Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The New Sexy

Today I read a blog post called This Trendy "Strong is the New Skinny" Thing (and what it could mean for the next generation of girls) and now I want to talk about it. Unfortunately it means I have to talk about some personal issues, but it's worth it considering the importance of the topic.

First of all, if you are a female from the age of 10-100, please read the blog post that I am referring to here because it is great. There is the link again --> CLICK ME FOR ARTICLE!

I have never been one of those girls who did the extreme dieting or starved myself or anything of the sort. I loved food too much to do something like that. But, like every female who hits the age of puberty (what a nightmare) I had body issues and was never happy with what I saw in the mirror. My weight fluctuated a bit here and here and especially increased  when I was working as a baker. Considering how much cookie dough and fruit cake I ate there, I deserved to weigh quite a bit more. However, once I moved to PEI and got involved with working out regularly, lots of hot yoga and learning how much I loved to lift weights, my weight went back down a bit and plateaued at an agreeable place. I even began to get muscles and definition! It was pretty awesome to feel like I was actually beginning to look semi-alright-decent.

Then about a year ago I started to lose weight. It happened fairly gradual at first; a few pounds here and a few pounds there. But then around August it just started to come off me at an exponential rate; but I blamed it on the stress of moving and leaving my friends in PEI and starting a new life back on the west coast. I got thinner and thinner without even trying. It was kind of cool actually. My weight was the lowest it had ever been and I was easily zipping up jeans of sizes that I never dreamed of ever fitting into.

No matter how much I ate (and I felt ravenous all of the time), the numbers on the scale kept dropping. Yeah it seems like every girls dream to have this happen, but in exchange for having a body weight that was within a range that I approved of, I felt like complete and utter shit all of the time. My energy levels plummeted and I wasn't sleeping. I stopped going to the gym because I didn't have the strength to lift the weights. And if I did manage to sum up the strength to lift weights, the prominence of my ribs in my chest would gross me out and I would stop immediately. My exercising consisted only of walking the dog twice a day (which would exhaust me) and the walking that I did at work serving tables. I gave up the things that made me feel good about myself and it really felt awful having to do so. But hey, I fit into those skinny jeans like nothing else!

Like Sophie said in her post, I missed getting compliments of how well I was looking and got sick of the concerns from the people in my life. Eventually I did go to the doctor because I felt like I was dying. Truly. Weight loss despite enormous appetite, heart palpitations, weakness, exhausted but couldn't sleep, and couldn't concentrate or enjoy the things that used to make me happy. Turns out I have hyperthyroidism! I was diagnosed back in January and have been slowly dealing with it since then. Every problem that I was having is a direct symptom of this condition which is when the thyroid gland is overactive and wreaks havoc on the body. Basically, my metabolism was in overdrive.

The whole point of this post is to get to the message behind Sophie's story which I attached above. Even though, for the first time in my life I was actually skinny, it didn't make me happy. I lost a huge amount of muscle in my upper body and upper legs which left me feeling spindly and unattractive. Why do we all think that being skinny will make us happy? I felt the sexiest right before I started to really lose the weight, when I was a bit muscly and feeling strong. It felt awesome to lift heavy weights and see the definition growing in my traps and deltoids. I liked not having to ask for help to lift a piece of furniture or a heavy suitcase into my car.

Now it is May and I am feeling so much better then I was a few months ago. I am back at the gym regularly and even though I don't fill in my gym clothes as well as I used to, I've put some weight back on and am working hard to build up my muscles again. It's so incredibly true that there should be women screaming in the streets telling all of these young skinny girls that skinny will not make them happy. Strong, capable and energetic will increase their endorphins a hell of a lot faster then squeezing into a size 0 jean will. For a short while I took this for granted and learned that skinny is not what I want or need to make me feel good about myself. Skinny might feel good for a day or so, but trying to live with it forever is just impossible to imagine.

My favourite part of Sophie's story is when she talks about how now when she walks by a mirror, she flexes instead of sucking in and feels her abs instead of her fat when she touches her mid section. She says it's embarrassing but I applaud her for sharing her story and for spreading the word. Oh, and I'm not gonna lie. When I'm at the gym, I'm checking out the girls with defined shoulders and round butts - not the breathless skinny flat girls on the elliptical. That just ain't sexy.


  1. This is very impressive post with every minute details mentioned and clearly expressed,great job.

    Gym in Mohali

  2. I love you and you are my hero. I'm glad you're getting healthy again! *mwah*

  3. The flip side to your illness is what I have. I have had Hashimotos disease since Graeme was born. Hypothyroidism is horrible. Constant fatigue, dry skin, flaky nails, weight gain, no matter what exercise you do or the types of food you eat. Are you on a medication? I have tried many different ones, even tried the compounds made from sheeps thyroid.I take two different types now. It is frustrating for sure. Glad you are feeling better!

  4. Yes, hyperthyroidism is quite common these days it seems. I have theories as to why this is (I think I wrote a blog about it actually) and it is a frustrating condition to have considering the horrible effects it has on the body. Yes, I am on medication and it seems to be helping more and more every day.