Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics, but I’ll never be “the skinniest” gal around…and I’m ok with that. (See definition below)
You can walk into any gym, store, church or school and find a lot of girls who weigh less and wear smaller clothes than me. This has bothered me in the past. After all, I am an aerobics instructor, right? I have exercised consistently for years and have focused on healthy eating for the same amount of time. Most people describe me as “fit” instead of “skinny” and while I don’t mind that, there is something about the word “skinny” that can turn your day upside down if someone describes you as so!
Earlier this week, I posted on my facebook page and asked you, if there was a difference between skinny and fit and if so, which would you prefer? Most of you came in saying that you wanted to be fit over skinny! The word “skinny” invokes a different feeling for everyone. Some of you may want to be called that. Some of you may hate it.
(Remember this though, some people are just naturally skinny. They aren’t trying to be this way (my husband would be one in this category). So we need to be careful that we aren’t judging a “skinny girl” as she may have no choice as to what God gave her! Which brings me to another point. Can one be skinny and fit? Hmmm. We had some discussion on that on the facebook page, but I’ll leave that to another blog…)
Here’s why Fit > Skinny to me:
♦ I’m a mom
I’m going out on a limb and say that I’m in the same–if not better–shape than I was in the years BEFORE I had kids. HOWEVER, my body is a different body. There is no way that my stomach will look exactly the same that it did pre-kids. My hips have changed, and my chest (ahem) has changed. Does this mean its’ bad or worse? No. It means that it’s just DIFFERENT and for me to compare to my life pre-kids is unfair.
♦ My natural body build
I am not a naturally skinny, tall, lanky build. I have always carried more muscle, even in high school, but this always served me well, as I was always an athlete! I’m 5’4″, so I don’t have a lot of room for “extra weight” to distribute. I will always have stronger/bigger thighs (that have problem fitting into skinny jeans!) and strong shoulders. I can choose to fight that fact, but why would I? God created me uniquely in this manner, so I am going to be the best I can be with what He gave me!
Here is a fun flashback to high school! This picture was from the track team, but I also played volleyball and basketball!
♦ It will serve me better as I age
Staying skinny–and by that, I’m implying little muscle–will be harder and harder to do the older you get. Your muscle mass decreases as you age. (I have a lot of women ask how to get rid of the “flabby” skin!) When I see women who are older who exercise (with weights) I think they look rockin’! A little tone on the body does wonders. And because I’ll have more muscle, it will be easier for me to fight off the weight that comes on most women as we age and the hormones go crazy!
Denise Austin is a perfect example of how Fit > Skinny. She is 55 and looks awesome!
♦ It’s easier to maintain
For me to lose muscle and bring myself to a build 10 pounds less than what I am would require a TON of work. It would require me to do cardio 6 days a week, eat none of the foods I love and not exercise the way I love to. So because of that, it would be super hard for me to do. Why would I do that to myself? And as I mentioned earlier, that won’t fare well for me as I age. I’ll keep the muscle, thank you very much.
♦ I like it
I personally have always preferred a toned looking body. There’s nothing wrong with the thin look, but it’s just my personal preference. I really admire the look, and hard work, that comes with getting those muscles!
♦ I want to set a positive example for young girls
The truth is, society thinks “skinny” looks good. Magazines, models and actresses are tall and thin. It’s not that common to see a gal with muscular legs and some nice shoulders gracing the covers of the magazines. However, I am seeing a new trend swinging through stating that strong, fit and healthy is better than skinny. I want to be a part of that. I want my daughter and her friends to see a mom who is confident in the build that God gave them. It breaks my heart to hear of high school girls who are working so hard to ward off big thighs or broad shoulders. We need more people living a “fit” life and I want to be included in that group!
So, what are your thoughts? Have you struggled with not being skinny? Are you naturally skinny and want to be fit? How much of this discussion is just a semantics thing? I would love to hear what you think!
I love Denise Austin!!! Such a fitness inspiration.
I just wish I could afford the fake tan, professional makeup and hair styling she has.
Ha! I will say a fake tan and great hair never hurts a look!!
Claire, I just love you and what your doing here! At 44, I’m rebuilding my muscle after wrecking my metabolism from dieting. I’m working so so hard and not seeing a whole lot of physical result, yet I’m getting stronger. To me, strong is the new skinny! I want to be fit and healthy and feel great about what my body can do. My pouch from my babies is part of my history, and I’m learning to get ok with that. I love a flat tummy, but I love my kids more. 🙂
I’m sooooo with you on this one. My belly still has the pooch, but I’ve slowly been able to learn to be ok with it. Especially after watching so many of my friends struggle with infertility…my kids are a blessing that I’m grateful to have been allowed the privilege of carrying them while God stitched them together.
I have never been skinny and I will never be skinny. I am just now (at the age of 34) beginning to understand and accept my body type. I am very much a pear shape figure and I hate the fact that skinny jeans are in style right now. Ha!
This is a great and timely article! What a shame that most women are caught in the trap of comparing ourselves to other women and as a result “hating” our own bodies; bodies that God has blessed us with and that are amazing works of His no matter what our build is! The enemy has us in bondage! We should do our best to keep ourselves healthy and well as that is just good stewardship. But we need to stop beating ourselves up and abusing our bodies in the various ways that we do. We do need to set a better example to the next generation! I do not wish my grandaughters to suffer from this curse throughout their lifetime! God has much better things for us to do for His Kingdom than to continually focus and get sidetracked on being skinny and having self-loathing issues! Great job Claire! Kelly
I totally agree Clare! I would take being fit to being skinny any day and I am sorry to say that I spent a good portion of my life wishing that I was skinny but not taking any initiative to actually become fit and healthy. Anyway, I want to be a good example for my daughter of a healthy and fit, well-balanced mom so that is the path that I am on now.
I do the exercises that I enjoy and work for me and eat food that properly fuels my body while also allowing some splurges here and there because that makes me happy and allows me to stay at the weight and body shape that I want. God blessed me with long legs that I use to now run 4.5 miles at a time and that is a huge accomplishment for me! Embracing the body that God gave me has made a huge difference in my life and I want my children to see exercise as a fun time and not something to be dreaded.
Clare, Amen to this post! Thank you so much! We really do need to spread the message to our daughters that fit > skinny. My daughter is 8 and already, I try to stress to her that I run so I can be fit and healthy, not necessarily to lose weight (that’s just an added perk!).
Thats awesome clare!! I think you look so great and so healthy and really hot:)! Its tough growing up super skinny naturally and then losing that ease as you get older and Im finding that I have to fight that desire to be “skinny” again a lot and not resent my pregnancies for making me this way lol(Im kidding about the pregnancy)…really I just miss that flat belly!!lol Anyways I am going to have to learn to accept my body is not going back to a 0/2 and focus on having a healthy strong body that carried and sustained life and will continue to serve me, my family, and God well:)
I agree that strong,healthy and fit should be every women’s focus. I think what happens is that most of us are focused on a certain weight that we were or should be at, but as we age different factors come into play:
1) Kids… We love them but they do change our bodies and we should accept that fact.
2) Metabolism… Our metabolism slows down a little so our way of eating (and notice I don’t use the word diet) needs to change a little to eating more lean and green. Practicing the 80/20 works best for me. 80% of the time we are eating really good and 20% of the time we will have the glass of wine or the chocolate 🙂
3) Muscle weigh more than fat! so becoming stronger and fitter might not change the scale but will surely change the way we feel and the way we fit in our clothes…
The most important thing I think is to treat our body like a temple. God gave us a beautiful “machine” that needs good fuel, exercise and good sleep to function well; we should treat it well inside and out…
Fit and healthy is the way to go!
At 5′ 2 1/2″ I have to be mindful of my weight. I also have an X figure and prefer to be on the slimmer side or I look too curvy for my preference. However, at a certain age I’ve found that a little extra weight looks better on me as it plumps up the facial wrinkles! Since starting strength training in January of this year, I’m really happy with the muscle definition I see. I’ve been running for quite a while but adding weights to my weekly workouts has had a big payoff. My husband likes it, too.
I love this Clare, I’ve struggled all my adult life to be “skinny”. After kids your body definitley changes. Growing up I was skinny, not fit! I was believing the lies of the world that skinny is in. But my new outlook on this is to be healthy and fit. I’m ok with the body God has given me and the changes it has gone through. I’m blessed with it now and I want to glorify Him through it. Alot of people might see me now as being skinny, and I would disagree because in my eyes I’m not. So i am working on being fit and healthy and being fit is the new skinny for me. I have done alot of fad diets and got to a weight I thought I was comfortable with. But it was extreme to get to that weight and it just didn’t work for me. I wasn’t doing any exercise at that time too. I think exercising and eating healthy, in moderation, is the way to go. Thanks for sharing this! God Bless you sis!
I struggle with my shape at age 57. In my younger years I was 100 pds or less, in my 40’s I averaged around 135-138 at five foot that is still over, but I feel good. Now I am pushing 150 and still feel good but need to lose. I don’t want to be a skinny senior to me they don’t look good, I wouldn’t want to be a fat one either. Just a bit of moderation is the key. (and weight watchers)
Menopause and the 50’s age group sure didn’t help me.
Hi, Clare. Thanks so much for this post. I am 55 and have been working to correct many years of inactivity and not so great eating habits. I am priviledged to have a personal trainer to help me, and I actually got my husband to join me. In the last two years I have lost 20 lbs. and kept it off, and lost lots of inches. I look like myself again. But I have Ben stuck now for a long time, not losing any more of the fat at my waist or in my hips ( I guess I may have 10-15 more lbs to go, allowing perhaps 10 for all the muscle I’ve gained). I am working really hard, and I know it is a great benefit to my health, whether or not I lose any more weight, but honestly, that’s what’s really important to me, and my main motivation. I find that I’m getting discouraged, and if it were not for my wonderful trainer, I’m afraid I might quit. I know God sees me as His beautiful princess, beloved by Him and precious. But how do I get what’s in my head to be in my heart? For real? love your exercise videos, and if I looked as great as you, I’d be satisfied!
Clare, My mantra has always been to be “fit at fifty and sexy at sixty”…well a year ago colon cancer took me by surprise. So I kept on working out after surgery and after each chemo treatment. Staying “fit” through all of it was what got me through. I am thankful I wasn’t skinny as after treatments I would have been “fragile” instead I was strong and stayed stonger and am now CFREE and stonger than ever….now all that matters is being fit and just alittle sexier!
We never know what each new day brings, so we need to take care to be “fit for anything”…mentally, physically or spiritually!
Thanks for your blog, enjoy it
Not sure what thighs you are referring to LOL but I hear ya. I can get caught up on weight and vanity things, but really I want to be fit! I want to set an example of hard work for my sons and their future wives.
But I think you’re skinny too but in a fit way LOL