Sunday morning I love visiting one of the many local coffee shops in my neighborhood to schedule my week out, program, and people watch. While programming I overheard a conversation at a nearby table between two moms. Honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention until I hear the words “fitness”, “workout”, and the all-time buzz phrase “new years resolution”. This is when my casual listening turned into full-on eavesdropping. My fitness radar was in full effect and I wasn’t the only one whose attention was sparked. One of their daughters started asking questions (I’ll call her Karen). The part if the conversation I eavesdropped...I mean overheard went a little something like this.
Mom: Yes girl I definitely slacked. I am starting a new nutrition and training program on Monday
Karen: Mommy why are you doing that? (as she snacks on her cookie)
Mom: So I can be healthy (as she stares down the cookie)
Karen: What does that mean? Are you trying to get skinny?
Mom: No not necessarily...I just want to be strong.
Karen: So what does strong mean...fat or skinny?
Mom: I want to be able to be strong enough to do a pull-up and squat my own body weight
Karen: Ohhhh...so you want to be skinny!?!?
At this point, my suttle eavesdropping had turned into a full-on gaping stare. So I figured I had better tune out of this conversation before I get caught. Karen couldn’t have been older than seven and had already identified with the terms fat and skinny. From a seven year old perspective, she equated health and strong to skinny. In an eerie way, I felt that's how she defined beauty. In my mind, I wondered where she learned this? If she was asking her mom to validate her opinion, it couldn't have been learned from her.
Going back in time, to when I was that age the first people I saw as beautiful were apart of my family. From when my cousins were born and feeling they were the most beautiful babies I had ever seen. Or watching my mom, aunts, and grandma dance around the house and think of how beautiful it was to see them smile. Growing up I associate beauty with feelings. Love, laughter, comfort, safety were the main feelings I attached to beauty. I didn’t really realize beauty was something physical or aesthetic until I got older (teenage years were rough) but that is another topic in itself.
On the flip side when I was younger I would describe “strong” as solely physical. I prided myself on being able to run faster, do more push-ups, climb the monkey bars, and do more pull-ups (before we knew that's what they were called) than any other kid in my grade. Secretly I was competitive. Athletic ability was what I perceived as strong at that age. Until I got older (20s) and figure out that strength is just as much mentality as physicality.
But how can you really explain the long definition of healthy, strong, and beauty over a casual conversation, in a coffee shop, with an inquisitive kid? I definitely had to commend that mom for helping her daughter start to redefine what it means to be healthy, strong, and beautiful without using the words fat or skinny. In years to come, she will remember that conversation with her mom and hopefully continue to define those things outside of appearance. It made me question how I define healthy, strong, beauty in a more tangible way. My question to you would be how would you define healthy, strong, and beautiful to your seven year old self?