Or even reasonably.
We are all 'EVERYTHING THIS WAY" until we find a new way, and then we are all EVERYTHING THAT WAY.
And the whole 'Everything in Moderation' or 'Let's just try a little of this' gets thrown out the window for 'DO IT ALL! GO TOO FAR!'.
The newest trend is 'Strong is the new Skinny'.
And for the record, I love the concept.
Let's not push ourselves to be as skinny as we can be, let's try to be as strong as we can be.
Awesome, I'm on board.
Except, wouldn't that theory mean that we'd see less unattainable, photo shopped or otherwise perfect photos? Wouldn't that mean we would see more goals about how far you can ride your bike or how fast you can run or how good you feel or how much more your body can do whether your goal is keeping up with your kids or keeping up with the Boston Marathon?
But it doesn't mean that and we're not seeing that.
All it means is instead of seeing extremely thin models in airbrushed poses, we see extremely muscular models in airbrushed poses.
And instead of dieting it's about eating clean and instead of starving it's about exercise and weight lifting and 'fitspiration'. Which is healthier when done right. And I am a proponant of eating clean and exercising. I work hard at it every day.
But lately, fitspiration is starting to feel just as shaming as 'thinspiration'.
If you would just lift more weights you could have a visible six pack of ab muscles while doing a handstand off the side of a park bench!
If you would just run more miles you could have legs with ripped quad muscles and not an ounce of cellulite!
If you just ate cleaner you could have an ass that you could bounce a quarter off of and a 20 inch waist!
If you just TRIED HARDER you would look like that.
If you don't, you're just not committed enough.
And I've had enough and I'm calling bullshit.
The whole idea of Strong being the new Skinny was supposed to be that we were going to embrace health over appearance.
But we're not.
I belong to several training groups. And in maybe one out of 50 posts is anyone talking about how many more pull ups they can do or how much easier it is to run down the street.
What they are talking about is how they can look 'lean'. What exercise will cause their biceps to 'pop' and about cutting out entire food groups for no other reason than to eliminate any minor bloat that might cause their abs to look less defined.
And NO ONE is talking about how everyone is built differently or about how it might be much harder for you to get that vein on your bicep to show or how it's OK to find the level of fitness that you want without seeing a six pack.
All is quiet when anyone wonders if maybe their body shape means that they are working JUST AS HARD and eating JUST AS CLEAN as that girl next to them, except they can't see that quad definition that she has.
Instead, they see photos with the lean stomach of someone 6 weeks postpartum hear the message loud and clear 'if you just cleaned up your diet and worked harder at the gym, you would look like me'.
Now, I'm no fitness instructor. So I don't know all the different tips and tricks and suggestions and exercises and diet ideas.
But I do know that none of us are the same.
And while I may run 50km a week and lift weights and eat clean 80% of the time, there still that one friend who can have a baby and sit on the couch and eat Doritos and she's still going to be thinner than me.
And if she started lifting weights, you would see her muscles through her 'lean' physique fast than me and she could stand next to me in front of the mirror and I would end up feeling like a failure even though I just did my first ever unassisted pull-up, because you can't see my obliques.
So we can call it 'Strong is the new skinny' or 'Fit is the new Sexy' and I love the idea behind both of those.
But if this is how we are going to treat it, let's just call it what it is.
A new way to shame women about the way they look.
And I got to tell you, for me, it's working.
Holy crap, is it working.
We're not celebrating strength when we show a picture of a muscular women on her toes with a phenomenal butt.
We're celebrating her butt.
And let's not fool ourselves into thinking we are selling healthy eating when we post our clean eating recipe with the backdrop of a defined muscular stomach.
We are selling that stomach.
Let's not pretend that photos convincing our girls they aren't good enough because they don't have a 'thigh gap' is worse than photos convincing them the same thing because you can't see their triceps.
If Strong is really the New Sexy, let's stop with the photos of your muscles and start with the celebration of your accomplishments.
Let's start encouraging women to embrace their figure the way it was made, and instead of saying things like 'Real Women Have Curves' and convincing all women to whom God did not provide them that they need to surgically create them, let's say things like 'You're Already Beautiful'.
If you are naturally thin, if you are naturally curvy. If you carry your weight in you butt or your thighs or your belly, you are built beautiful and exactly the way the right person will find sexy.
And our goal should be encouraging women to find the healthiest possible way to be them, not convince them they are not enough until they look like someone else.
Even if that person is really, really healthy.
Ever wonder why we all look different? Ever realized that different people find different body types sexy? Isn't it phenomenal how we were created that way?
Let's celebrate how cool that is, instead of busting ourselves trying to fit yet another standard that's being set for us that's different than the last one but actually mostly the same.
I'm all about fitness. I research it, practice it, work hard at it.
What I am is tired of fitness being about how I look and not about what I do and how I feel.
Because I am surrounded with photos of runners and athletes and attractive muscular girls in yoga poses in their underwear by a waterfall and instead of thinking 'I ran some great sprints today' I think 'look at my paunch.'
If you're eating healthy to be healthy that should be more important that eating clean so you can take an instagram photo of your stomach.
Don't try to motivate me by telling me I can work harder to look like the picture of a woman who has a different body type than I do, or who gets paid to work out, or who is probably just airbrushed...
Or maybe she has my exact same circumstance but her goal was to do absolutely everything it took to look like that. And that's not my goal.
And by using her photo as motivation, unless I somehow manage to turn myself into her, I will never measure up.
If you're goal is to compete and you want to exercise and eat in such a way so you can see a particular muscle on the side of your back, that's cool.
And if your goal is to finish Iron Man regardless of whether you can see that one quad line on the inside of your leg, that's also cool.
If you want to be able to lift your child or your husband or both, excellent.
Maybe you want to run a couple 5k races and take day trips with your kids on your bikes and sometimes take a family hike. That's awesome.
Personally, I want to maintain a healthy weight while building on my ability to run distances from a 5k to a half marathon at whatever time goal I set that year. And I'd like to do it while taking university classes and raising my kids and being the best wife I can be and managing my home.
I'd also like to do it without the constant pressure to be able to see my transverse abdominal muscles.
And last weekend, my kids ran a 3k race as part of my race weekend.
They did awesome.
I want them to want to continue to stay healthy and make food choices to promote that health. I want them to push themselves in the sport or activity they love and make goals and meet them and know what I feel when I cross a finish line.
And I want them to do all of that without ever once worrying about how to have more defenition on those last two ab muscles.
And when they are older, I want them to never do what I just did, which is almost crop the one photo so that you couldn't see me because I think my love handles make me look too chubby to be a runner.
I want them to be strong enough to care more about that finish line of whatever goal they choose for themselves, than they do about their appearance.
Let's get back to what 'strength' really is.
"Strong' is not defined in a photo.
Strong is defined in personality, determination, perseverance and purpose.
'Strong' is not about a vein on your arm or a muscle in your back or a lack of cellulite on your ass.
Strong is accomplishing a goal you set for yourself.
And for once, finally, could we start a trend where NOT every goal a woman makes has to revolve around what she sees in the mirror?
For the sake of my daughter, I'd like to salvage "Strong is the New Skinny".
Because I love the idea, and I love the potential.
Let's start by re-defining 'Strength'.