Hot New Selfie Trend Could Change How You See Your Body Forever (PHOTOS)

For those of us who've had our fill of impossibly skinny #fitspo images, there's something new and way more inspiring: #ThickAndFit. Women are posting workout selfies under this hashtag to share very different versions of what a strong, athletic woman's body can look like.


What you'll see on Instagram under #ThickAndFit (and #ThickFit) are women with curves, legs packed with muscles. It's used by women like bodybuilder and trainer Lita Lewis. "It was announcing my own definition of myself," she told The Cut. "It was owning my beauty and my body and my curves and my strength."

Some women bulk up substantially when they train -- like Lewis, and like Serena and Venus Williams. It's relatively rare for our gender, but you know what? I think it looks amazing. Even if that doesn't happen to you, for a lot of us, getting stronger doesn't necessarily translate into getting thinner. More toned, probably. But those short legs aren't getting any longer. And that's okay.

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It's about time we separate "healthy" from "skinny." We must know by now that you can be a warrior of cardiovascular and muscular health and have "chunky" legs. You can eat a wholesome, nutrient-dense diet and it won't necessarily make you whippet-thin. And you can be but a willowy waif with a junk food diet and zero gym time. Genetics play their role, but countless other factors do, too. 

Healthy can look all sorts of different ways, and I think that's beautiful.

In fact, I think it's difficult to keep up with intense workouts and be as thin as the many #fitspo images you see. That's because exercise requires fuel. It makes you mad hungry. That's not an excuse to overeat. But it's a darn good reason not to starve yourself, either.

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Yet we're often encouraged to do just that in pursuit of this skinny, super-fit ideal. It's as if being strong isn't good enough on its own. You have to push yourself, count calories, and deprive yourself so you can get that thigh gap, those washboard abs.

If you happen to be that skinny from eating healthy and working out, great. Good for you! My point is, it shouldn't be the only shape we associate with fitness and health.

Pick up any strength training program or manual and you'll see loads of advice for restricting your diet and losing weight as well. I understand how that can be the goal for a lot of people. But it's almost like exercise and slimming down are supposed to go hand-in-hand, always, for all of us.

This mindset drives me crazy because in the last couple years I've amped up my workouts, but I've also gained 10 pounds. I'm more toned than I've ever been in my entire life. I'm also still very much on the lighter end of a healthy BMI, and my doctor says I can attribute some of those pounds to muscle weight. But to be honest, some of it is probably ice cream, and I feel a bit conflicted about that sometimes.

That bit of cushion on my hips is the part of me that enjoys indulging in treats on the weekends. It's the part of me that refuses to torture my loved ones with self-imposed hanger. And you know what? I like that girl. I like her a lot. I'm not killing her off just for vanity. How skinny do I need to be, really?  

Meanwhile, half (or more?) of those #thinspo images involve lighting tricks, strategic poses that resemble nothing you'd ever do with your body in real life, and blatant Photoshopping. Backs are painfully arched, waistlines look unnatural. Backgrounds are defying the laws of physics and bending. What in the hell are people even doing?!?

Stop the madness!

That is why I love this #ThickAndFit Instagram movement. Well, almost love. We shouldn't even call it THICK and fit because this is what many healthy, normal women look like when we work out. It should just be #Fit. Fit can look thick and thin and everything in between. If you're working it, you get to own it. That's the way I think it should be.


Image © John Lund/Tiffany Schoepp/Blend Images/Corbis

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