Go read this post by amanda at pandagon. It makes a great point that the fear of becoming bulky or looking ‘unfeminine’ is part of what keeps women out of the weight room and keeps them going back to crash diets.
This part especially
By measuring success and failure in this department strictly from the scale, we continue to encourage this ineffective strategy. It’s not that Americans don’t think exercise is a good idea—we do—but let’s face it. It’s not really treated as important as dieting by a long shot, even though it’s way more effective at reaching the health goals that this is all supposed to be about.
had me nodding emphatically.
You know, I am also focusing on weight loss because I believe in some cases a reduction in body fat can improve a person’s health. But in my real life, I don’t talk about dieting much – and by that I mean I don’t point out the calorie content of foods or engage in endless angsting at restaurants about how I just can’t eat anything! I am however a bit of an exercise evangelical. I hope I’m not annoying about it, but yeah, building muscles, improving cardiovascular fitness – just finding out all the awesome shit I’m capable of gives me more of a rush than any number I’ve seen on my scale. I don’t know how it got flipped that I seem to talk more about dieting here than exercise, but I’d like that to change.
Anyway, you should read the post and the article that inspired it.