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Yes Health IS about Size : But Health is also not about Size.

Posted Nov 09 2013 12:00am

I do not seem to have very much to say these days : I have grown mellower and less opinionated over time . But the issue of seeing exercise/food as a *shrinking*  enterprise is something that I still feel vocal about .
I keep telling  women that while it is not wrong to have an Aesthetic goal, it is often possible to choose a wrong goal when Aesthetics are the chief motivation . An ideal shape , as projected by models/actresses who dominate our visual and mental space is not attainable by many women who have a different Body Frame/ Body type. Not unless they choose to trash their metabolisms and insult their physiologies.So we must choose our goals with a lot of respect and compassion towards ourselves.
When I tell them not to try extreme diets and endless exercising to get fashionably thin, I frequently find this question thrown back at me : Why Workout then ? Why Eat Clean then ? Why are you trying to confuse people ? What are you trying to say ? Are you trying to defend being fat ? Are you saying this because you are not the perfect size ?
At the outset let me say : YES ! I am a Big woman .And I am also rather fit in the sense that I can out cardio and out lift many young bucks of either gender in the Krav Maga class I frequent.So I will of course defend my size .More so, for I know that shrinking always makes me weaker rather than stronger .And that the strongest women in martial arts are not the Ectos but the Mesos and Endos.
Note that I am NOT saying  that *all thin girls are on the brink of bodily disaster *, or even that *all non-thin women are paragons of fitness and good health*. I grant that there maybe women like Lakshmi Menon or Padma Lakshmi who are  members of that smallish Ectomorphic frame who have far lower than average BMIs  and can eat pretty much anything, maybe do some cardio or Zumba occasionally and still look like swimsuit models. And there may be a lot of complacent aunties around you who may take pride in their elephantine proportions while tucking in Oreos and pastries.This kind I call unhealth at any size.
However, there is the fact that while  somehow we have come to identify tiny waists , tiny busts and slim. thigh gapped legs and slim boyish hips as indicators of physical superiority, this ideal is a Wrong Goal for a majority of Adult women. Also for a majority of overweight women who got into fitness to get fitter/thinner.Please keep in mind that many women who are fashionably thin may have traded heavily to get taht way.They may have deprived their systems of important nutrients to get so slender. They may have taken harmful drugs or undergone surgery to create a façade that nature never intended. Or they may have been extensively Airbrushed.  
So while Thin maybe healthy for the naturally thin : It may also be decidedly unhealthy for many who aspire to thinness . 
Being healthy means eating right and exercising regularly. If you’re a size 14 who does her cardio/weights 4 days a week and steers clear of junk food, you may be way healthier than a size 0 who never has to lift a finger to maintain her figure.
  •  As someone who exercises and eats well you will be able to bounce back faster from injury or illness
  • Will experience fewer problems as you age.
  • May sail through major life events /changes smoothly (Menopause, Retirement ,Empty nest).
  •  May live longer. 
  • Even if you are exactly the size and shape you want to be, don’t think for a minute that you should stop working out or getting your daily protein fruit and veggie fix. Your body needs movement , fresh air, sunshine and good food no matter what .
    Yes , Health IS about size and being in shape : If you are too big or too small, you are putting yourself at risk.
    But health is also NOT about size. Thin and healthy are not synonyms, and the most important thing you can do for your body is to care for it properly. Just because you’ve gained 5 kgs doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly become unhealthy – and it CERTAINLY doesn’t mean that you’re bad, that you’ve failed, or that people love you any less. And just because you’ve lost 5 kgs doesn’t mean you’re done.
    I know it is far easier to say this than to believe this  and I am myself not immune from a groan of dismay when I see the weighing scale creeping towards right . But I am equally mystified by its arbitrary movements to the left when I have been actually carbing up or missing workouts.I guess, an honest ,self-care based Lifestyle is the Biggest favour we can do to ourselves, whatever be our size or shape.
    Yes I agree size and shape debates are soo very silly. And we need to get above them .
    Then there comes someone who breaks my heart with tales of being bullied in school because they were plump.Or that they got into fitness to get glamorous.Or someone who is starving to get thin. 
    So there maybe some Right Thinking on this tired topic, still left to do; I believe. Trust me, if you keep Self Care and Regular Movement as a permanent Agenda Item ,you will place less trust in the scale and more trust in your Body.And will be actually be able to say Boo to anyone who tries to belittle your size or shape .
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