From Our ReadersAre We Really Stronger Than Skinny?From Our Readers

I’m not proud of it, but I’ve definitely been that girl. The girl who obsessed over numbers: weight, portions sizes, pant sizes, bra sizes, hell even shoe sizes. Within one year of high school I dropped nearly 20 pounds, followed by almost 4 years I choose not to remember; Years I spent equating my worth to numbers I thought defined that worthiness.

Again, I’m not proud, but it took falling madly in love for this abuse to end, which doesn’t exactly align with my feminist sensibilities. Nonetheless, I met who I believe will be the one I spend the rest of my days with, and gained nearly 10 pounds. I’ve had my moments where I’ve blamed him, nearly broken up with him over it, still clinging to the insane idea that I had to wiggle in to those size 2 jeans (I’m a girl who needs a little stretch in the pants, whether a 0 or a 6), and that the 100 had to be followed by a twenty something – preferably early ’20s, mid-20s is pushing it, and once you hit the dreaded 128, well, it’s full melt down mode. I won’t even get in to what happens at 130, but it’s sort of like the scene from “Yes Man” when Jim Carrey has to play “Jumper” to get Manny off the ledge. Idiocy.

Two years into our relationship, with many ups and downs (often literally,) I’ve come to my senses. You don’t throw away your “one” over a little bit of late night Ben & Jerry’s action, nor do you feel guilty that yes, it’s nice to share popcorn at the movies, or watch people roll their eyes when you do the one-milkshake-two-straws thing (yeah, I’m that girl, too.) So where am I going with this? This is not an effort to justify “letting myself go” (I kid, I’m past that whole part for real!) It’s to address what has been pitched as the cure to all this nonsense – The “strong over skinny” movement.

You may also know this movement by taglines such as “lady in the streets, freak in the gym,” (okay ‘Luda) “Eat clean, train mean,” and so forth. I first became interested in all this stuff when I realized the remedy to a lot of my issues was exercise. At first, again, it was for the wrong reasons. I told myself, “Okay, if you work out a lot, you can be a little less psycho about the food stuff.” Luckily, as I evolved, realizing that I cared more about the important numbers – how often I had lunch with my grandma, my GPA, or how many date nights my beau and I could sneak in with our busy schedules – the real benefits became my motivation. When I work out consistently, I feel great. My mood instantly lifts, my body ticks like a clock, and I can hit the stairs without feeling winded. It took a while, but I finally get it.

So then I discovered Instagram. Because I’m technologically challenged, I thought the app was just to make your pictures look cool, or eliminate the slight shading above my lip when I missed a monthly wax, but I digress. It wasn’t until a friend asked me what my “Insta” username was that I made the whole “This is a social media outlet” connection. Well, let me tell you, I made up for lost time. I could write witty captions, oh, and look, tag friends! But wait, what the heck is a hash tag…? Oh hot damn, I can look at everyone’s #dachshund pictures? Goodbye world…I’ll be in the corner looking at wieners #sicksadworld #dariareference #1photofound.

So then I started posting foodie pictures. Now, this wasn’t some sick form of tracking my “intake”, those days are long gone, I assure you. Rather, I’ve always been a picture person, and this was another way to record my cooking ideas, or cool restaurants I’ve been to in any of my favorite little artsy towns, without breaking out the digital cam (yeah, I’m old school, or a hipster, #youdecide)  I could also share with my other foodie friends: “Dude, check out this #avocado and #freshmozzarella #omelet with #garlic and #basil accompanied by #homemade #sweetpotatofries that I made for a quick breakfast.”

Then I remembered “Oh yeah, I can click the hash tag, and see if anyone else casually mentions avocados in their posts, they’re not just to be funny/annoying. Maybe I can even get some more recipe ideas! Holy guacamole! I just discovered an empire: clean eating. There are chicks with over 100k followers posting recipes, workouts, fitness tips, inspirational quotes, and even pictures of their fabulous workout clothes donated by fitness apparel companies to, I guess, promote the clothes? All right, I’ll admit that’s a little strange but hey, let’s see what this gal has to say…

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