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Against All Odds, I Did Not Register For The Open

(Written in the middle of the 2013 Open)

Every day it seems, there is a new article about someone who, against all odds, registered for the Open.

This year, I did not register for the Open.  And while there may be a million reasons I “should have”, for someone who hasn’t done anything ever, it seems without an announcement on Facebook, allowing this scary experience to be personal and kind of private (for my standards) was the right choice. Until now.

facebook

I am really hard on myself. I set up standards I often can’t meet.  I think most of us reading this are like that.

It’s much easier to beat myself up, feel bad about my performance and compare myself to the person who did a little better, than it is to be HAPPY with what I have accomplished.

YouSuck

And this year, I have accomplished the impossible. I finally listened to my injured body, stopped beating myself up with constant rounds for time on an inherently unstable platform – me – and worked on strength and Oly.  I stopped pushing for the clock and instead worked on skills, technique and heavy lifts in small doses with lots of rest in between. I got healthy. I got strong.  I got stable.

And coincidentally, I was ready to come back to CrossFit at the exact time of the Open.

the open

When it was time to register, the internal pressure to click on the screen and send in my $20 was tremendous.  EVERYONE was doing it.  Pregnant women, people with missing limbs, people who have overcome the impossible and Goddammit, registered for the Open.  What, you will not be on the Leaderboard?  You will be absent from the public eye? You will not participate in this thing you love for the world to see?

The new, healthy voice inside spoke loudly. ” Do not make your scores part of the public conversation”  it implored!  Not because I care what you think.   Because I am my worst enemy and would  be tempted to compare myself again, or still, to others by unreasonable standards.   My default position would be,  “Hey self, you haven’t trained for CrossFit in 8 months, but why did you suck so bad at that WOD?  What is WRONG with you”?

I needed to force myself out of the leaderboard and grow up.  The challenge at this time of intense, shared, public celebration of performance  is to  understand what it feels like to be healthy, and know when to stop, regardless of the clock or the rabbit I am chasing.

The good news is that in week four I have completed each Open WOD and No pain! Anywhere!  No problems! It is the first time in almost four years I feel this great!

strong

So if you are one or ten people out there who didn’t “register for the Open against all odds”, and you are quietly celebrating a personal success, or feeling awful because you are injured and cannot  -  It’s Ok.   Sometimes, our most important goals are emotional,  have to do with personal growth, and simply cannot be measured by a score on the board.

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Dear Facebook. We Are Breaking Up.

If you love something, set it free.

It was a bad time.  I had been single for over a year in a small town. I loved my small town but my town did not love me.  I had the constant feeling of being too much. Too loud, expressive, intense, needy.  I didn’t feel funny, fun, or inspired.  I felt like I was walking around banging tambourines while everyone else was chillin with a joint or staring out at me from a quieter, far less intense place.

I was lonely.

When I met you I was not impressed.  I didn’t understand you.  But with a commitment to keeping  an open mind to new experiences, I began to spend time with you.  First in little bits, like having short chats over an espresso at Starbucks.  You wanted to connect with my long ago highschool memories, bring up old friends and acquaintances.  Really, I wasn’t interested.

Then came CrossFit.

As my passion for CrossFit ignited, it seemed that overnight our connection exploded into a fiery colorful ball of giddy, creative energy.  All of a sudden, it seemed, we shared something we were both discovering yet already deeply loved.

As I spent more time with you, I came to realize that you got me.  You GOT me. You and only you understood my high energy, my need for intensity, my love of being positive and expressing myself with glee.

Mostly, and shockingly, you thought I was funny.  You laughed at my humor, appreciated my sarcasm, encouraged me to express myself and happily countered my strong opinions with strong opinions of your own.

And we laughed.  We laughed from early morning until late in the night.  We were in love with our experience together and shared the need to make fun of it, and ourselves, for the sake of pure, glorious laughter.

You got me.

Where before I felt insecure and afraid to express myself, now I felt inspired.  Every day new ideas for fun spontaneously erupted.  First were the Internet Dating Stories of the Day.  Then, CouchFitt and Cougar CouchFittAnd the Cubbies. Oh, the Cubbies.  And who would have ever dreamed of the Cougie Amanpurr videos?

On a more serious note we did the Deadlifts and Dresses Calendar together. And we went through surgery and healed our injuries together.

Hop. Hop. Hop.

By posting an endless stream of pictures – of myself of course – and, well, sometimes of other people -we brought out the creativity in each other and inspired others to do the same.

But most important, each and every day, we spontaneously discussed, explored, learned, shared our passions and disappointments, and laughed.  It was an addictive and glorious time.

We celebrated our highest and lowest moments together.

I will always love you for that.

But, dear Facebook, it’s over.

We both know that some relationships are just not meant to last forever.  We have become stagnant, mundane and let’s face it, boring.  It has been this way for a long, long time. I have found myself hanging on rather than having the courage to break free.

Until now.  I am not saying we can’t ever speak.  We will always love each other and be there for each other. I know that.  But for the time being, it is better for both of us if I take the initiative to say – Adieu.

After posting just this one more picture. 

Of me. 

Without you Facebook, I could have never expressed the narcissist within.

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Navigating through Menopause

 

My name is Deborah Divers.  I am a Fiancé, Mom, Auntie, Avid Crossfitter, Foodie and Nutritionist.   I have a passion for the science of nutrition, which began in college.  For 12 years,  I worked as a Registered Dietitian in the hospital.

 

As my kids got older, I made the decision to be a stay-at-home-Mom.  Even though I did not work in the hospital, I continued to study nutrition.   For the past 20+ years I’ve studied nutrition, homeopathy, and various holistic therapies.   I have been fortunate to find significantly skilled and trained practitioners who have taken the time to teach me some of what they know.  Following a more holistic approach to health has lead me to therapies that have significantly improved my health, and also the health of my loved ones.

 

A few years ago, even with all of my education and training, my health was declining.  I was eating what I considered “healthy”,  I was active, but not on a regular basis.  I had become out of balance, too much focus on working and not enough on my diet and fitness.

 

A Time For  Change

 

I made the decision to get myself back into shape and  headed to the gym.  At the age of 55, I started working out at Crossfit Olympia.  I weighed 220 pounds.  My blood pressure was running 140/90 (elevated) and my bone density scan results showed osteopenia (the beginning stage of osteoporosis).  So much for SAD!  (Standard American Diet).  Along with all of those changes, I was entering Peri-Menopause.  I was having mild hot flashes and noticed my ears ringing occasionally.

 

 

Enjoying my family and the food – Standard American Diet that I so believed in.  Overweight and health on the decline.

 

Crossfit Lead to Paleo

 

While I was making progress in my fitness and loving Crossfit, I had to admit that my diet needed an overhaul.   I will never forget the moment that I realized that I really did NOT know everything there was to know about nutrition!

 

I had several reasons for changing my diet; preventing kidney stones, reducing body fat, reversing the trend toward high blood pressure, a normal bone density scan and also decreasing the symptoms caused by menopause.

 

After 2 years of Crossfit (3 times a week), I was turning the trend toward poor health to a much healthier lifestyle.   My bone density scan had dramatically improved, only 2 small areas of bone thinning.   My blood pressure was coming down, (130/85 and 140/80) but was still not down to normal.  I had lost 20 pounds and was feeling SO much better physically and emotionally.  There is NO better feeling than being one with the iron!!  However, I was still overweight and suffering from night sweats.

 

Menopause Symptoms Evolve

 

Menopause symptoms continued, but when the hot flashes occurred at night waking me up 5 or 6 times,  it was time to do some research and figure out what I could do to ease me through this time of transition.  Menopause is a natural process, but why didn’t I know a SINGLE thing about it?

 

 

Getting my Pullups!

 

The Benefits of Eating Paleo

 

During my third year of Crossfit, I began doing Paleo challenges, and quickly realized how much better I was feeling.  After the first month of eating Paleo, my blood sugar was stabilizing and I wasn’t dragging food around with me everywhere I went.  I also started noticing a decrease in the frequency and intensity of the hot flashes.  But the night sweats continued.  My weight was staying the same, 200 pounds.  The best news was that my blood pressure readings were normal!  120/80.

 

One of the symptoms of Menopause is weight gain.  There is no question that choosing food from the Paleo guidelines has helped to keep me from gaining weight.  In fact, because of Paleo, I have trimmed down another 10 pounds (a total of 30 pounds down since starting Crossfit & Paleo).  When I get discouraged about the slow weight loss, I have to remind myself of where I would be without these changes!  I now weigh 190 pounds, and my goal weight is 165 pounds.

 

Weighing In

 

To reach my goal weight, I cut my alcohol intake from drinking red wine 3 to 4 nights a week, down to zero.   Once I stopped drinking alcohol, I realized what a big contributor alcohol made to the night sweats.  So, it’s a choice I make.  If I drink alcohol, it’s guaranteed, I will have night sweats.  Usually, my love of a good night sleep wins and I don’t have that glass of wine!

 

The other “tweak” to my diet during menopause is increasing my vegetables and decreasing my fruit intake.  I eliminated fruit juice  because of the affect the simple carbs have on blood sugar.  Fruit juice contains fructose, and very little fiber.  Drinking fruit juice is similar to drinking a sweetened soft drink as far as how quickly it enters our system.  When I do eat fruit, I have berries, which is closer to what our Paleolithic ancestors ate, according to what was in season.

 

Supplements I Use to Ease Menopause Symtptoms

 

For the past 6 months, I have been more consistently including omega 3 sources into my daily diet, fish oil, flaxseed, and more salmon.  A good reference on this topic is Mark’s Daily Apple:  http://www.marksdailyapple.com/omega-3-fish-oil-food-quantities/#axzz1pse9M13F

 

I have begun reading “Mastering Leptin” by Byron J. Richards, CCN.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Leptin-Energetic-Vitality-Prevention/dp/0972712100

 

I chose this book, to better understand the endocrine system and the role that leptin (referred to as the most powerful hormone in our bodies) plays in weight loss and also menopause.  I have identified that I  am “Leptin Resistant”, which is why I  struggle to lose weight during menopause.  I am learning the importance of balancing the “female” and “male” hormones, and made the choice to begin using Estriol, in a topical cream to support estrogen balance.  The subject of Estrogen is a big one.  To be brief, Estriol is one of the 3 types of Estrogen, referred to as “The protective Estrogen.” After using the cream for one month, my hot flashes have decreased to once per night, and the intensity has decreased dramatically.   I have ordered the topical Estriol online.

 

I found Estriol-Care made by Life-flo, the price is much lower than other brands I found.    You can find it online by Googling, or use this link to give you several purchase options:

 

http://www.bing.com/shopping/search?q=life-flo+estriol-care&qpvt=life-flo+estriol-care&FORM=HURE#x0y0

 

After using the Estriol cream, I then added Female Plus, an oral supplement.  This is an exerpt from the product description:  Female Plus™ is our most popular nutrient support to help naturally balance female hormones.* It supports the synergistic function of the brain, adrenals, and ovaries.* It does not contain phytoestrogenic herbs (soy, black cohosh, red clover, etc.), which are

 

I have taken this supplement for about 6 weeks now.  The night sweats sometimes do not occur at all……nice trend!   I have more stamina again.  The mood swings, fuzzy thinking and anxiety, well…..they are about the same, which is o.k., these are minor symptoms for me.

 

Adrenal Fatigue

 

Adrenal support is something we also need to consider.  When the ovaries slow down their production of estrogen and progesterone, the adrenal glands need to compensate during menopause.  Many of us have active lifestyles, balancing careers, family, workouts…..need I say more?  Pushing ourselves day after day, and relying on adrenaline to keep going, over time wreaks havoc with our adrenal glands.  One of the signs that you might be experiencing low adrenal function is significant fatigue in the morning.

 

Adrenal Support is a topic all its own and to do a decent job, should be a separate blog.  I will write more on that topic in a future post.

 

It is exciting to open up a forum for discussion and share our common experiences, especially when you, the reader, have found something that has helped you to deal with the symptoms.  I hope you’ll share your thoughts and stories on not only coping with menopause, but about embracing this time in our lives!

 

I’ll be back with more information on this topic.  Until then…..Stay Strong!

 

 

Happier & Healthier!

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Navigating Through Menopause – by Deb Divers

My name is Deborah Divers.  I am a Fiancé, Mom, Auntie, Avid Crossfitter, Foodie and Nutritionist.   I have a passion for the science of nutrition, which began in college.  For 12 years,  I worked as a Registered Dietitian in the hospital.

As my kids got older, I made the decision to be a stay-at-home-Mom.  Even though I did not work in the hospital, I continued to study nutrition.   For the past 20+ years I’ve studied nutrition, homeopathy, and various holistic therapies.   I have been fortunate to find significantly skilled and trained practitioners who have taken the time to teach me some of what they know.  Following a more holistic approach to health has lead me to therapies that have significantly improved my health, and also the health of my loved ones.

A few years ago, even with all of my education and training, my health was declining.  I was eating what I considered “healthy”,  I was active, but not on a regular basis.  I had become out of balance, too much focus on working and not enough on my diet and fitness.

A Time For  Change

I made the decision to get myself back into shape and  headed to the gym.  At the age of 55, I started working out at Crossfit Olympia.  I weighed 220 pounds.  My blood pressure was running 140/90 (elevated) and my bone density scan results showed osteopenia (the beginning stage of osteoporosis).  So much for SAD!  (Standard American Diet).  Along with all of those changes, I was entering Peri-Menopause.  I was having mild hot flashes and noticed my ears ringing occasionally.

Enjoying my family and the food – Standard American Diet that I so believed in.  Overweight and health on the decline.

Crossfit Lead to Paleo

While I was making progress in my fitness and loving Crossfit, I had to admit that my diet needed an overhaul.   I will never forget the moment that I realized that I really did NOT know everything there was to know about nutrition!

I had several reasons for changing my diet; preventing kidney stones, reducing body fat, reversing the trend toward high blood pressure, a normal bone density scan and also decreasing the symptoms caused by menopause.

After 2 years of Crossfit (3 times a week), I was turning the trend toward poor health to a much healthier lifestyle.   My bone density scan had dramatically improved, only 2 small areas of bone thinning.   My blood pressure was coming down, (130/85 and 140/80) but was still not down to normal.  I had lost 20 pounds and was feeling SO much better physically and emotionally.  There is NO better feeling than being one with the iron!!  However, I was still overweight and suffering from night sweats.

Menopause Symptoms Evolve

Menopause symptoms continued, but when the hot flashes occurred at nightwaking me up 5 or 6 times,  it was time to do some research and figure out what I could do to ease me through this time of transition.  Menopause is a natural process, but why didn’t I know a SINGLE thing about it?

Getting my Pullups!

The Benefits of Eating Paleo

During my third year of Crossfit, I began doing Paleo challenges, and quickly realized how much better I was feeling.  After the first month of eating Paleo, my blood sugar was stabilizing and I wasn’t dragging food around with me everywhere I went.  I also started noticing a decrease in the frequency and intensity of the hot flashes.  But the night sweats continued.  My weight was staying the same, 200 pounds.  The best news was that my blood pressure readings were normal!  120/80.

One of the symptoms of Menopause is weight gain.  There is no question that choosing food from the Paleo guidelines has helped to keep me from gaining weight.  In fact, because of Paleo, I have trimmed down another 10 pounds (a total of 30 pounds down since starting Crossfit & Paleo).  When I get discouraged about the slow weight loss, I have to remind myself of where I would be without these changes!  I now weigh 190 pounds, and my goal weight is 165 pounds.

Weighing In

To reach my goal weight, I cut my alcohol intake from drinking red wine 3 to 4 nights a week, down to zero.   Once I stopped drinking alcohol, I realized what a big contributor alcohol made to the night sweats.  So, it’s a choice I make.  If I drink alcohol, it’s guaranteed, I will have night sweats.  Usually, my love of a good night sleep wins and I don’t have that glass of wine!

The other “tweak” to my diet during menopause is increasing my vegetables and decreasing my fruit intake.  I eliminated fruit juice  because of the affect the simple carbs have on blood sugar.  Fruit juice contains fructose, and very little fiber.  Drinking fruit juice is similar to drinking a sweetened soft drink as far as how quickly it enters our system.  When I do eat fruit, I have berries, which is closer to what our Paleolithic ancestors ate, according to what was in season.

Supplements I Use to Ease Menopause Symtptoms

For the past 6 months, I have been more consistently including omega 3 sources into my daily diet, fish oil, flaxseed, and more salmon.  A good reference on this topic is Mark’s Daily Apple:  http://www.marksdailyapple.com/omega-3-fish-oil-food-quantities/#axzz1pse9M13F

I have begun reading “Mastering Leptin” by Byron J. Richards, CCN.

http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Leptin-Energetic-Vitality-Prevention/dp/0972712100

I chose this book, to better understand the endocrine system and the role that leptin (referred to as the most powerful hormone in our bodies) plays in weight loss and also menopause.  I have identified that I  am “Leptin Resistant”, which is why I  struggle to lose weight during menopause.  I am learning the importance of balancing the “female” and “male” hormones, and made the choice to begin using Estriol, in a topical cream to support estrogen balance.  The subject of Estrogen is a big one.  To be brief, Estriol is one of the 3 types of Estrogen, referred to as “The protective Estrogen.” After using the cream for one month, my hot flashes have decreased to once per night, and the intensity has decreased dramatically.   I have ordered the topical Estriol online.

I found Estriol-Care made by Life-flo, the price is much lower than other brands I found.    You can find it online by Googling, or use this link to give you several purchase options:

http://www.bing.com/shopping/search?q=life-flo+estriol-care&qpvt=life-flo+estriol-care&FORM=HURE#x0y0

After using the Estriol cream, I then added Female Plus, an oral supplement.  This is an exerpt from the product description:  Female Plus™ is our most popular nutrient support to help naturally balance female hormones.* It supports the synergistic function of the brain, adrenals, and ovaries.* It does not contain phytoestrogenic herbs (soy, black cohosh, red clover, etc.), which are

I have taken this supplement for about 6 weeks now.  The night sweats sometimes do not occur at all……nice trend!   I have more stamina again.  The mood swings, fuzzy thinking and anxiety, well…..they are about the same, which is o.k., these are minor symptoms for me.

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal support is something we also need to consider.  When the ovaries slow down their production of estrogen and progesterone, the adrenal glands need to compensate during menopause.  Many of us have active lifestyles, balancing careers, family, workouts…..need I say more?  Pushing ourselves day after day, and relying on adrenaline to keep going, over time wreaks havoc with our adrenal glands.  One of the signs that you might be experiencing low adrenal function is significant fatigue in the morning.

Adrenal Support is a topic all its own and to do a decent job, should be a separate blog.  I will write more on that topic in a future post.

It is exciting to open up a forum for discussion and share our common experiences, especially when you, the reader, have found something that has helped you to deal with the symptoms.  I hope you’ll share your thoughts and stories on not only coping with menopause, but about embracing this time in our lives!

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Mini Challenge Anyone?

Mini Challenge??

Mini challenge?  PHhhhhhffffttt!!! 5 days is nothing! Come on, that’s not even a week!!!

And that’s exactly right.  I have been thinking about this for a while and put my theory to the test a few times  recently with a group of people.

Many of us have been Paleo for a while.  It’s what we do.  Or we say we are paleo/clean.  Our norm allows for creamer, a little stevia, bacon,  dark chocolate, maybe greek yogurt and other teensy questionable bits on a regular basis.  This is comfortable.  After all, everything else you eat is on the up and up.

The Truth.

But if you wrote down all those nibbles, sips and allowances for a week or logged them, what would the picture really look like?  Time to get honest with yourself.

5 days? Easy Peasy!!

Time and again you hear folks lament how they eat and drink clean, but can’t figure our why their general health, appearance or weight loss  isn’t happening.   I know why.  They haven’t looked in the mirror.  They haven’t decided to be 100% accountable.

5 Days

So here is where the 5 day challenge comes in.  Five days is doable.  It’s not nearly as daunting as 30.  And nope, it’s not even a full week.  It’s five days, to prep plan and get on the right track to clean.  A real, honest, super strict college try.

And guess what happens every time?  You not only succeed, but you CONTINUE past the 5 days…. WILLINGLY.  And …. shocker….. you start to see results again, feel the changes in energy and general well being.  And BONUS, BONUS, BONUS….. you may even decide some of those little allowances aren’t worth it anymore!!  Who’da thunk it?

So next time you find yourself stalled …. think 5 DAYS!!!  Or join us over on the “Eat Clean” page on Facebook.  After all, those 5 days can be a gateway to HUGE changes.

Aren’t you worth it? :)

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Stop Being Full of Shit When You Celebrate Strong.

This is part II of “Strong is my Victory over the Skinny Word” rant.

** And another disclaimer at the bottom of the page***

I inhabit a community that celebrates getting and being strong. It’s a radical departure from inhabiting a world that idolizes eliminating oneself to the body size of Skinny.

Getting Strong

My Community proclaims that our goals are building strength, getting fit and being healthy.  We don’t care about scale weight, we care about building muscle and pushing daily to our personal best!

We don’t crow about the weight we lose.  We ecstatically post the amount of weight we ADD – to our squats, lifts, presses, cleans and jerks.

And some of us  celebrate the growing of bigger body parts as a good thing.

How cool is that?

Lift Big Eat Big - Squats do a Booty Good

Here’s my problem. 

My Community is Completely Full of Shit.

Every time I open my Facebook page or popular pages that celebrate “Strong” or  Google CrossFit Women or go to Pinterest, I am bombarded with a stream of pictures of muscled women scrawled with motivational sayings.  You know the ones.

SkinnyStrong is the New Perfect? WTF. Did I not get that memo?

Why the hell is every single “motivational” picture an image of a woman who is SkinnyStrong – a muscular chick with like 8% bodyfat and a killer six pack?

Why is every message proclaiming that it’s about being STRONG, and assuring me that it’s all about my determination to do better, be my best  yes I can  – pasted on some chick who is clearly a fitness model, a figure competitor, or belongs to that elusive 1% of women who have THAT kind of body?

And why is our supposed new breed of CrossFit women, you know, the ones who reject the focus on the body image thing to redefine the whole Strong is Beautiful thing, posting them?

I Am Not That Kind of Strong. I am RealStrong.

See, I am strong. I have worked hard to get stronger and am still at it.   I am healthy, fit, and I’m hot.  Yes, I just said that.

And guess what? I don’t have abs.  I am not perfectly proportioned or perfectly lean.  I’m not perfect in any way. You can see real parts of me jiggle!

I'm strong. But I'm kind of spazzy, not perfectly proportioned and I still jiggle.

This is My World of RealStrong

Moreover, I know a shit ton of people who embody strong, fierce, successful, and over the top awesome who may not have the muscles I do, (I was a tomboy, I’ve had muscles all my life) but they can kick my ass in seventeen different categories.

Most important, I know people who embody what to me is the true meaning of Strong.  Maybe they are cancer survivors training their hearts out, maybe they lost 200 pounds to be healthy for themselves and their kids.

Or maybe they are people like you and me pushing to our maximum capacity every day, redefining our personal limits, exceeding our goals, outshining our own expectations -

  – and are outrageously sexy just because of that.  Not because of abs and body proportions.  But because of a lifestyle of Strong that is all about attitude, achievement, health and sharing it.

Strong is an Attitude and it is Sexy, Beyatch.

This is the RealStrong Challenge.

realstrong facebook page

We are living at a time when we who love strong are changing the world.  So let’s do that.  Really Change the World.

Step off of the unconscious bandwagon of promoting SkinnyStrong is the New Perfect and THINK.  I just said that.  THINK.

What does Strong really mean to you?  Who is Strong?  And Create it. Yes You.  Create a different kind of Strong with me. I’m calling it RealStrong.  

RealStrong is Passion, Dedication, Relentlessness and Positive Energy. 

RealStrong is seen in the eyes, the smile and shines from the soul.

Not the abs.

It is me. It is you. And Grandma.

 (RealStrong is also totally equal opportunity and happily includes people with killer abs and 8% bodyfat).

The Call to Action

If this speaks to you in that motivational way – even for a second before you leave and go to your nonfacebooky real world – take a minute, go to the RealStrong Page on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and like them. Share this and all those pages with everyone you know and start creating our RealStrong world. 

RealStrong Facebook Page. Like It.

Post pictures of yourself, of real people you know, and say something uncool like – that fat chick over there motivates me because she is hammering that workout!

That chick over there, yeah, thunder thighs over there, just deadlifted 300 lbs.  She happens to have 3 kids.  That is HOT.

Make RealStrong the sexiest, bestest  positive thing ever for people like you and me who shine our strength from our hearts, want to share that, and are saying NO to the SkinnyStrong is the New Perfect bullshit that repeats the body image crap we say we have overcome.

But obviously haven’t.

____________________________________________

**Disclaimer.  I am not saying that SkinnyStrong women have it easy, do not work hard or are not a representation of Strong.  Some of my best friends are SkinnyStrong (for real!) and they motivate and empower me through their dedication.  What I’m saying, if it was unclear in the rant, is that I don’t get why our community is using  only one bodytype – SkinnyStrong – to represent the beauty of strong, in the same way the rest of the world uses Skinny to represent beautiful. We are better than that.

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My Strong is My Victory over the Skinny Word

****** read this disclaimer below please ******

Growing up in a world of Skinny

I reached puberty in the 70s.  The females who were hot, sexy, gorgeous and desired were Charlie’s Angels, Wonder Woman, later Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista and hundreds of actresses and supermodels who looked like heroine junkies.

Charlie's Angels. Skinny.

They were skinny.

I, on the other hand, was not Skinny.

As a young girl I was a round little butterball tomboy. OK, I was fat.

Eileen is round. Not skinny.

At age 11 I hit a growth spurt and slimmed out. I sprouted long legs and a figure that started attracting whistles from construction guys twice my age. I had always been an athlete. I had muscles. But still, I was not skinny.

Skinny, you see, was the thing I could never achieve. It was the size 0 models on TV and saturating the magazines.

They were not thin. They were Skinny.  Sticklike and very frail, and you could see their bones. They looked  almost skeleton-like without the magic of a camera. Their thighs never touched. Their diet, it seemed, was a salad and a gram of coke. Or, they had the coveted 36-24-36 Playboy hourglass figure, still with flat tummies and no bodyfat.

Linda and Kate are Skinny

I had belly flab, no waistline and muscle. You couldn’t see any of my bones.

In real life, Skinny was the really popular girls in highschool who wore a size 0- 3 while I, stumbling along in that dangerous zone of popular-ish, was struggling to get into my 7s and 9s.

 

Prom Nite. I hated myself for being fat.

So I wore 7s and 9s. I wasn’t fat! But as a hardcore food addict, binge eater and severe food and body image neurotic, I compared myself daily to all this Skinny and in my own mind I came up FAT. Repulsive. Disgusting.

Even though I was an athletic tennis player, weight trainer and runner, I spent every single day of my life hating myself for not being Skinny. This is true.  I spent every single day of my life, into my 30s, hating myself for not being that very word.

Skinny.

I obviously have issues. I’m putting them out here. I take complete responsibility for my stuff and am not a victim. But I think other women relate.

Being a Grown Up

As an adult, it has been a long and excruciating journey to learn how to eat right, stay fit and most important, love my body. While the journey started at age 11, feelings of self acceptance and self love, and the ability to let go of ridiculously destructive eating habits and body image problems have only solidified in the last three years. I’m 48.

CrossFit and Paleo.

The very worst moment of Before: chasing the ups and downs of trying to be Skinny. After: Loving the ups and downs of training and the barbell.

In this new found state of physical fitness and (very imperfect) self love, I am strong. Not the strongest by any stretch. But I can throw around a bunch of weight and I have a lot of muscles.

I’m strong! And I love it!

Today, even my dog loves being Strong.

The Question

So why would I want to proclaim that my gorgeous, delicious, healthy state of STRONG is the new Skinny – the new state of something I could never achieve, the new state of something that always hung over me as a source of complete, soul wrenching torment?

Why would I proclaim that this strong, fit, healthy muscled body of mine is the new something that is so patently, wholly unhealthy, unattractive, unattainable by almost all of us, and represents eating habits and lifestyles I know to be almost lethal?

Honestly, why would I want ANYTHING I celebrate as positive and beautiful to be the new Skinny?

My Answer

For me, Strong stands alone – glorious and beautiful – achievable by any woman, no matter if she wears a size 1 or 18, whether her bodyfat is 35% or 10%, or whether she has any other athletic abilities.

Strong is a healthy state of emotional, physical and spiritual being that celebrates working for and achieving your own personal best – whatever it is.

It is not a reflection of body size.

So whether my thoughts about this resonate with only two of you, or two thousand of you, or make me highly unpopular, I stand here as a woman whose happy, healthy state of strong is sexy, savage, and outrageously satisfying on it’s own. 

Especially because living  in this state of Strong and sharing this celebration of Strong with so many other women feels like Victory: heady, hard earned personal freedom from the negative, unhealthy chains of that awful other S word.

Serena Williams. Strong is Beautiful.

If you like this post or if it resonates with you,  please share!

***This post is a personal reflection on my relationship to the word skinny and is obviously prompted by the phrase ‘Strong is the New Skinny”. It is not, repeat, not, a criticism, attack or challenge to the SINS movement or its creators, who continue to grow by leaps and bounds their profound, amazing, positive impact on tens of thousands of people worldwide.  I’m dead serious about this.   Please view it as a personal celebration of Strong, a personal rejection of the word skinny, and that’s it. *******

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