There seems to be a dichotomy that exists when we talk about weight, You are either on the side of "Fat Acceptance" and you think that we should embrace all body types without judgement, or you are on the side of "Get off your ass, lazy fatty - you suck!" I would like to suggest a middle ground here, a middle ground located in healthlandia - where judgements on weight are based on how your body functions best and not how many ribs we can see.
Accepting obesity is unwise. I wish someone told me at a young age that life is easier when you are in good shape. It is true. As someone who has a family history of extreme obesity, any talk of making healthier choices was simply met with a loving, but misguided "She is fine - leave her alone." Not fine. It is not fine to carry so much body weight that you put yourself at risk for hypertension and diabetes. Not fine to be on the dark side of your healthy weight. Not fine to feel so self conscious that you can't have quality intimate relationships. Not fine to be so fat that your body can not function properly and you are prone to knee injuries, back injuries, and so many other ailments effecting your joints, cardiovascular health, digestive system - really, just everything.
On the other hand, we have dangerously reached the conclusion that the thinner you are, the better. Also unwise. Although every woman and girl I know is painfully aware of the top part of the healthy weight range scale, it seems like none of us are aware that there is a bottom number on the healthy weight range scale and that going below it is a risk - not a goal. Most fashion models have BMI numbers that are below what is considered healthy - and we ignore this fact and choose to idolize them instead. Unwise.
It is, however, fine to be a different shape than the person sitting next to you. In fact, anything else does not make any sense. Of course we are different shapes. I am not a thin girl. I am just not. And it has taken me 40 years to realize it -but for me, being a size 12 is being in good shape. Could I lose weight and make my body so thin that my head looks like a giant lollipop, I could. But I have low blood pressure, I am strong, flexible, and capable of serious cardio, so I am probably not going to.
I gained about 10 lbs over the holidays and I am not happy about it. My clothes still fit, just not the same as before. My editor/husband is most upset by this because of the lingerie embargo happening in my house. (Editor's note: I am confused - come on woman! Put some lingerie on, give a man a break! You look great! Lingerie is stretchy for a reason. Slap some lace on that 10 extra pounds!!!!) He can not tell the difference between October Karen in lingerie and January Karen in lingerie. (Editor's note: I really can't.) But I can, and that is really all that matters. I am making steps to stay in the healthy range. Healthy - not sample size, not gaunt and anemic, not so thin I loose my boobs - just back to a range where I am not increasing my risk for joint pain and disease.
(This is me pre-lingerie embargo).
Editor's note: Stay away from my wife
It is really very simple. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself. Love yourself enough to feed yourself well. Love yourself enough to move your body. And, most importantly, love yourself enough to dismiss fashion magazine images and opinions about beauty that don't work for you. Obesity is a problem, but you don't have to make it your problem. Thin obsession is a problem - but you don't have to make it your problem.