“Strong is the new sexy”, “Grey is the new black”, Shoulders are the new Abs….here’s my story.
I became inspired to write my blog again as I was surfing Pinterest. It is one of my guilty pleasures – to sit with a strong cup of coffee in my favourite chair in a sun beam and scroll through the pinterest feed. I started to become super frustrated with all the information promising “6 pack abs” in 30 days. Every 10 articles seemed to be on the 6 pack ab thing. This is a ridiculous and unattainable goal for 98 % of the female population. It’s simply not possible in 30 days or at all for most normal women. It sets women up for complete failure. Regardless of this reality, we are bombarded with misleading information.
I KNOW. I once had those chisled, defined abs. And here’s the real deal – it took about 7 years of pre-work (specific focus on abs, and strength training) as a base. And there’s more, much more. I then made my diet completely CLEAN, for a year. No weekend indulgences, no alcohol for a year. I survived on Lean meats and veggies, and I had to cut out natures treats – fruit! I was laser focused on my goal – to place top 3 in my first (and only) fitness competition. I was ripped!
Once I developed the 6 pack abs, I resolved that I would NEVER have a soft belly again, and that I would keep the defined look in my abs forever. HA!
Fast forward to 3.5 years later. I have come around to think – WHO cares? Why is there so much fuss and focus on our abs? Why do we keep striving and fighting for a goal that really is meaningless and incredibly difficult to maintain?
For me, having 6 pack Abs meant – deprivation, obsession, mood irritability, comparison, narcisism, and no fun. It took me many months of reflection to see how my mind had become myopic and my life narrow. My hard focus on keeping the 6 pack was causing me suffering.
When I began enjoying my life in a new relationship, my body started to change. We ate out a lot and I began enjoying drinking wine on the weekends. Little by little, my sculpted abs faded into a softer, smoother landscape of my belly. I was still strong – I maintained a disciplined 5 day a week gym workout, but I relaxed about my eating and hence the disappearing 6 pack.
While my body was taking on a softer shape, my mind rebelled against the change. I felt chubby and began to despise my rounding belly. I made a few half hearted attempts at cleaning up my eating act, but I quickly ended slipping back into a more relaxed attitude about food. I meditated and spent a lot of time with my mind on the subject of vanity and my body. It took me about 3 years of fighting with myself to come to a place of resolve.
I think that I am feeling more at peace. I actually don’t really care whether I have visible abs anymore. My overall fitness and body shape is still very important to me, but I have adjusted to a different “look”. I have big, defined shoulders and I am rocking them.
Which brings me to my title – Shoulders are the new abs! At least they are for me. They are easy for me to maintain and they serve many functions for my athletic activities. I can paddle board up the river with a head wind like nobodys’ business because of my shoulder strength. I can life heavy things over my head which helps me to keep my independence. Hell, I can toss my paddle board onto my high car roof rack without any help (and hardly ever scratch my car). My shoulders keep me comfortably upright giving me good posture. I like that my strong shoulders are of service to me.
I am ok with the look of my body – strong without the fierce rippedness. A little more feminine with an attitude. Feeling a lot more free.
I feel like I am embracing more of what comes naturally and easing into a continually changing body.
Keepin it real and sassy,