Recently, a blogger/mom wrote a post in which she claims that now, after years of roller-coaster weight loss/gains, she is “fat and happy.” She describes how when she was thin, it was because she was obsessed with workouts, ate only 1,000 calories a day and nitpicked every detail of her body. Essentially, being thin made her miserable. But now, she claims, she is overweight and happier for it. After she wrote her blog post, it went viral on social media. She was even interviewed on the Today Show. Women everywhere have applauded her for being brave and congratulated her on her self love.
So…am I the only one disturbed by this? I appreciate what this woman is trying to say: that the beauty industry encourages women to nearly kill themselves for the sake of being thin and that you aren’t considered beautiful unless you’re a size 4. I agree that the industry is the devil and makes women of all shapes and sizes feel insecure for not fitting into the “ideal” size that they’ve created. But to advocate that instead of starving yourself and working out until you collapse, you should “be unapologetically fat” is a bit extreme for me. Am I the only one?
I think the better message to women, especially young women, should be why not be healthy and happy? Why not be fit and happy? Why does one have to be “thin” or “fat” in order to be happy? Proclaiming the “joys” of being fat is just as bad as the beauty industry bullying us to be waifs in order to achieve happiness. The truth of the matter is: NEITHER EXTREME WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.
You know what will make you happy? Loving yourself. Taking care of yourself. Striving to be the healthiest, strongest, most balanced version of yourself that you can be. If that means that you are a size 14, but you are strong and fit and healthy–AWESOME! If that means you are a size 2 because you are naturally lean but you stay fit and eat right–FANTASTIC! Take care of the body that God gave you and you will be the PERFECT YOU. And you know what? You’ll probably be pretty happy.
How about instead of focusing on “fat” or “thin,” we start focusing on teaching women what it means to be fit and healthy? It means learning about nutrition and feeding your body real, whole food (which means if it comes in a box, it’s probably not good for you). It means learning about fitness and moving your body more (which means taking long walks, or going for a jog, or swimming a few laps in the pool, or having a dance party in your living room). It means throwing away your scale and forgetting about the number labeled on clothes and just finding the size that makes you feel good about the body you have right now.
Ladies, please hear me. Being thin will not make you happy. Being fat will not make you happy. Happiness is something that you cannot find on a scale. Learning to love yourself, exactly where you are and how you are, at this very moment in your life and then treating your body like the temple that it is…that is the only way you can be authentically happy with who you are.
To the woman who wrote the post that claims to be fat and happy, I really hope that’s not true. For your sake, for the sake of your children and those that love you, I hope you are HEALTHY and happy. Because if you are are healthy and happy, being fat or thin is neither here nor there. Those labels won’t matter anymore. If you are healthy and happy, you are teaching your children to live a healthy lifestyle and love themselves instead of teaching them that they must be one extreme or the other. I hope, for the sake of all those who read your words, that what you really meant was that you now strive to live a healthy, balanced life and THAT is making you happy. Otherwise, you are just as bad as the industry who advocates self-abuse and self-loathing.
As for me, I am neither fat nor thin. I am a beautiful mama of two amazing children. My body has done amazing things. My body is not as strong as it was before my babies came, but I am working on it. My goal is to eat healthy things and give my body the exercise it needs. And if I never fit into my size 8 jeans again, so be it. There are worse things in life. My happiness will not come from those jeans. My happiness will come from knowing that I am healthy, that I am teaching my children what it means to be healthy and that I am loving the person that God so fearfully and wonderfully made when he made me.
To be healthy and happy–that is something worth advocating. For the sake of all women out there struggling with whether they are too “thin” or “fat,” let’s just try “healthy”, shall we?