August 22, 2011

[_________] is the New Skinny.

Photo: Scott Butner

Whatever happened to living our lives, listening to our bodies and living for more than being healthy and strong?

Over the past year I’ve noticed the phrase “________ is the new skinny” popping up all over the place. Perhaps fill in that blank with healthy, strong or beautiful.

Why do we need something to replace skinny?

We don’t.

We don’t need some other ideal to live up to or condemn those who may naturally be skinny and who perhaps don’t like to workout for hours a day.

Perhaps to physically appear as “strong” would be living a life that wasn’t truly authentic.

I get the point of those who are part of these movements, trying to shift a focus towards something that is deemed “healthier,” at least at first glance, but there is always more than meets the eye. Women (and men) who have well built physiques probably didn’t get that way unless they were working out for hours a day and eating diets of consisting mostly of protein shakes, chicken, asparagus and broccoli. While they may look healthy on the outside mentally and physically there is a whole host of problems goingon.

This brings me to the female athlete triad, and more specifically the loss of periods from too much working out and/or too low of a body fat percentage. Most women need to be at least at 15% body fat to still have their periods (being on birth control doesn’t count since that is an artificial period). Your body doesn’t care how you get to having too low of a body fat percentage, from the stress of working out, a bad diet, or starvation, it still isn’t healthy. Sure the lifter with rippling muscles may look healthy and able as compared to the emaciated runway model but inside their bodies may be telling similar stories.

Photo: dollen

Men are also not immune to problems associated with having body fat that is too low.  Sensitivity to cold, decreased immune function and increased rates of bruising are only a few of a whole host of problems that can develop.

And how about “skinny fat,” a term that is thrown around the fitness community quite frequently. Don’t even get me started on that…

This all bring me back to a major point about the obsession with fitness, health, strength, thinness, and a whole other host of self-focused ideals. Is it the norm these days to have a block at the third chakra, never allowing us to blossom into our willful and autonomous selves?  Are we doomed to live by societies standards of human doing instead of human being?

Be strong, be healthy, be beautiful, but also be full.

Full of life, balance, activity, rest, sharing and love.

How much do you really want those abs?

Photo: Simon Snow


They are the gift that will never keep on giving and do you really want your tombstone to read “She/he was ________ (thin, strong, healthy, etc)?”

Perhaps it is time to rethink priorities.






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SolsticeSon Nov 13, 2012 1:18pm

On point. Nice, cogent presentation of a fashionable trend our culture has pressed upon us that leads to disguised ill health no matter how you look. I like that you emphasize balancing what matters–check out my article on balancing for health.

bekyalbert Aug 30, 2011 7:38am

Hannah! I hear you and relate and have done some writing on this topic as well. In the last seven years I have recovered from what was called anorexia, orthorexia, compulsive exercise– (orthorexia is an interesting one because it is a fixation on what is 'right') and continue to learn this process that does not have to do with making my body, instead trusting and breathing and living and loving and feeling. fullness! yes! I am thankful thankful for your article, and I think your words and ideas are gifts. right on.

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Hannah Siegle

Hannah Siegle began to do yoga four years ago initially for the physical practice, however she quickly discovered that the yoga began to do her in ways she never anticipated. The mind, body and spiritual connection that yoga cultivates has helped Hannah through the ups and downs of life, both large and small. She regularly blogs at Balancing on Two Feet on topics such as yoga, mindfulness, eating disorder recovery and all those things people don’t like to talk about. She was trained at the RYT 200 through Laurel Hodory and is currently working towards becoming a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. She teaches yoga throughout Central Ohio with GoYoga ,yogaServe, and also works as an Assistant Editor for the elephant journal!