A headline on Yahoo! grabbed my attention the other day: "Pink Shows Off Muscular Bikini Bod in Miami."
As a holistic health and nutrition writer (one who does not believe that your weight is a measure of your wellbeing), I'm always ecstatic when the media chooses to say nice things about celebrities who are not stick-thin.
So I clicked over to check out the article, saw a fit-looking Pink on the beach with her child, and scanned what it had to say.
Sadly, three sentences down, my hopes for a positive message were dashed when I read this:
"But has Pink gone a little too far with the working out?"
This question was followed by a poll where readers could chime in on Pink's body: Did she look good, or was she too muscular?
The majority of folks voted that she had, indeed, been working out too much, using words like ew and gross to describe her. One reader remarked, "She looks like a guy."
And those were the nice comments.
I am, ahem, vertically challenged (5 feet tall) with an athletic build. Though I'm petite, and some would even describe me as tiny, I am not thin. I was a gymnast as a kid and I have a lot of muscle. I've read that Pink was a gymnast, and like me, she's short, 5 feet 3 inches.
Perhaps this is why I clicked over to that Pink article in the first place, since I'm not usually one for giving a hoot about how celebrities look in bikinis. I could never identify with a woman like Gisele, but I can identify with Pink (though I certainly can't sing). And believe it or not, I felt insulted by the comments slung at Pink.
I'm not going to speak to the American public's incessant need to hate on other people's bodies here. (Although what the heck is that about?) What I do want to talk about is how sad I am that we as a culture tend to describe waifish women lacking any visible muscle tone as beautiful, and athletic women as manly. I know I shouldn't pay too much attention to internet trolls, but those comments are symbolic of how many people feel.
Well, I feel very differently. Let me tell you why.
I spent my late teens and early twenties trying to make myself as small as possible while I tried to reach that ridiculously thin "ideal." I did this by restricting what I ate and forcing myself to run long distances and do other types of cardiovascular exercise that I did not enjoy. I was never "skinny enough," and I dieted my health into the ground as a result.
Fortunately, I did get better. It took years, but I healed my broken relationship with my body. I learned how to nourish myself with food and I learned to love exercise because of how it makes me feel, not because of how it might make me look. I've had a healthy relationship with exercise and have enjoyed many different physical activities in adulthood, even earning my black belt in karate. But it wasn't until I started doing CrossFit that I learned to love and respect my muscles.
I drove by my local CrossFit gym for more than two years before I got up the nerve to check it out. I was afraid it would be too hard-core...I'd never picked up a barbell and figured it simply wasn't for me.
To my surprise, I was hooked immediately after the first workout, and have been a fixture there anywhere between about 5 mornings a week ever since.