Are muscle the new hip bones? |

In the nineties it was all about being the thinnest version of yourself. Collar bones, hip bones, ribs. the more bone on display the better. Addict chic and all that. Bit by bit over the past decade we have rallied against it. Rallied against the unrealistic expectation that is the ability of all woman to be rail thin. For some, sure. But for all, no way.

Then the healthy is the new skinny movement arrived.

Strong is the new skinny.

Fit is the new skinny.

Ripped is the new skinny.

Seriously, not a good time to be naturally thin. But for me, who has never had that experience, I was excited! Finally, something that any of us could work towards and gain if we wanted. A healthier ideal. Something worthy of my time and attention. Health, glowing inner health from good clean food, regular exercise and lots of belly laughs. Excellent. I’m in!

But it occurs to me as I scroll through the images of abs and ripped shoulders that perhaps, it’s just a new version of skinny. I mean, don’t stop until you’re proud! Seriously. I’m proud now. So that’s game over for me right? Worst. My version, probably your version, doesn’t match up with the perfect version that is being laid in front of us. It’s as extreme as anything the nineties delivered and competitive as hell. I mean, is a set of six pack abs really something that is out of the box obtainable for me?

Probably not.

I’ve seen the work that goes into them. I see the clean eating, hard training ladies out there. I think of the woman who are as we speak in the process of demanding that their body conform to this most recent of standards. Not the your body at its healthiest but the perfect healthy they see. The pinnacle, THE IDEAL, of the healthy is the new skinny movement.

The thought that health comes in all shapes and sizes appears to have been misplaced somewhere along the way. Already. Overlooked {or more likely ditched, left forlorn in the corner} in favour of bronzed, mega toned, athlete bodies with large breasts and abs you could literally wash clothes on.

I sound like a nutter for abs, I sort of am.

But hang in there, that’s not what this is about. Is this any more achievable  There is still weighing and measuring of food, the bingeing lapses, the guilt, the not measuring up, the long work outs and a large portion of your brain power committed to the final, perfect body shape. The shape just changed… Didn’t it? Or am I cookoo here?

And I don’t mean to criticise anyone doing what they think is best for their body. I know lots of people share my idea of healthy and some are athletes and that’s a different story. I don’t mean to tar all fitness folks with the same brush. Your body, you do what you want with it. It just occured to me that I feel like I’ve been here before in terms of the extremes. A sense of deja-vu if you will. Like if you put a Rachel haircut on it it’d BE the nineties… You know?

So I’m curious, what say you? Are muscles this decades hip bone? Does it occur to you as a bit same same but different? 

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  • HumbirdsSong

    Yes. Oh yes. I’ve been caught up in the Healthy Living Blog world lately, and although there are many legit ones out there, there are also many that scare me and are quite dangerous. You’re right, the message is getting distorted (from what i’ve seen). Great post x

    • It’s that distortion and the perfected ideal that worry me, no matter the size or shape of the body. Perfection as a goal is never a good thing!

  • Liz

    I’m all for being the healthiest version of yourself – whether it be ripped with abs or just lightly toned & happily curvy. I am getting sick of the “muscles are sexy” movement and the you aren’t a real woman unless you lift weights – to be honest i would rather have Kimmy Kardashian like curves and be healthy & happy then worrying about my body fat percentage and whether i’m squatting at the maximum amount. It seems like with all “healthy” ideals, they get distorted and the people who take it to the extreme make the ones who just want to lose weight and gain confidence in themselves seem inferior and like they aren’t doing a good enough job because they aren’t eating exclusively clean and aren’t pumping weights at the gym. At the end of the day if you look in the mirror and you can smile and say “F yeah I did good” then that’s all that matters – muscles or no muscles.

    • if you can smile and say F yeah i did good then that’s all that matters. Heck yes. I wish for this for everyone.


    Ahhh that old chestnut, body image.

    By and large we are what we are.

    We can either fight it, or be the best that we ourselves can be.

    It’s a fine line we must tread between self-acceptance and thinking “can I do a bit better here” without getting down on ourselves.

    Most important thing is that we enjoy ourselves and our bodies.

    I’ve been thinking about posting on body image for a while…..
    cilla xx

    • Ahhh yes, body image. There’s a whole heaping helping of topics on the subject and all of them could use pages and pages of investigating. All I have learnt for myself is that you are what you are, accept that and the rest is cream. 🙂

  • It’s always going to be something though isn’t it?

    I had noticed that muscles were the new skin and bones for a lot of people. I think we have pushed for so long to say that skin and bones isn’t healthy that now we’re jumping on the logical thing, being a massive health craze.

    • It will be. A new fad or something. You’re right of course. But it’s exhausting. I’m all for healthy, I question the motivation and the over the topness.

      • I actually decided not to post part of my comment which agreed with exactly what you said. I do think it’s a little over the top. Or maybe I just love food too much to think I need to live by some sort of self chosen eating laws.

        • It could be that too. Haha. I think I’m a bit like that. I love to cook, entertain, have a meal and a few drinks with friends. I love to eat clean and whole foods but I also LOVE CHEESE AND WINE. Lots.

  • Interesting post. Sometimes I worry that as long as the BMI chart is considered the pinnacle of dissecting someone’s health, and seen as the “bible” which diagnoses our body “sins”, then this will constantly be a problem. I’ve read a few health books that reveal some disturbing truths about the BMI and exactly who and what corporations (including diet organisations) have been involved in its development and funding.

    • I’ve been researching BMI’s a lot at the moment, my pregnant sister who is WAY shorter than I am is having trouble with the hospital because of her BMI. She’s over 30 weeks pregnant and has put on like 6kg and goes to the gym with me at least 3 times a week. It’s a joke! I told her to lie about her height. It just seems like such bullshit.

  • Rianna

    My whole relationship to nutrition/work outs have changed so much since making makeup my fulltime profession. Your skin shows what you’ve been doing to yourself: dieting/deprivation, living on sugar, boozing, not sleeping, training like a maniac, drugs, hormones – whatever, it’s smack on your face. There’s a huge difference between someone who may have had a bit of a party weekend, or a blowout on junk leading up to their period, and someone who lives like that all the time.
    Generally speaking I find that people who are active are more motivated in life. “Active” meaning just that: walking, working out, swimming, yoga – whatever. Being a nazi about your abs and shoulders is just as boring as staring at your protruding hip bones in the mirror for 4 hours a day and measuring your worth by how visible your rib cage is. In my experience the ones who are doing the gym thang because of whatever they’ve seen on pinterest will give you updates on how hungry they are every 20 minutes, whereas the ones who are in it because it makes them feel awesome and they want to live their best life will ask you to be their running buddy occasionally or come to yoga with them so you can hang out more….they also tend to have delish snacks in their bag 🙂