“What size are you anyway?”
If you’ve ever been asked this, you have probably questioned the importance of the number on your clothing tag. In a world where body trends are constantly evolving; think 90s slender vs 20s tiny-waist and curvaceous hips, does your clothing size play a big role in how you assess your health status? Or even worse, how you assess the health status of someone else?
We’ve all done it. We’ve all tried to fit in a size smaller when buying clothing, nicknaming items of clothing as “your skinny jeans” or the “diet dress”. We then coax ourselves into believing that if we fit into that size, we must be healthy. Even if we have to starve ourselves and push our bodies to the maximum; in a very unhealthy way. Here is the million-dollar question, does your clothing size determine if you are healthy?
The simple answer: No.
Personally, I have been so happy to see the body-positive movement grow. As a child, I always struggled with the idea of being bigger. Born into a family with women who are “big and strong”, I felt like I didn’t fit into the dainty world of ballet. I sometimes hated putting on my leotard, knowing that it would show my every “flaw”, and battling with the inside voices of a girl, growing into a young woman. Until one day, my amazing coach sat me down and spoke to me. There was one thing that really stuck with me; she asked “are you strong enough to stand on your toes and do the dance?”. I answered back, “yes, I’ve trained for years to be able to do this!”, and she simply said “so then your body is exactly how it needs to be”.
And that’s exactly it. If your body can do it, why shouldn’t you?! Being big and strong as a woman shouldn’t be something we should be afraid of; in fact, it should be celebrated just as it is for men. If I have to reach for a size bigger in the clothing store to accommodate my muscular legs, why should I feel ashamed? Why should I feel that I need to be two sizes smaller to look healthy; meanwhile I’m fighting an internal battle that I won’t win.
The reality is that even if we all did the same exercises and ate the same things, our bodies would look different because we are all different; and beautiful, might I add. As a woman, I have come to love my body in all it’s phases. Yes, I still look at it sometimes and think I need to change something, but as I grow, I appreciate just what myself and my body have been through. With every new personal best, I celebrate that I am big and strong, even if it means my jeans are a bit tighter around my thighs. Why? Well, like I said earlier, your size does not determine your health.
We need to move out the narrative of looking at someone and determining whether they are healthy or not; the internal battle between loving and hating our bodies is already enough, we don’t need it from others too. Instead, we should revolve our definition of health around having healthy minds and healthy bodies. We should celebrate our bodies, even if we’re not completely happy with it right now, because it deserves to be celebrated. Whether you are a mother who is adjusting to a new body, a retired athlete who is taking time away from the gym after years of being at peak performance, a young woman whose body is changing or even just somebody who likes a sweet treat – your body is worthy of love in every stage.
You do not have to be a specific size to be healthy. You do not have to starve yourself into the “diet dress”. You do not have to look a certain way to do anything. You just have to be kind to yourself, and to others, who are trying to figure out the balance between a healthy mind and a healthy body.
And if you ever forget it, remember what my coach once said, “so then your body is exactly how it needs to be”.
Till next time!
Love and light,