I’ve been spending my morning searching health and wellness websites and blogs, and I’ve been rather shocked by how often a search for health and wellness turns up a website about diet and exercise. While I do believe that fitness and healthy eating are important to a healthy life, the message seems to be that being thin equals being healthy.
I used to believe this myself, and I spent inordinate amounts of time trying to be thin even though my body is happier on the curvier side. Then, I became terribly ill, and was unable to eat or keep down food for over a year and a half. My body shrunk down to the thinnest I had been since graduating high school. All of my bones were visible through my skin, and I barely even needed to wear a bra.
It was weird just how many people thought this was an attractive look for me. People started stopping me in parking lots and asking for my number. One woman even asked me if I was famous. Another person who was close to me, and knew what I had been through, said, “You look great. Have you been working out?”
Instead of enjoying this attention, it made me angry and sad that the message that thin equals healthy and beautiful is so pervasive in our culture. I was not healthy. I was literally starving to death. Through this experience, I got a taste of what it must be like to live with an eating disorder. Although you’re slowly dying, well-meaning people keep saying that you look great. What a confusing message.
Having recovered my health as well as my former curves, I do my best to love my body and myself just as I am. Being model-thin didn’t make me happy, like I had once believed it would. In fact, I had never felt worse than I did at that time, and I hope never to feel that bad again. In sharing this story, I hope to empower others to love their bodies just as they are. That doesn’t mean that you don’t do your best to live a healthy lifestyle. It simply means that you are worth more than what you look like. You are worthy of love and belonging just as you are, and you are especially worthy of your own love. So, give your body a hug and thank it for carrying you through life and helping you to experience the world. You deserve it.