Ever since I read about the Health At Every Size community (and wrote a few blog posts about it), I am increasingly troubled by the things I see and hear in the media and even from my friends and acquaintances. I have always known that society, the fashion industry, diet industry, and media must accept a large portion of the blame when it comes to the “skinny at all costs” ideal. But lately, I’ve been noticing the bombardment of subtle “be thin” messages even more and am growing increasingly disturbed and frustrated that, here in 2011, we aren’t doing more to teach and promote overall health instead of thinness.
While reading a news item on the internet today, I saw a photo of actress Carrie Fisher in her metal bikini from the Star Wars movie and the caption read that she was making a public campaign to get her body back into “metal bikini shape”. I feel sad that she thinks she has to do that. I don’t know how healthy she was when she was that thin (and the point is, we can’t be sure of someone’s physical health just by looking at them), but I don’t know that trying to slim herself down to that size again for the sake of it will be healthy for her.
Imagine what would happen if all the celebs of the world just threw up their hands and said “Enough! We will NOT slim down for this role or for the sake of a photo shoot. We will aim for and then maintain physical health through eating and exercising in accordance to what our bodies need.” Wouldn’t THAT be a revolution??
So, today I urge you to stop comparing yourself with some arbitrarily chosen “fashionable” body size. (I know this can be hard–and I wouldn’t be urging you to do so had I not struggled through this myself.) Have a physical exam by a medical professional to determine your internal physical health (cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, etc.). Consult with a nutritionist and personal trainer. Check out the Center for Mindful Eating. And–most importantly–learn how to tune into what your body really needs and wants. Focus on attaining a more healthy you, not necessarily a more skinny you. Be gentle with yourself and remember when you look around you today that health can come in all sizes.
Peace, joy, and health!