Inevitably anytime I post a photo of me in a bathing suit or anything that reveals my body more than normal the messages, comments and emails start pouring in (I’m being slightly dramatic but it’s a significant amount). How do you stay so slim? What’s your secret? What diet do you follow? Can you share your fitness and eating habits? Meanwhile, if the photo is reposted by another account (Anthropologie for example) the inevitable body shaming ensues, “eat a burger,” ” she looks sick,” “why are you promoting anorexia,” “this is disgusting why would anyone want to look like that” etc. etc. In general, in media and society being thin is celebrated, I understand there’s a certain privilege with being slim. But being thin does not equal being healthy, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
I’m generally a healthy person, I eat well, I don’t drink alcohol often, I get 9 hours of sleep (almost) every night. But I am not a vision of health. I don’t exercise nearly enough, I’m trying to be better about that. There are plenty of women with different body types than me that are much healthier and more fit than I am. If we did an experiment and had 5 women eat the exact same thing and do the same workout routine for a month, we wouldn’t end up with the same body type at the end of it. I follow a healthy balanced diet, I don’t eat dairy, eggs or meat and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I gave up meat, eggs and dairy for a variety of reasons, my skin, the environment, my love for animals, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same. I like to eat healthy because it makes me feel good and as a migraine sufferer I have to be careful about the foods I eat. But I hate the thought of promoting the idea if you eat what I eat, we’ll look the same, it just doesn’t work like that.
I generally have a healthy body image but I also realize as I mentioned before, there’s privilege that comes with being thin. And while it’s not enjoyable to be called anorexic or be asked by complete strangers if I eat, I don’t endure the same treatment and criticism of someone that’s a larger size. My point is that there’s no way to know just by looking at someone’s size if they are healthy. I don’t feel comfortable sitting here and telling you what you should do and eat so you can look more like me. I can tell you eating healthy will make you feel good, and that’s my biggest motivator. I don’t deprive myself of things when I want them. If I’m craving something I eat it, but I also realize that we all have different relationships with food and I am oversimplifying what can be a very complex and complicated issue.
I guess the reason why I am writing this post is because I am tired of seeing women comment negatively about each other’s bodies. We are force fed so much garbage from the media and society about how we should look. We are constantly being told that we aren’t good enough, and that there’s always things we can and should fix or change. I’m happy to see brands and public figures embracing more diverse body types and promoting body positivity but I think we still have a long way to go.
If there’s anything I hope you take away from reading this it’s that you are enough. Instead of worrying about a number on a scale or the size of your jeans, focus on how you feel. Do you feel healthy and strong? Do you feel confident and happy? Because those things are a thousand times more important than whatever size or weight you (or anyone else) think you should be.