Why Thinner Isn’t Always Better
As I watched my profile in the mirror I wondered why having a flat stomach couldn’t be easier. Plenty of my friends had flat stomachs, even after having kids, but not me. And on most days I was cool with it, but this was just one of those days. You know the kind. As I stood there I thought, maybe I’m just bloated.
But the truth is, being thin has never been easy for me. And I actually grew to accept that about myself years ago. I lost weight in my early twenties in a very healthy manner and ended up with a body that made me smile. I wasn’t thin, but I was very happy with what I achieved and how I felt.
Now, all these years and pounds later, I find myself wondering why so many of us have been conditioned to think that thinner is always better. What is this misconception that thin wins? Frankly, I am pretty tired of it and I know I am not the only one.
The thing about striving for thin is that it doesn’t prove anything. Thinner doesn’t means healthier or happier. All it means is that you weigh less. That’s all. Now before the hate comments come from all the thin ladies out there, let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with being thin. Think chicks rock and I love my thin friends. But I just need to make the point that there is nothing wrong with not being thin.
Instead of focusing on thinness, we should be focusing on healthy living. What do you eat everyday? Do you exercise? How is your blood pressure and cholesterol? Do you get enough sleep? Do you drink enough water? In my opinion, the answers to these questions will always matter more than what size jeans you wear.
And what bothers me most about the “thinness factor” is the pressure I see moms put on themselves to get back into those pre-baby jeans, or the comparison games I see so many women play—games that will never lead to happiness. When you have a child, your body changes. If you are able to bounce right back, I think that’s pretty awesome. If you keep some extra weight, never wear the pre-baby jeans again, and love the skin you are in, that even more awesome because I know how much harder that can be.
I know there are so many campaigns out there that promote healthy body image, but I still feel like we need more. I still feel like we haven’t reached the root of the problem. My heart aches because I know so many moms, without ill intention, say negative things about their bodies in front of their daughters. I know that little girls are being made fun of at school by their thinner peers. I know that the thick girl who can run 5 miles nonstop is still thought of as less healthy than the thin girl who can barely run half a block.
If you are on a mission to get healthy and lose weight, I applaud you. I am on the same mission and I know it’s hard. But, like me, I hope your mission is not about being thin. I hope it’s about being well. I hope your quest for a long, healthy life leaves you with a body image that makes you smile. Our goal should never be to have someone else’s body—not even Beyonce or Rihanna. Our goal should always be to become the best version of ourselves—a version that makes us feel like we are pretty freakin’awesome just the way we are.
So the next time you look in the mirror and wonder why your stomach isn’t flatter, or why your hips have to be so wide, think of how well your body has served you over the years. Think about all you have done and will do for your children. Think about the fact that being thin on the outside will never make you happy. I hate to sound so cliché but happiness comes from within. Get things right in your soul and appreciate the body you have. Then, and only then, will you be able to make your health a priority, embrace what was given to you, and love the skin you’re in.
Martine Foreman is a life + relationship coach, freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, and speaker. To learn more about her work and get great tips on how to create a life you love, check her out at CandidBelle.