Healthy is NOT a Size or a Number on the Scale

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Lately I’ve seen a lot of things in the media about size and health. First there was a pictorial in PLUS Model Magazine that stated that models bigger than a size 6 are now considered in the industry to be plus-sized, and that the average runway model has a BMI equivalent to those with anorexia:

plus model magazine1 -(source)

Then there was this really awful advertising campaign to motivate parents and kids to tackle obesity by the State of Georgia:


Then there was this image that I found floating around Pinterest with the caption “Which woman would you rather be?”

ALL of these discussions relating size to health make me sick to my stomach because…

You can’t tell how physically (or even mentally) healthy a person is simply by looking at them.  Unfortunately in the debate on my Sunday night blog post and on the pin on pinterest that went with it, many people did try to reason why one of the women in the last picture was healthier than the other:

  • Ok hate to point out he obvious but the smaller women is healthier without a doubt! Also I don’t care what anyone says, obesity is not attractive. She may be a good person, but there are definite health issues here!
  • Superficially one would most likely answer the smaller woman. The smaller woman could have terminal cancer and a husband that abused her while the heavier woman could be healthy and in a loving and wonderful relationship. I would love to be “fit and healthy” but more than that, I want to be happy and healthy. Just because someone isn’t a size 2 doesn’t make them unhealthy.
  • The larger person might be happy and beautiful, but it’s pretty much a given that their health is suffering due to obesity. So many diseases and heath issues are linked to being obese – it’s just a fact.
  • Your right you don’t have to be a size two to be healthy, but obesity is not healthy! It’s about health not size! That larger women is not physically healthy, her weight can be just as unhealthy as cancer.
  • To try to convince yourself and everyone else that a person that big is beautiful is ignorant and ridiculous. I would never judge someone that’s big, EVER! I have a lot of friends that are obese, and I would never say or do anything to make them feel bad about it. But, I would also NEVER condone and support them either. It’s almost condescending to tell someone that it’s ‘ok” or “beautiful” to be fat. When in reality, IT’S NOT! We were not created to be that morbidly obese and unhealthy. Therefore, it shows disrespect to ourselves and to the One who created our beautiful bodies. We should be more willing to cherish our bodies, since it is a gift.. instead of everybody making excuses when we choose to destroy it.

In my opinion  I have come to the conclusion that healthy is:

  • being free from disease (both physical and mental)
  • being active for at least 30 min a day
  • eating 7-8 servings of fruits and veggies/day
  • eating .8g of lean protein per kg of body weight
  • drinking 74oz + of water/day
  • drinking only a moderate amount of alcohol
  • being smoke-free
Based on the definition of health above, we can’t SEE who is healthier in ANY of the images.

[Tweet “Healthy is NOT a size or a number on the scale -it’s being active and eating sensibly…”]

so why are we judging each other?

Let’s encourage and motivate all those around us to be as healthy as they can. Let’s lead by example. Judge not. Embrace and encourage. Motivate.

We all have the power to be healthy.

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  1. Jonathan Dunsky says:

    This is an excellent post.

    Even though there is a relation between weight and risk of disease, there are plenty of unhealthy thin people due to bad nutrition, lack of sunlight, or other issues.

    Assuming something always leads to mistakes.

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  4. I totally agree with you! We should not be judging one another, especially when it comes to health and appearances. You are right – we cannot SEE who is healthy in those images. How do we know the larger woman has not started “getting healthy?” and working out and eating right? I am overweight (and working on not being so) and while I used to weigh A LOT more, my “healthy” numbers (i.e. cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, triglycerides, etc., etc.) all came down to normal levels relatively quickly, even though I am technically not to my ideal healthy weight yet. I don’t look like either of the women in the picture, but you may be surprised to find I am healthier than others THINK I should “look.”

    Thanks for sharing! This is great for me and others to contemplate!

  5. Just some perspective – my dad is obese, yet his cholesterol is lower than mine, he has virtually no health problems, and he can run faster than me. He works a job where he must walk 8 hours a day but also goes to the gym everyday to do cardio and lift weights. He eats a very healthy diet full of veggies, grains, lean protein and fruit.

    So no, you cannot simply assume a person must be unhealthy if he or she is obese. My dad is a good example of this.

    If I don’t even mention my dad’s weight, a lot of people assume *I’m* the obese person, and that my dad must be skinny. But it’s actually the other way around. He’s obese, and my BMI is in the lower “normal” range.

    Judging people is pretty ugly, and I commend you for writing this post.

  6. Lynn~The Learning Curves Blogger says:

    There’s nothing uglier than a woman who judges another woman by her looks and/or weight. As a former anorexic, I can tell you that thinner does not mean healthier. At my lowest weight (84 pounds at 5’4″) I can pretty much assure you that the heavier woman in the above picture had a better chance of surviving than I did. I got lucky.

    If we really get out of our own Ego and come to terms with the fact that we are all going to die one day, and really embrace that, we will soon realize that being able to brag about the fact one is smaller than their friends, or wears a size 2 while under mining and speaking hateful towards each other is beyond pointless.

    I can guarantee you that I will not be on my deathbed wishing I could have lost that last 10 pounds or crying for one more chance at getting a flat stomach. Being healthy is important, being a good person is paramount, being accepting of not only yourself but others is something we should all strive for. Knocking someone else down in an attempt to make oneself look better is sad and pathetic.

  7. Heather Montgomery says:

    great post! ITA skinny does NOT equal healthy! I will never be “thin” and I am ok with that!

  8. Tara Burner says:

    AMEN! Totally agree and love this
    “so why are we judging each other?

    Let’s encourage and motivate all those around us to be as healthy as they can. Let’s lead by example. Judge not. Embrace and encourage. Motivate.”