HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
You're not pretty...You're crazy beautiful!
Last week, I asked one of my new patients (I'll call her Sarah) if she thought she could let go of all her diet books and avoid going on crash diets. Sarah had tried everything from the Dukan diet to the cabbage diet and relied on these stuffs to plan her meals. But she wasn't getting healthier and was slowly becoming depressed as her weight kept spiraling upwards. She asked me what she could eat instead and started crying while I was going through the various options she had. Can you guess what upset her?
In case some of you think I suggested crappy, tasteless and weird-looking food choices, I didn't - I'm a real food RD and believe that improving your health doesn't need to come at the expense of taste. And all the options I gave Sarah were based on her taste preferences.
'But... How can I consume all this food - and you're saying that I can saute my chicken in coconut oil instead of steaming it!!! - and not end up as an ugly overweight monster (her words, not mine)? I'm already SO not pretty... I'm painfully aware of this every SINGLE time someone looks at me!' Sarah burst out.
So I dove in. And this is my message to anyone who believes (and feels bad about it) that body shape equals beauty.
You're not pretty: you're beautiful.
Because 'pretty' is a feeble word that means different things to different people and you don't really have a say on how people define what's pretty or not. So, some folks may find you pretty but not others? Who cares? You shouldn't because you're more than just a body shape; you're a unique individual with unique characteristics and there's so much you'll be able to offer to the world if you believe in yourself.
Your body shape is not what makes you beautiful.
The size of the jeans/dress you wear is not what makes you beautiful.
The reading on the scale neither defines who you are nor makes you less beautiful.
Because being beautiful isn't about how you look like; it's about who you are as a person. You could be an amazing wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother or friend; someone who lights up a room with her smile, support, unconditional love and affection. You could be someone who cares about others' wellbeing. You could be a grateful soul. You're so much more than just a body shape Bella.
Some of my patients tell me that I don't understand what it feels like to be criticized about my body weight. That's just not true - I won't go into details here because I know you have a life. Suffice it to say that whenever someone learns that I'm a dietitian, I get scrutinized from head to toe, I have the food police inspecting my plate at wedding dinners and even someone who said 'OMG.YOU'VE.BECOME.SO.FAT!' a few years ago at college when I went from 48kg to 55kg at 1.58m. And that hurt like hell.
But you know what I'll do in these situations now? I'll just shrug them off (and take a second serving of dark chocolate mousse because I just LOVE dark chocolate). Or I'll tell them 'Well, I think you're beautiful just the way you are,' and I'll walk away with a smile (digging happily in my chocolate mousse).
People who don't matter will never be happy with anything you do. So why adopt society's hateful views?
Focusing on society's norms for beauty is a surefire way to make yourself miserable. Because if you do, you'll have to keep changing yourself while suppressing the amazing soul you truly are. And eventually you will lose the real you. And that will be a sad day because there's no one else like you.
Repeat after me 'I AM BEAUTY.'
Lots of Love,
Submitted by: Shari