Weighing In: It's OK to love your body at any size

Published on Saturday, 7 June 2014 18:40 - Written by Coshandra Dillard cdillard@tylerpaper.com

Fat shaming, or body shaming, seems to be the new buzz phrase. There’s been a tug-of-war between people who are standing up to those who criticize their size and people who insist their lifestyle is an unhealthy example not to be followed.

In our culture, women are inadvertently taught to dislike their bodies if it doesn’t reflect a supermodel’s shape, or more recently, the chiseled physique of an athlete.

There should be no tug-of-war because no one can tell someone’s health by appearance alone. Because the body mass index formula is outdated and flawed, how do we truly know who is overweight and obese? From the nearly zero-fat body builder to the women who have fat proportioned only in their lower body — the BMI one-size-fits-all doesn’t always give us a clear picture.

It’s been debatable for some time.

A 2012 European study found that people who are overweight or obese had no greater risk at developing heart disease or cancer than those with normal weight.

But just last month, a large study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, concluded that there is no such thing as obese and fit, or healthy and fat.

Confusing, I know.

So the solution would be to just be. Live as healthy of a lifestyle as you possibly can. For most people, the weight will come off. But for others, they may not see the same results due to genetics. Some people will never be a size 2 no matter what they do.

Videos of plus-size women doing “skinny women activities,” celebrities who speak on self-confidence at any size, and a remake of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover featuring plus-size women are among the growing cries that teach us about self-love and acceptance.

We celebrate weight loss success in these pages because it is a great feat. Losing weight is difficult but well worth it. With weight loss, people gain energy and can decrease the risk of chronic diseases.

As I’ve pointed out before, though, the goal should always be about health, not reaching a certain size. It’s great to want to look good, but health and fitness often means the difference between life and death.

In the meantime, whether you’re skinny, chubby or flat-out fat, it doesn’t give anyone the right — especially not yourself — to say you should be ashamed for how you look. You can be confident — and beautiful — with a muffin top, a beer gut or bony knees. It’s OK to love on yourself while you transition into another you.