What is healthy?

* Gentle Disclaimer – there are lots of pictures with some including nudity. Deal with it or stop reading.

I’ve been reading through some running magazines and also going through various articles on the internet. There are times when I scroll through facebook to find something funny that’s posted. One of the pages I subscribe to is “Empowering Women”. It’s a great page with a lot of great facts about women conquering etc.

I came across a picture that made me stop and think.


(please note the grammar error…. it should be “then” not “than”….. pet peeve)

I often have conversations with my psychologist about what healthy is and what it looks like. <Insert one of those “body drawings” and apparently I am WAY off> The person I drew was nothing like the person she traced (this was one of the few times I’ve been wrong in my life J ). It was probably just as distorted as this picture here:


Our conversations are always about what healthy looks like, and I can honestly say I have no idea what healthy looks like. I’ve been overly concerned about my growing size. I’m realizing that I cannot accurately assess what healthy is because of the distorted view I have of myself with my “fat goggles” on (as she would call them). I can see other people and guess what healthy is, but it’s hard to tell. This is the grey area that I continually search to find.

Coming back to that first picture…. I’m not really sure if America knows what healthy is. We see messages about trying to diet and be thin (we all know them), and in attempts to “take back the power” we start embracing our curves (which I’m trying very hard to do with my new body). The only problem is — the curves that are screaming in our face are those bordering obesity. You don’t have to be “overweight” to “love your body”. Our extremes of “beauty” isn’t promoting a “healthy side” – especially with the obesity epidemic in America. I can say that as I search for my healthy weight, healthy eating, and living a healthy life; I don’t see it as obesity.



So, in our push to “take back the power” why is there no focus on the in-between? In the early 90s, models were wearing a size 4-6 and sometimes an 8. When did we have to take it to the complete opposite end of the scale to regain power?

Naturally, our bodies are supposed to be “soft,” as my psychologist says. I trust her and what she says makes sense. We are supposed to have “extra padding” and curves – it’s how women were made:

001                        002


If you notice… even on the Sistine Chapel, women are strong and at a “normal” size, but we are not supposed to have healthy problems. We are not supposed to eat as much processed foods and we are not built to over eat. If we eat when we are hungry, and stop when we are full, our bodies will fall into an area where we are to be healthy, but that area is not obesity, nor is it anorexia. Because of ou messages, I (and probably many others) are so confused about what healthy looks like).

p4     p1



(side note…. seriously, who looks like this working out???)

We’ll take a pause and mention “fitspiration”. If you haven’t read my post about fitspiration, here is the link.  In my opinion, fitspiration doesn’t count as the definition of healthy. There is a degree of being healthy and that defies it. There is a healthy balance in life of God, family, play and work. Maybe some want to spend so much time getting fit – and that’s okay for them – but again, I don’t think America knows what healthy is. So often, a person would have to spend hours at a gym lifting, marking food logs and planning to go to these extremes.




What happened to the happy-medium?

become hotter

Truthfully, I’m seeing that America might have the same “black and white” thinking that I do. The messages coming at us say, “if you’re not thin, you’re not beautiful” or “big and beautiful”….. where is normal in this? It’s noted that obviously “normal” comes in all shapes and sizes. A person who is a size 2 could very well be normal and healthy based on their frame. A person who is a 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 etc. could also be normal and healthy based on their size. Why do we forget them? We see both extremes. America doesn’t have to go to the extreme to “take back the power”. Instead of promoting “big and beautiful”, why don’t we promote “living a healthy lifestyle”.

One of the things I’m very thankful for, as I navigate through recovery, is the opportunity that I have to create a healthy relationship with food. For so long, so many messages about food have been thrown in my face about what is good or bad. We’ve all seen the commercials for 100 calorie snacks and the women who say they “no longer feel guilty enjoying ______” (because it’s only 100 calories). These messages, much like other ones, are incredibly skewed. Truthfully, we just need to learn how to listen to our bodies. America is so fast-paced, and too busy for everything, that we lack the ability to think and listen to our bodies. Because we don’t have the time to do so, we can only rely on the standards the media places on us.

001111       ideal

As women, I truthfully think we need to ignore the stereotypes that society puts on us and begin appreciating our bodies for what they are. There needs to be a push for learning what healthy is, and a push for listening to your body. Obviously we see the need of health knowledge as we are posting calories in what seems like every restaurant.

Being in constant war with your body might be one of the most difficult things to live through. We were given this one body to use while here on Earth…. rejecting it only leads to a never-ending battle and ultimately unhappiness. A true focus on eating well for health (more whole foods) and having variety can only benefit our society. Eating well not only leads to an understanding and vision of what our bodies are capable of, but also an overall feeling of wellness.

Something to think about:

Where do you stand with the understanding of what healthy is (healthy eating and a healthy body)?


5 thoughts on “What is healthy?

  1. I am also currently going through ED recovery. I struggle with the very same thing. Our society is full of extremes, not just with weight but it seems with everything from cars to houses! I was overweight most of my life until I lost 135 pounds. I lost my period and my body was deteriorating. I’m at a “healthy” weight but not for my body frame. I don’t know what healthy is for myself and as I struggle to figure it out I realize that the only thing I need to listen to is my body. It knows what it’s doing and I have to trust that. P.S. My therapist recommended your blog and I can relate to so much of what you say. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

  2. I’m so glad you find it helpful. I try to keep it positive and recovery focused because sometimes those are hard to come by. I’m not a pro or anything, but writing about these things seems to be beneficial.

    Letting your body figure things out is incredibly tough! It’s possible, but tough! I am still on that path of trusting my body to do what is necessary.

  3. As said in my own blog, I am also in recovery. I even went to a treatment center, myself. I think you make an interesting point here, about accepting the “normal” or showing more images of people within the “normal” weight range. I hear that, and, honestly, I do think I’m seeing that in today’s media, although there are far more images of very thin women out there. Definitely more than we see overweight/obese people in a positive light. I think that the more we tout the message of body acceptance/non-judgment the healthier (body & soul) we all will be. I think that our diet culture and the extreme bias against overweight people shames both women and men to diet, gain weight, and even develop eating disorders. While I think it’s important to have all sizes displayed, I think that the biggest stigma is currently surrounding the overweight, which is why I personally think it’s important to have the “big & beautiful” type of campaigns.

    • I think you’re exactly right and we need the “big and beautiful” but I think our focus needs to go to the average. For overweight people, the stick thin is too much….. but an average healthy body (that could very well be considered slightly over weight) is something that could be a healthy goal. I think you are correct about people feeling shame to gain and lose weight. the average in the middle can go so far for society.

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