So, perfect defined by ... ? I say, I am my own version of perfect and if today I don't feel that way, what am I going to do about it? I don't need to make someone else happy, so if I am, then ... perfect!

    We are always changing and moving in the direction of our goals and dreams is so rewarding. Yes, self esteem & confidence! Where did we miss the turn? I am stunned by the beautiful women I see who don't realize it. I will always fail if I try to be something that I cannot. Sounds like misery to me. You are right, why do we even for a moment consider it?!

    After 4 years of CrossFit, last week someone called me a tiny thing and last year someone called me a wisp of a thing. Arrrghhhh! I can deadlift your husband, pull up my own body weight+, swing, natch, jump & run fast and cool stuff like that! I will never be 20 or 30 again, I will be athletic, strong and happy well into my golden years. I promised my husband I will always be happy with MY PR, not disappointed I didn't reach someone else's.

    Yes, we know it! Strong is Sexy and Beautiful! Caring what people think of you...not so much. Sometimes it does warrant repeating. We do have feelings, we won't be perfect in the eyes of the 'world' (advertising, marketing, lemming creators & pharma). Whew! Good for us. This is our depth, our joy, our life. GET SOME :) ~j

  6. Love this. I have three boys too, and my third really stretched my belly out, left me with marks, and some sagging skin. I try so hard to look past it, and know that the effort I put forth at every WOD in the box and clean eating is what matters. My boys deserve a mom who is proud to be strong and not living with constant self criticism.

    1. Being happy with who you are just makes your beauty shine brighter! Be proud of that body, it gave you 3 glorious boys!

  7. Oh my! I'm so happy to know that it's not just me. I had two eleven pound boys and I've finally begun to accept that while I'm in the best shape of my life I will always have a tummy. Thanks for sharing and reminding us that we're not alone in who we are.