How To Be Healthy At Any Size
Americans are internationally known for being overweight, and it’s an especially big perception for African-American women. Seventy-nine percent of black women are overweight and 53 percent of all black women are considered obese. Those numbers represent a significant jump from ten years ago, when 39 percent of all black women were considered obese. Are these numbers the backlash of a rising fat acceptance movement?
Celebrity model Tyra Banks has incorporated plus size models in her popular reality show America’s Next Top Model. She said her new mission is to cast a group of aspiring plus-sized models for the competition. “Plus-size is really the average American woman and that woman is healthy,” Banks has said. Some doctors have supported this notion arguing that lifestyle and genetics are what determine health, not a woman’s dress size. Other experts, however, cringe at the thought of anyone associating being overweight with being healthy.
Here are 4 tips on how to live healthy at ANY size:
1. Accept your size. Love and appreciate the body you have. As long as your body is not hindering you from living a full life (limited movement, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc), self-acceptance empowers you to move on and make positive changes.
2. Trust yourself. We all have internal systems designed to keep us healthy — and at a healthy weight. Support your body in naturally finding its appropriate weight by honoring its signals of hunger, fullness, and appetite. When your body starts giving you clues like swollen areas, parts of your body start functioning different, then you probably need to change your lifestyle.
3. Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. This is key. Develop and nurture connections with others and look for purpose and meaning in your life. Fulfilling your social, emotional, and spiritual needs restores food to its rightful place as a source of nourishment and pleasure.
- Find the joy in moving your body and becoming more physically vital in your everyday life.
- Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and seek out pleasurable and satisfying foods.
- Tailor your tastes so that you enjoy more nutritious foods, staying mindful that there is plenty of room for less nutritious choices in the context of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.
4. Embrace size diversity. Us humans come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Open to the beauty found across the spectrum and support others in recognizing their unique attractiveness.
The Case For Healthy Fat
For decades doctors have used BMI (body mass index) to determine whether a patient is at a healthy weight. Anyone scoring above or even below the normal range of 18.5-25 is considered potentially unhealthy. New research, however, disagrees with that notion.
“The correlation between weight and health is greatly exaggerated,” says Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health. Studies have found that people with BMIs in the overweight range have lower incidence of lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, anemia and osteoporosis than those in BMI ranges below them. A long-term study published in the journal Obesity found that people with BMI scores in the overweight range have a lower risk of mortality than any other BMI group.
In other words, junk in the trunk can be beneficial. Hip, butt and thigh fat is chemically stable fat which traps…