Why Skinny Isn’t The Same As It Once Was

I don’t want to be skinny, at least not today.

This was the topic of conversation yesterday morning between my friends Katie, Michelle and myself during our cool down jog.

Skinny isn’t appealing, it doesn’t sound healthy and it isn’t setting a good example to friends, family and my clients.

I feel like “skinny” has morphed into something completely different then what it was 20 years ago. 20 years ago, being skinny was a compliment, it was the look women wanted to achieve.



But more than anything, skinny up until 10 years ago, was healthy.

Growing up, I had several nicknames to reflect my tall, slender body (I was always the tall kid until I stopped growing around age 12).

Olive Oil

Lil’ Twiggy (My grandfather called me Lil’ Twiggy and my mom was Twiggy)

Skinny Minny

You could be described as skinny but still have feminine curves, toned muscles.

I feel that description is no longer valid.

We are currently in a culture where boundaries are always trying to be pushed. When models of the 80s were “skinny”  I am sure they thought they simply couldn’t get any thinner (like Claudia above).



Those models compared to the ones that grace magazines and runways today wouldn’t be given a second look. Well, perhaps for a plus-sized gig.

Which is sad.

No, You Don’t Want To Be Skinny

When I sit down and talk with new clients, often times they’ll confess their desire to be skinny. As soon as I can see the “s” word making it’s way up, before it has a chance to make it’s debut…

I correct them.

“No, you don’t want to be skinny. You want to be healthy.” 

There has been a lot, and I mean a lot, of talk going on right now about Miley Cyrus. I’m not going to open that whole can of worms here, I have nothing to say in regards to her personal choices. However, I will say this…

Her body doesn’t look strong, it doesn’t look confident…



It looks Frail. Breakable. Skinny.

It’s sad, that this is the look that women and young adults are pressured to compare themselves too. After all, she was the #1 Maxim Hottie! 

It’s sad, that there are times when I look in the mirror and wonder: Am I thin enough?

It’s that word… ENOUGH that gets us into trouble.

Are you fit enough? Thin enough? Toned enough? Fast enough? Strong enough?

But enough compared to who?

You’re Enough

Dan and I don’t have a television. I know that that sounds completely insane. But it’s liberating on so many levels.

We eat lunch and dinner together at a table (something I never did growing up with my family). We actually talk and spend time together, it’s nice. I love these moments.

We get a lot done! Working from home used to be distracting with the tv. Now, there isn’t an option.

But it’s more than that… 

And I am not forced to look at “perfect” figures all the time. The people that the media glorifies and aims to make us feel inferior to. I am not comparing myself to these ladies asking if I am enough compared to them.

And because of that… when I ask, “Am I enough” the real question is:

“Am I enough for myself?”

Fight The Urge To Be Skinny

urge to be skinny

Because of decades of this word being hammered into our heads, it’s going to take some discipline and changes in the way we view ourselves to shake it out.

Have you ever heard the “fight the negative talk” technique?

It goes like this… for 30 days, each time you feel yourself getting ready to use a negative word such as don’t, no, won’t, etc…  stop mid sentence and reword your thought to get rid of the negatives. After 30 days, you’ll be an all around more positive person.

Well, the same has to happen here: Each time you sense a “I wish I were skinnier” thought coming on, stop it dead in it’s tracks.

Then, think for a second about what you really want.

For me, I don’t want to be skinnier. I want to: 

–> Drop 2% body fat

–> Put on 5-10 pounds of muscle

–> I want to be strong

–> I want curves

–> I want to be a woman.

These are healthy thoughts, thoughts that motivate me to be better, eat better, lift weights better, run faster, etc.

What about you:

What do you want to be? 

Do you think “skinny” has changed over the past decade or two?


  • Strong is definitely the new skinny! Miley…oh gosh…

    • I know… haha

    • JC

      I read an interesting comment by an Olympic weightlifting athlete talking about the saying “strong is the new skinny” still falls short from the real message we are trying to convey here. She argued (and I tend to agree) that when most people say “strong is the new skinny” they still mean “strong and skinny is the new skinny”. It was an interesting perspective I’d never considered before I read it.

      • I’ve read that post someplace as well, and also agree

  • So so true and a message we all probably need to be reminded of. When I finally just let go and allowed myself to eat healthy food and enjoy it and not stress about meeting an unattainable goal I began to look so much better on the outside- but most importantly on the inside too!

    • Thanks, you’re right we all need a little remind from time to time!

  • Rebecca

    This is so important…I do feel like now, the “skinny” look is out, and being more toned, muscular and fit is in. Jessica Biel is my #1 girl crush; she looks slender, yet toned and strong — and I’m betting she could kick my ass! I’ve come to realize that my body will never be skinny, at least not to the extreme that was once so popular. I’m working on becoming the strongest, fittest version of myself. I don’t want to be thin and fit into size 2 clothing — I want to be able to run 10 miles, lift heavy things, and be able to push myself to my physical limits and be proud of what I can achieve.

    I also like to eat (healthy foods, but hey, I still get to eat more turkey burgers when I workout 5 days a week than if I didn’t) and you’re right: these skinny people we often see don’t look healthy, fit or strong. All because you’re thin does not mean you’re healthy or fit, and I’ve learned healthy & fit comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes.

    While it’s a gradual, often teetering step, I do finally feel like the media is encouraging fitness over thinness. We still have a long way to go, but I finally feel as though having a naturally athletic body type doesn’t make me manly or unsexy. Instead, it does the opposite — I do deadlifts, TRX, real push-ups, bench press and do weight training with something other than a 5 lb. dumbbell, and I am damn proud of what my body can do compared to where I was 6 months ago.

    • It sounds like a great outlook! I am right there with you. Discovering your own strengths is amazing!

  • This is amazing. Thank you!

    • Thanks Jackie! Not as amazing as your killer blog URL!

  • I was lucky enough to stumble on your blog today and this was a fantastic first post for me to read! I loved it and I totally agree with you! I don’t want to be skinny either…I want to be healthy inside and out! I workout regularly and eat healthy, and I’m certainly not just skin and bones – I have curves, but I’m okay with that. Our society definitely gives us a warped sense of skinny and unhealthy. It’s pretty sad if you think about it!

    • It’s very sad. Thanks for stumbling over!

  • So happy you wrote this because it’s simply so, so, so true. When I finally made the choice to stop taking my ADD medicine I knew I was going to gain weight and that my body would change. BUT I promised myself I wouldn’t become discouraged or obsess about the number on the scale. Instead I looked at the bigger picture and focused on being healthy. For the first time my weight is stable (not a roller coaster), I eat normal meals and snack throughout the day, and workout regularly. No, I haven’t lost the weight I gained but I’m okay with that because I’m so much healthier today than I ever was while taking the medication. I’m not “today’s skinny” but I’m healthy and that’s what matters!

    • Thanks for sharing Erin! You’re right, healthy is all that matters! YOu take care of yourself and you’re doing fab!

  • KarenG in France

    Fully agree ! what a great post, thank you ! I also prefer to be healthy over skinny. I want to have energy, be toned, have my body working optimally. Thanks for the reminder (and Miley looks totally anorexic).

    and I agree with Rebecca, I think there is some change going on in the media and awareness on the topic. Yeah.

    • I certainly hope so (with the media)! Thanks Karen

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  • Great post! I worry about the desire to be “skinny” regularly. I worry about how the push to be skinny will affect my 4yo daughter as she gets older! I have been both skinny and muscular and much prefer my healthy, muscular body to my previous skinny one. And feel much better to boot!

    • Hopefully the skinny fad is dying out some like think and our kids won’t feel as pressured to be sticks.

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