I’ve been itching to write about this topic for quite a while now but have been putting it off until I felt the urge to get my message out again.
There is a such a hype on social media about being “Strong not Skinny” which is a wonderful thing to see that shift in young women thriving for strength and fitness over next to nothing diets and endless cardio, but I wanted to talk a little about what being strong really means to me.
At the age of 26, I would consider myself a strong woman. To look at me, you may think otherwise. I am not the typical Instagram girl that you see in the health and fitness community; I don’t have huge ‘booty gains’, nor do I have enviable quads or abs, I don’t even have particularly sculpted arms. But recently I have come to appreciate just how much more I am than a transformation photo or ‘good vs bad’ lighting/posture trend.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to witness a beautiful event with Missfits Nutrition and Phelan Well on the topic of Self Love and Body Confidence. It was a panel event with a group of wonderful women in the wellness
scene with honest stories and a truly magical feeling and got me thinking about just how fortunate I am to be a healthy and active woman. It pushed me to think about what I truly love about myself.
For most of my life, it has been frowned upon to love yourself, to think of yourself highly, to be vain. It’s viewed negatively to shout about your achievements and big yourself up. It’s made so easy for us to focus on the things we dislike about ourselves, to compare ourselves to others, particularly those we view on social media through a snapshot of their hyper reality which comes across so perfectly. The event allowed me to focus on what I love about myself, and one of the things is my strength.
Physically, I am a strong girl. I may not be able to deadlift 100kg, but my body can get through a hell of a lot. Last month I was on holiday in the Lake District with my family. We were due to spend one day mountain biking in a National Park, which I had never ever done before but I was set to challenge myself and see if I could do it. When realising I was the only girl in a group of 8 of my male family members (all older than me), I almost chickened out to take the easy biking route, but instead, I shoved a Pip and Nut squeeze packet in my face and tried not to think just how hard the next 4 hours might be. Now I’m a big lover of doing new things and challenging yourself and I can honestly say that day was one of my favourite days ever! Now here goes the self love… I absolutely kicked ass that day- so much so that my uncle told me just how impressed he was with me. The route took us through forests, soggy moors (seriously so much water), mountains and waterfalls and it was so epic! I’m pretty sure I was half petrified the entire time and absolutely exhausted by the end of it, but it was just brilliant and I am beyond proud of myself for doing it.
That day I was pretty damn proud of my body, of my strength, of how far my body has come in a few short years. To be able to keep up with my brothers and cousins and to feel in my body just how strong I am is just a wonderful feeling. I have a lot of days where I feel extremely down about my body image. Days where I look in the mirror and focus on the negatives (I am a human being after all) but overall I feel pretty confident in my own skin and in the person I have become. I exercise because it makes me feel good more than anything else. I challenge myself to silly yoga poses because I want to see what my strong body can endure. I eat food (a lot of it) and never turn it down because it makes me feel just as amazing as a sweaty workout and fuels my body so that I can continue to be strong.
So if you don’t have that transformation photo that gives you gratification that you’re on the right path, if you don’t have an enviable instgrammable body (what is that anyway), then just remember that you are so much more than your exterior. You should be body confident for you and only you. Be strong for you and find what things you’re absolutely kick ass at because that is the magic behind it all. Not for the “strong not skinny”, not for anything else but feeling good in yourself. So go and love yo’self!