For many of us, it seems like the image presented by the media of the “ideal” body type is extremely thin. I agree with this perception, although I am an adult woman who has yet to see a triple-digit number on the scale. Because I recognize that all women do not look like me, and many would not want to.
I didn’t choose to be thin. I’ve just been this way for as long as I can remember. There are people who come up to me while I’m serving myself food and say, “That’s all you’re eating? No wonder you’re so skinny.” As if being skinny is a defective quality and it’s okay to publicly criticize how much food is on my plate or what my body looks like.
Imagine if I went up to that same person and said, “You’re eating all that food? No wonder you’re so fat.” That would not be okay. And neither is their unsolicited commentary on what they think of my eating habits or weight.
The sad thing is, I know that some of the same people who are quick to comment negatively about my weight now would be the first to find fault with my body if I gained a few pounds.
I’ve seen thin women gain weight and then say that they no longer feel as confident or attractive, even if they’re healthier now than they were before. Or that their moms are telling them to lose the weight they gained, so that they can get married (don’t even get me started on that!).
I’ve also had countless women come up to me and tell me about how they used to be as slim as I am…before they had four children. And I’m just thinking about how sad it is that this woman gave birth to beautiful little human beings and is now feeling bad that her body doesn’t look the same as it did before it went through that strain. She produced a miracle, yet is feeling ashamed of the toll it took on her body.
Women deal with enough pressure as it is, without getting scrutinized by each other in this way. We really owe it to each other to not put one another down, especially for something as superficial as body weight, or our looks in general. The only person who should be commenting on a woman’s weight is their doctor, for the purpose of keeping them healthy.
If there’s one message I can give to the women and girls out there about their bodies, based on my experiences, it would be this: Enjoy your life. Eat delicious food. Exercise. Appreciate your body and take care of it. Worry less about how many pounds you weigh and more about how healthy and energetic you feel. Look in the mirror and remind yourself that you’re beautiful. Spread that positivity to others and don’t hold back from giving compliments. Smile in the face of those body-shamers while continuing to live as you want to. You can’t make everyone happy all the time and that’s okay.