You can be healthy at any size! Current research suggests that in order to be healthy you do not have to be a certain size. In fact there are plenty of individuals who are above their most comfortable weight that are very healthy; just as there are individuals who are thin but very unhealthy. By concentrating on wanting to be a particular size a shift can occur where instead of focusing on being as healthy as you reasonably can be you become trapped in food preoccupation, self-hatred, eating disorders, and yo-yo dieting. These in the long run will be much worse for your emotional and physical health than carrying a few extra kilos.
Keep in mind, too, that prior to the early 1940s there was no standardised sizing set in stone. So wanting to be a size 10 or 12, for example, was a foreign concept because, at that time, clothes were made or altered by a tailor to fit you. The standardisation of clothing sizes only occurred with the industrialisation of the clothing industry and the need to make large amounts of factory-standard clothing. This meant that specific sizing of clothes needed to be developed. Unfortunately, society has personalised this and made it an enviable goal to be able to fit into smaller-sized clothing. But what this overlooks is that everyone’s body shape is different and fitting into smaller sizes does not mean that you will necessarily be healthier.
Health at Every Size
Consider that your body will naturally want to be healthy at your given weight, regardless of what your current size might be. Losing weight is not necessarily the answer, with research suggesting that being healthy is more about your health behaviours than it is about the number on the scales. This means that although your weight and size might not shift, by being intentional about improving your overall health and well-being through positive habits and lifestyle changes your body responds by working better. Of course, loss in body size might well be a natural effect of healthier behaviours but should not be the focus.
The approach of recognising that you can be healthy at any size does not serve as a reason to continue to live with unhealthy habits – quite the opposite. By focusing on your health behaviours as opposed to your weight and size you can be in tune with when you need to change your habits to feel healthier rather than just to look a certain way. This means that even if you are within what is considered a ‘normal’ weight range for your height you may still be quite unhealthy due to your behaviours not fostering a true internal health.
Consider evaluating your health by different measures. Healthy for you might mean, for example, having enough energy to do what you like doing and to feel good. It might also mean living without chronic diseases, and having sound mental health. Whatever the focus might be for you try to steer away from a weight or size goal as this does not equate to good health, greater intimacy or happiness in the long run.
Holistic Medical Doctor, Author ‘Healthy Habits, 52 Ways to Better Health‘