American Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, 32, is known as the most successful female skier in alpine skiing, with four overall World Cup titles. But now Vonn is making another name for herself with her new book, Strong Is the New Beautiful.
Although her journey as an Olympic skier is unique, her experiences have enabled her to empower other women to embrace their natural beauty. Vonn battled and overcame three major knee injuries over the course of four years. She is currently back on track to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Her accomplishments speak for themselves.
Now she is inspiring women of all ages and circumstances to get stronger, healthier, and happier in mind, body, and heart. To Vonn, beauty isn’t primarily physical—it’s mental. Embracing your natural beauty and nourishing your body are what make you strong.
Here are some of the takeaways from Vonn's new book about how to discover your beauty through changing your mindset on what it means to be a strong woman.
Boosting your confidence makes you stronger than losing any amount of weight ever could.
In her book, Vonn opens up about her personal struggles with body image, especially during her time in the spotlight. Once she entered “a realm where being skinny seemed to matter more than being healthy,” Vonn began to question herself and whether she met the social standards of beauty. She was more muscular and built than most of her counterparts. When these haunting insecurities began to affect her skiing performance, she knew she had to find a way to get back on track.
It wasn't until Vonn discovered she was in command of her career and how she felt about herself that she began to feel truly confident, capable, and independent. In her book, Vonn reminds us that there is no better way to cultivate a healthy lifestyle than to cultivate a healthy mindset.
Research supports her approach. In a 2012 study, researchers found that when “individuals fully endorse behavioral goals [that] facilitate satisfaction of the needs for autonomy, their efforts [will] be more likely to result in behavioral change that is effectively maintained.” In other words, when you focus on you and your body’s authentic needs, feeling beautiful becomes less about weight, working out, and dieting, and more about feeling comfortable and strong in your own skin.
Finding the ‘fit you’ should be about you and your own body—not anyone else’s.
No two bodies are the same. What affects our weight and our body mass differs from person to person. According to the F1000 Medicine Reports and the CDC, the number of internal and external factors that determine our physical constitution are not only numerous, but unique to each individual. As an example, the set-point theory asserts that our body weight is maintained and regulated at a predetermined level by our own unique physiology. This is why, as Vonn reminds us, no particular diet can service every body type.
Rather, what can and does benefit every body is a reasonable clean eating routine and finding creative ways to get your body moving regularly. Not everyone can afford a nutritionist or dietitian or a gym membership, but we all have a responsibility to take care of our health.
The first step to finding “fit you” is abandoning the mindset that what works for others will or should work for you. When you refuse to compare yourself and your health journey, you can better find ways of living well which work for you. For Vonn, getting strong is about empowering your mind, thus empowering your body. What makes you strong and what makes you beautiful should be about you—what you find motivating, and what makes you genuinely happy.
Just as just a select few of us are made to be competitive-level skiers, Crossfitters, or swimming enthusiasts, so is there an exercise and eating regimen that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Experiment with different workout types and recipes to find out what works for you. And remember, it's OK to change it up. You don't have to commit to one routine for the rest of your life.
True strength is loving your body and celebrating your beauty.
Strength is a quality most often associated with physical ability. But what makes you physically able in the first place is underrated, and that is strength of mind and heart. Lindsey Vonn urges her readers that “the most powerful enduring, and life-shaping strength you can ever build is the one of self-love.”
When you train yourself mentally and emotionally that you are capable and strong, you equip yourself with the most important tools necessary to train physically. If you don't know your worth, you won't be able to see that you're worthy of taking the time for self-care, even and especially with a long to-do list.
When you enable yourself by nurturing your mindset, becoming fit and staying fit takes on a new meaning – one that cannot be challenged or taken away by anyone else but you.
Photo Credit: Jordan Voth