Reader Alison e-mailed me this request:
As a slender woman, I always feel extremely uncomfortable when friends tell me that a) I am so skinny and b) they really need to lose weight. I hear this from beautiful women of every shape and size, who in my mind do not need to change a thing to be healthy and lovely the way they are. Also I do nothing to be slender, so it is not a compliment on anything I have personally worked for. I want to encourage friends that are trying to improve their health, but want them to remove from their heads an ideal of themselves that is just 10 pounds skinnier. A simple “you are beautiful the way you are, but if you want to feel healthier, then great,” does not seem to work to get women to stop calling themselves fat! Any suggestions are appreciated!
Originally posted 2013-06-13 06:49:47.
Allison popped this question into the suggestion box:
I would love to see something on maintaining a weight you feel happy with without stressing/keeping your emotional well-being in check while eating what you want and not gaining weight.
Eating and weight are incredibly personal, and there’s no single way to deal with either that will work for everyone. Maintaining a certain weight will mean different actions for different people. “Eating what you want and not gaining weight” is especially tricky for many people, myself included. (What I want is generally deep-fried, and a steady diet of fried items probably won’t help me out in the longevity department. Or the self-love department either.) I wish I had an easy answer to this one, but I’m afraid I don’t. I’m not a psychologist or a nutritionist or a fitness expert. All I can do is share what’s worked for me and hope that will spark a larger conversation. So let’s take this a chunk at a time:
Originally posted 2013-04-11 06:32:22.
Advocating for self-love and body acceptance is important to me. I mean, obviously. But over the years, I’ve realized that many messages about body image and loving your physical form regardless of its shape or size can be interpreted as exclusionary. Sometimes, when I say, “Love your body as it is,” people hear, “Wanting to change your body is bad,” or, “Nothing is as important as self-acceptance, including your health.”
Health is relative, and it’s a hot-button word. In my opinion, health is deeply personal and not something that can be easily measured by statistics, averages, or numbers alone. Health is complex and different for each of us. There is evidence to support the idea that people can be healthy at many, many weights and sizes, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that.
Originally posted 2012-05-03 06:27:28.