Gone are the days when super-skinny fashion models with “thigh gap” and visible ribs, had the most idolised figures. Now, it is about having a body which is healthy and capable of taking you where you want to go.
The fact is, being skinny doesn’t necessarily equate to being healthy. Find out why ‘strong’ is better than ‘slim’ any day.
Skinny can be impossible to achieve in a healthy way
Some people are naturally thin, however, that rail-thin figure just isn’t going to happen for a lot of us. We could have a naturally muscular build, or carry more weight in certain parts of our body.
Striving to achieve a build which is a million light years away from your own can lead to dangerous eating and exercise obsessions and many other unhealthy choices. This can affect you in a negative way mentally as well as physically.
It’s fine to set a goal of losing a few kilos or fitting into the next size down of clothes but working towards being “skinny” can be detrimental to your health.
Being fit means you’re giving your body the food it needs
Often, working towards being ‘skinny’ means restricting calories, cutting out carbs and other entire food groups like dairy or grains. Again, this can cause health issues as you could end up denying your body some of its basic nutritional needs.
When you think about being ‘strong’, you’re more calculated about what you eat but you are focused on the right balance of nutrients to help you achieve more, it’s not about just eating less. This includes having a basic understanding about healthy carbs, proteins and fate. Eg. Eating slow-burning carbs, plenty of protein-packed nuts, a rainbow of fresh veg, good fats in avocados, olive or coconut oil and the right amount of meat for your body.
Being skinny might mean you look amazing in a swimsuit, but do you have the confidence to try surfing for the first time or attempt a backflip, squat with weights or go rock-climbing?
Forget skinny and set yourself goals like being fit enough to race your kids, give roller derby a crack, or kick your mates butt in the crossfit open.
Getting strong is lots of fun
Being on a diet is tiring, stressful and not a lot of fun. It doesn’t encourage you to make new friends, get out and try new things or work your way to natural-endorphin highs.
The best way to get strong is to join a like-minded community where you get support and have fun. In this scenario, you’re more likely to make positive changes that will feel easy and almost effortless You’ll feel like you’re really part of something and you’ll finish each training session with a smile on your face that lettuce simply can’t deliver (sorry, not sorry lettuce, you watery mouthful of sadness).
Scales are irrelevant
Life doesn’t have to be measured kilo by kilo when you are working towards being fit. Instead, you can work towards other goals like being about to lift a certain amount or finally doing a push-up, you’re better off doing measurements and photos.
When you’re obsessed with the scales on a daily basis, you’ll be disappointed by setbacks but the truth is everybody’s weight fluctuates from day to day due to a number of things, like extra salt in your diet, hormones, women, when you’re on your period, you can gain up to 3 kilos of fluid retention. So don’t get caught up on the numbers.
Track your progress at the gym and limit yourself to stepping on the scales every few weeks. Just remember that as well as losing fat, you’ll be gaining muscle, another reason to forget about your goal weight and turn your attention to enjoying your new, active lifestyle.
Like anything, it is always possible to have too much of a good thing. So focus on fitness but work with your coach to set realistic goals so you don’t injure yourself or put your body under too much pressure. Remember just as much of fitness is about the food you consume to fuel yourself. Be smart, don’t expect a miracle overnight. It’s about being consistent and most of all enjoying the journey.