It’s Not All About ‘Skinny’

Being part of an online “fitness blogging community” can sometimes cause you to lose sight of reality if you’re not looking for inspiration in the right places. There are a lot of people with blogs who focus on being skinny, having a “thigh gap” (if you don’t know what it is, Google it), having boyfriends who can lift them up — a whole lot of nonsense, if you ask me. Because, truly, truly, truly: None of these things have any bearing on your health. And, I’m sorry, but I cannot, will not, do not read the blogs of those whose main goal is to be lifted up by their boyfriend. Truth be told, I’d rather read the blogs of women whose goal is to lift up their boyfriend. (I’m comin’ for ya Mr. B.)

Now, before you jump all over me, let me say: I know I am still overweight. I know that I have about 20 more pounds to go before I’m on the high end of “acceptable” for my height. I know I’m not there yet.

But I’m not in a rush. And I do not want to be “skinny.”

Let me elaborate a little on where this stems from. And it’s taken me about a month to find the words to describe what’s happened since the marathon. Because, just as I received some of the most moving, amazing, inspiring support from friends and family — online and “in real life” — I’ve also experienced the opposite.

See this picture? A lot of people (men and women included) looked at this picture and saw the following — I know because they went out of their way to tell me:

smiling running

Yes, after I posted this photo, I got emails and messages telling me how fat I looked and that they couldn’t believe I’d post that picture online for people to see. And that I should be “embarrassed.”

But, really, when I look at this photo, here’s what I see:

smiling running 2

Oh, yeah, and did I mention, this photo was taken while I was running a marathon. A frickin’ marathon and people thought I should be worried about how I looked. This was one of the proudest moments of my life and, forgive my language, but I’ll be damned if I let anyone take away one second of the pride and joy I feel about completing that marathon because I don’t fit into their perfect package of what a woman’s body should be.

In case it doesn’t sink in for you — in case you don’t understand that this really does happen and this is real life for a lot of people (again, women and men) — please see the comments I got on the following photo:

sitting smiling

But me? My version of this photo — and why I smile every single time I look at it, back fat and all:

sitting smiling 2

And that photo? Taken after a 20-mile training run, and the first time I’d ever hit that distance.

Say what you will about me, about my photos, about my back fat. I can take it — I’m strong, and getting stronger every day. But please don’t think that because I don’t (or you don’t) look like some fairy-tale version of a woman that I’m any less worthy of love and respect. Or that I shouldn’t be proud of my accomplishments — all 26.2 miles of them. Because beauty and health are not to be found in how small your waist is or in how fast you can run. Both of them are found in your heart.

So, no, I am not skinny. And my thighs? They’re going to touch — and squish and sag — until the day I die. And I’m OK with that. Skinny is not my goal. Strong is my goal; healthy is my goal. Ultimately, happy is my goal.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “It’s Not All About ‘Skinny’

  1. I LOVE this post. It is so inspirational! I usually skip over all fitness blogs when browsing the web. They make me feel like I should lose 10 lbs and never enjoy any type of food….and I’m thin. Your post makes me want to run a marathon again!

    I can’t believe that anyone would EVER comment about “soup coolers” or tell you that you should be “embarrassed” by a photo. Who ARE these people? Craziness.

    I found your blog via “tag-surfer.” The yellow circles really caught my eye when I was browsing!

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    • Thank you so much for reading. It’s really a sad, sad world when people take time out of their lives to spread negativity — that time could be used for such good! I do have to say that the outpouring of support highly outweighs the negative comments, but I felt that I needed to respond to the mean things people were saying in hopes that those who read it (and who may have experienced something similar) can see that they are not alone and that they are not ugly — simply because some anonymous Internet-er spreads meanness.

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  2. nancy

    Kimi, I am speechless. I truly am shocked that there are people so cruel and shallow out there. Please tell me these comments weren’t from the running community! I have never heard runners say cruel things like this before and they have always been supportive of each other.

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  3. nancy

    Sorry, my phone wouldn’t let me post more. Anyway, I am just blown away. They sound like very unhappy, very insecure people. Healthy people come in all shapes and sizes and you really cannot tell by looking at a person who is healthy and who isn’t, except in extreme cases. You are a beautiful, confident, kind person and it makes me so angry that someone would treat you that way. You have a great attitude and very tough skin!

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    • Thank you, Nancy. No, these weren’t from the running community. The running community is full of supportive, loving, inspiring people — people I am proud to know (either online or in person). These comments came from people hiding behind the cloak of invisibility that is the Internet. But that doesn’t make the comments sting any less. Hopefully by sharing this, other people out there in shoes similar to mine (and I don’t mean purple and white Nikes) will see that the size of their pants or shirts or shoes or arms isn’t what’s important. What is important is taking care of their health and doing things that make them happy.

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  4. Lorrie

    I think you are beautiful-and I love all of you! I’m always so happy when I see that happy face and those strong legs and the healthy woman (girl to me) that you’ve been working so hard on! If you are happy, I am happy-and that’s what matters-you’re happiness and your health. I love you big time! Aunt Lorrie

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  5. You go get ’em, girl! Such a great, powerful, uplifting post! I enjoyed it so much!

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  6. Hi Kimberly,
    I am just stumbling on your blog for the first time, and let me say congratulations on the marathon!! That’s absolutely incredible! I am so impressed that you are able to get past those horrible, negative comments. I think it takes incredible bravery to put your goals, progress and pictures on the internet and your journey is definitely an inspiration. If you ever need more ammuntition to get those haters back with, there are several research studies out there showing that regardless of weight, if you are a regular exerciser, you significantly reduce your risk of CVD, cancer, diabetes and depression. Keep up the great work!
    The Mahoneys at http://www.losingtogether.com

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    • Thank you for the comments! Some days it’s certainly easier to close my ears (or eyes) to the nasty comments people make. Because, let’s be honest, sometimes words can hurt. But, really, what really matters is that I’m taking care of myself (mind, body and spirit) and doing what’s right for me. And the people who truly care about what’s right — and wrong — with me truly care about me and won’t hide behind the safety of the anonymity of the Internet.

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  7. You know my spiel, as I make you listen to it everyday. I get the skinny-ass girl comments and the assumption that being light in weight means I’m light in toughness–physical and mental.

    And what can a picture prove? Either nothing or anything, as you showed up above. Those who seek to tear others down are simply insecure, and my guess is, anonymous because they are indeed light in toughness–physical and mental–and compassion.

    They need a hobby–or some gummy bears.

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  8. Your entire blog is so inspirational, I can’t imagine ever receiving feedback so horrible. It’s great that you are able to look beyond their stupidity and recognize how amazing you are becaust when I look at your pictures I just see your big smile 😀 I’m jealous you’ve already accomplished completing a marathon, I hope to be there next year! Hope to read more motivating stories!

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    • Jenina, Thank you so much for this very kind message! My first marathon was such an amazing experience — starting with the training. I hope you enjoy every second of it (even the seconds that hurt a little bit). Happy running!

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