Happiness beats skinniness

It was another day, another dollar (gone from my pocket) and another step closer to the weekend.

How’s that for a concise summary?

Don’t worry, though. I won’t totally deprive you of my random musings. So, gather ’round. It’s time for a story…

Back in the glory days of high school, I broke out my cross-country spikes every fall for weekly 4K races.

However, unlike the elite girls I competed with, long-distance stardom was never in my cards. I had the requisite height, but the “lean” part wasn’t part of my body-build.

But that was fine by me, because when springtime flowers began blooming, my real inner-athlete came out. On the lanes of the track and runways of jumping pits, I actually excelled.

I enjoyed the reward of helping my team, but my real draw to track was the boost it gave to my self-confidence.

Every time I bound down the runway or propelled over the hurdles, I felt as though my body was working at its finest.

My arms chugged in perfect rhythm, my lungs filled with the necessary air, my feet moved ahead with just enough speed… And, best of all, my muscular, powerful legs gave me the strength to move forward.

Unfortunately, somewhere between my last track meet and my sophomore year of college, I lost sight of how amazing my legs are.

I fixated not on my legs’ strength, but on their bulk. I envied the girls whose legs never rubbed uncomfortably together. I cursed the trend of skinny jeans. I basically filled my mind with all sorts of negative thoughts.

Ironically, it was only as my legs became thinner that my happiness became less. Sure, my legs didn’t touch, but neither did they give me power to run, jump and do the things I love.

Each day that my legs became thinner, my energy became less.

However, once I realized how negative my thinking was, I began getting healthier, stronger and happier.

Today, I wouldn’t trade my strong legs for anything in the world. After all, why would I need skinny jeans when I can have my happiness?

Questions: What’s your favorite part of your body? How often do you remember to appreciate your body?

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16 responses to “Happiness beats skinniness

  • Circe

    I think it’s wonderful how candid you are in your posts, and how much perspective you have on life and health in general. keep bloggin, you always make me laugh.

  • Katelyn Johnson

    When I got done reading this I really wanted to click the “like” button. Always exciting to see photos of us on your blog!
    I’d say my favorite part would be my arms/ uppper body. I try to wear tank tops instead of t-shirt to show them off. I got a greater appreciation for them the past few weeks with the start of Husker Football (push ups for points) and teaching gymnastics. I forgot how great my upperbody strength was as a kid when I was doing gymnastics.

  • Bri

    I totally love this post. i have the big strong legs from soccer and I envied (sometimes still envy) girls legs who are really skinny and don’t touch but when I got to the point where my legs didn’t touch I barely had the strength to run half a mile or walk up the stairs without my muscles begging me to stop but now I like my strong legs 🙂

  • Megan

    I am in LOVE with this post title! So true! At the end of the day, happy > skinny. ALWAYS.

  • Megan (Braise The Roof)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! It sounds like you have a really healthy body image- I admire you! 🙂 This is a great post- keep up the good work.

  • Katie

    Such a great message! As humans, we’re probably never going to think that we’re good enough. I’ve learned to appreciate my body but of course there are times when I’m not so appreciative. I think my favorite part of my body are my legs! Sure my legs touch and they’re not shaped like sticks but I love having strong and curvy legs. Plus, I’ve got a good butt 🙂

  • christina

    i love my legs!! they will always be sculpted and never chicken legs and i’m fine with that!! they are strong and i can kick (literally) ass with them!

  • Lauren @ laurenINlawrence

    Hey, thanks for the Lawrence love! How’d you find me? There are a few of us little foodie healthy girls in Lawrence, followmyfitsteps.com is another one. I’m quite new to town (just in my first month of law school) but I’d love to meet up sometime. I always have time for 3 Spoons 🙂

    • pursuitofhealthfulness

      I say your name on a comment from “Iowa Girl Eats.” I’ll definitely check out followmyfitsteps! It’s just so fun to talk with other people who understand what health blogging is all about! Did you say that you are training for a half-marathon?

  • Lauren @ laurenINlawrence

    And which Hy-Vee did you find pumpkin at? I just looked last week and all they had was the organic pumpkin, which actually does not taste half as good!

  • Lucy Glover

    Great post Emily. Remind me at lunch on Saturday to tell you what my daddy always told me about who made the Hollywood sterotypes which torture normal women’s views of their body image. I think it is too politically incorrect to post here. 🙂

  • Erin (penny. LA)

    Your post reminds me of some of the body struggles I’ve had.

    I ran track in junior high, but didn’t run in high school – I should have. I was always the fastest runner in basketball and tennis, but running track made me so very nervous.

    I am still athletic today, and actually have a much more fit body than I did in high school (I ate soo much in high school!).

    My favorite part of my body is my legs, I would say – they’ve always been the leanest. My back isn’t too bad, either. 😉 For a long time I hated my little “pooch” of a belly but finally accepted a couple of years ago that I just wasn’t built to EVER have a washboard FLAT stomach – it’s just not in the cards for me, no matter how fit I am. But I’ll go for an almost-flat one. 😉

  • 2010 in review «

    […] Why I prefer not being “skinny.” “Happiness beats skinniness.” […]

  • Real motivation «

    […] I know there is so much more to life that having a flat stomach. Maybe this is because I know that happiness beats skinniness any day of the week. Maybe this is because I think it’s time to stop beating ourselves up […]

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