Strong is the New Skinny

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My Freshmen P.E. Uniform 1984

I was forced to wear a hideous P.E. uniform in high school — a navy-zip-up-romper with an elastic waist and sleeves inspired by early prison fashion. If they had allowed us to wear something remotely cute, I’m positive I would have been more of an athlete as a teenager.  But instead, we had to wear this frock.  Our P.E. class was just as uninspired as our rompers.  We endured a regular regimen of ballet, jumping jacks and laps around the gym.  My how things have changed!

Jump to 2013.  I recently had the privilege of leading a freshmen phys-ed class for my good friend Lacy Griffin.  Lacy is my hero.  She has revolutionized the P.E. uniform to include a fabulous pink t-shirt that says, “Strong is the New Skinny”.  She encourages these young girls to focus on health, not appearance, which is something I wish I had when I was a teen. Lacy is passionate about fitness — and it shows through everything she does in her teaching.  She has introduced the girls to lifting weights, high-intensity-interval-training and even Tae Bo.

Lacy with Freshmen P.E. Class
Lacy with Freshmen P.E. Class

Magazines, television and movies all place immense pressure on women to be thin by emphasizing appearance, not character.  Growing up, I often felt inadequate and ugly.  I compared myself to the seemingly perfect girls in magazine images — a losing battle.  I dieted constantly in unhealthy ways because I thought to be beautiful, I had to be thin.  I finally woke up when a friend of mine introduced me to “aerobics” classes.  For the first time in my life, I felt strong — which in turn made me feel beautiful.  I started to appreciate the body God gave me, and treated it like a gift and not a curse.

Whether you are a girl — or know any young girls — I encourage you to take on Lacy’s motto, Strong is the New Skinny.  Focus on developing your physical strength — and strength of character — not on appearance.  The rest will follow.  Women who do this exhibit an inner glow that cannot be contained.  That’s true beauty.

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