Not All Bodies Are Meant to Be Skinny
No two people are exactly the same. We are all born with different eye colors, hair colors, heights, skin colors, nose shapes, personalities... the list goes on and on. Why then would weight and body shape be any different? Why are we constantly trying to force our bodies into sizes and shapes they weren’t meant to be?
From the time we are little girls we are taught there are only a few acceptable body shapes and we should strive to fit into those categories no matter what. We should be curvy, but only in the right places, we should have flat stomachs and thigh gaps, but a full, round butt and perky boobs. I don’t know about you but I don’t know very many people that are naturally built like that.
We are taught that if we work hard enough we can look like that too. If we follow a strict enough diet and workout really hard we can all achieve flat stomaches and hourglass shapes, but that is just not true. Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes, and not all of them fall into the “skinny” category or even the “curvy” category. From naturally thin to muscular to soft and round, no two bodies are designed the exact same way. But if you listen to the messages coming from the diet industry, we can all achieve the “ideal” body shape/size if we work hard enough and follow their program of course. But that is a lie!
Nothing illustrates this better than looking at myself and my three sisters. We all grew up in the same household. We were all active playing sports from the time we were young and continued through high school. We ate the same dinners every night growing up and had access to the same food sources outside of the home, yet we are all vastly different. Even when we all follow the same diet/exercise plan (which we have done before) our results vary widely. Because our bodies are not meant to be the same size.
In the past year, I have become more and more interested in intuitive eating and the concept of health at every size (HAES). I started to follow a lot of HAES dieticians and people who support and follow intuitive eating on Instagram, and I can honestly say it has changed the way I look at weight loss and dieting and helped me come to the realization that our bodies are all unique. That doesn’t mean our culture and lifestyles have made some of us fatter than our bodies would be naturally, and that doesn’t mean every person is healthy at every size, and it doesn’t mean that some of us (myself included) couldn’t do a better job at taking care of our bodies but it does mean body size and weight are not the only indicators of health, and in fact more and more research is showing weight and body size are actually poor indicators of health.
This doesn’t just apply to “fat” people. There are perfectly healthy people living in larger bodies and there are smaller, thin people that are anything but healthy. Size alone is not a good indicator of how healthy or unhealthy a person is. And trying to force us all into one ideal body size isn’t doing anyone any favors.
We are often being told to celebrate our unique differences and celebrate that fact that we aren’t all the same, but in many cases it seems this same message doesn’t apply to celebrating the differences in our bodies. We are not all meant to look the same, we are not all meant to live in skinny bodies or perfectly curvy bodies. And I, for one, am proud of the body I have and the things it has helped me accomplish.
*** I am by no means an expert when it comes to Health At Every Size, but I follow some pretty awesome people who are. I’ve embedded some of my favorite messages from them throughout this post, but here is a list of great people to get you started if you are interested in learning more about HAES.