I’m in a limbo right now. In other words, I’m neither strong nor skinny.
I used to be pretty skinny for most of my life, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. Personally, I find the likes of Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Sarah Jessica Parker much more attractive than any woman with serious curves. And that’s been the case long before ass and tits fell out of fashion with the designers and magazines. But that’s just me.
Now that the non-smoking or whatever has catapulted me out of my beloved tiny dress size—most likely never to return, considering my age—I’m actually pretty glad there’s an alternative to being skinny that I find very attractive too: strong.
I’m not there yet, and unfortunately not by a long shot. My arms still have enormous room for improvement—as you can see, they still won’t lift me up the pull-up bar without the help of elastic bands, and I won’t be sharing a photo of my pathetic push-up performance anytime soon. But I’m on the right track. My arms are definitely toned, and there’s not even a hint of bingo wings left.
And I can see abs again for the first time in a long time, even after dinner. Though that still requires flexing as hard as I can. But that’s okay. Soon—in time for the bikini season, I hope—they’ll be visible even without flexing.
The one disadvantage of strong versus skinny is that strong requires a lot of work. But I guess skinny does too as soon as it doesn’t come naturally any more. So that’s all right. And at least all that work I put in comes with gratifying results: a few push-ups more, a thinner band for the pull-ups, a heavier weight for the kettlebell swings, more definition showing where I didn’t expect it.
And the big advantage of strong: You look healthy, no matter whether you are or not. That’s a far cry from skinny, where half the people you know will speculate behind your back about your supposed drug consumption or eating disorder. Let me tell you, that’s extremely annoying.
The best thing is that I don’t only look healthy, I am pretty healthy—because of the lifestyle changes I have made over the past few months: Since I started going to the strength training three times a week in what I would until recently have called “the middle of the night”, a.k.a. 7:00 am, I also started to go to bed earlier. So I actually get my eight hours of sleep on a regular basis.
Plus, thanks to the marathon training and the online running groups I have joined, I have learned a lot about nutrition and have improved my diet even more. Nowadays, my app usually gives me 9.5 of 10 points on the food quality scale. During the week, that is. Because that’s another thing I have learned: I need my “cheat meal” weekends—with chocolate, homemade pizza, or wine—to ensure that I am comfortable sticking to my super healthy routine the rest of the time.
I won’t make it to my first strength milestone—dead-lifting my own body weight—before my trip to Germany because I am slightly injured. But that doesn’t matter too much. There’s plenty of time to accomplish that milestone when I am back. For the time being, I just enjoy getting into my new mindset of “strong is the new skinny.”