Quiz time: When you look at these pictures, which one would you describe as most healthy?
I would assume to say that about 90% of people would say the one in the middle. I can see why. I get it. Society has shoved the idea down our throat for so long that healthy = skinny. I openly admit that I fell right into that trap.
I spent most of my preteen to teenage years being fairly sedentary. Being active wasn’t really a priority, and I believed that being healthy meant eating “gross” food (veggies) and completely giving up the foods that I loved (can you say ALL THE CARBS?). Did it bother me that I wasn’t as tiny as the rest of the girls I went to school with? Sure, I was a teenager after all. But I had accepted the fact that I just was never going to look that way. That’s the picture on the left.
Fast forward to senior year of high school. That’s the picture in the middle. I had drastically changed my diet. I was working out every day. I had lost thirty pounds! Healthy right? After all, weighing less means healthy. But along with those thirty pounds, I had also lost my friends, my happiness and control of my life. As I’ve written before, this goal of being the” healthiest” I could be got me into trouble. I wasn’t anywhere close to being all right.
Health goes far beyond how much space we physically take up. It encompasses our body, mind, spirit, and attitude. It is being happy with yourself and the life you are living. That is the picture on the right, which, by the way, is the answer to my initial question. By no means am I the skinniest i have ever been. Honestly, I probably weigh as much as I did in the picture om the left. And that is completely okay. I was never meant to be 101 pounds. The difference? I’m eating to nourish my body with whole foods but not depriving myself, I am being active every day without going overboard. And I’m enjoying life without constantly worrying about a number on the scale.
That’s what health is. Again, HEALTHY DOES NOT EQUAL THIN. It is so important to emphasize this. We need to stop teaching that happiness is rooted in a pant size and realize that it comes from the ability to truly enjoy a live well lived.