Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Not Strong, Not Skinny

I rejoined the gym at the beginning of August and nearly two months later, I read something in an old Grazia magazine recently, from Ruby Tandoh, that really struck a chord with me:
"I'm worried about the idea that 'strong is the new skinny'. There's a creeping sense of what we should be, of what's ideal. We're not getting rid of horrible body standards that make people unwell, but continually moving the goalposts. It's wrong."
As you know, I prefer to share life over lifestyle here. While it's wonderful to show off beautiful finished pieces and share perfectly curated posts, sometimes it's worthwhile (for me and, hopefully, you) to show a little more than that. The mess beyond the camera; how many times you cast on before it was right; how sometimes you don't feel as good as the pictures might suggest.

It's a powerful thing, I think, to share the warts and all stuff.

When I joined the gym, I had all these dreams - I was going to be this total powerhouse. Rippling thighs, washboard abs and chiselled arms.

Two months in, I realise, that just ain't be. I now going to the gym between 4-6 times a week, depending on what I'm doing that week, how I feel and what I think my body needs. I still eat relatively well - with the exception of a love of the sweet stuff - but we tend to use cheese and butter in our cooking over vegetable fats and... no cheese.

I looked at my diet and thought - if I cut out all those (yummy, luscious) fats and those sweet treats and aimed to maintain a 6 day a week gym routine, I could probably look exactly as I envisaged by my 30th birthday in March.

And here's the thing - I don't care as much about image as I do about being happy. While I don't mind cutting back on the things I ought to, I'm not willing to give them up completely. I love food, eating out and trying new things is one of my greatest pleasures.

Healthy for me does not necessarily mean what it means to you. Healthy for me is getting movement into every day, eating well, but without depriving myself, continuing to see the gains I'm seeing now in every class, working up to heavier weights.

It may mean I never have the athletic build I originally thought I was aiming for - but at least I won't be suffering from guilt or frustration. This is the balance that works for me at the moment, it might change in the future.

Finding what works for you, rather than fulfilling whatever new look there is, is key - in my opinion - to falling in love with yourself. And I applaud Ruby for pointing out that you don't have to worry about moving goalposts if you shoot for your own goals.

1 comment:

  1. Well, being a bit older, strong is very important to me. I want to be able to keep moving and stand up straight into my golden years. I was not athletic when I was younger but I started running in my mid-40's and it has become my passion. I try to have balance, eat well and exercise often but also enjoy a sweet here and there and a day of sitting on the couch when I need that too.