Last week, a post on the shrinking plus size marketplace, Where Have All The Plus Size Clothes Gone?, brought out strong feelings from many sides. An anonymous commenter left a passionate and thorough comment, with the main focus centered around the health issues associated with being plus-sized. While it is true that many who wear a size 12+ are unhealthy due to poor eating habits or lack of exercise, there are also those who are healthy, active and happy despite their size. I am one such woman.
I've always been larger than my peers in most ways. In 4th grade, I was 5'8". By 7th gade, I was 6'0" and wearing a size 9/10. I was so thin I was teased for having "chicken legs" yet I felt giant. Presently I am 6'2", a size 26 and wear a size 12 shoe - my point is, I have always been on the plus size side and even if I made every possible attempt to be "thin", I would still wear plus size clothing. I could be unhappy with my size and disappointed that I allowed myself to eat ice cream last night but that is not my personality. I celebrate the fact that I am a confident, beautiful woman and make no apologies for my size. If I am not happy with myself, how can I expect anyone else to be?
Jon Robinson created an entire approach dedicated to health and self-acceptance called Health At Every Size. There are three core components of Health At Every Size: self acceptance, physical activity, and normalized eating. Health professionals who believe in Health At Every Size have come together to form the Association For Size Diversity and Health. At the ASDAH website, you can locate a professional who can guide you to better health while being supportive of your journey.
From Robin Baskin, Vice President of E-Commerce for Hanover Direct - Silhouettes:
"Unfortunately our culture enables some unhealthy patterns. Routine consumption of fast food, meal portions that are too large, and lifestyles that are too sedentary. But regardless of this state of reality, taking ownership of one's health is without a doubt the responsibility of the individual, not a corporation. That being said, it’s important to consider the well-being of someone beyond their outward appearance. There are women who are very thin but are actually unhealthy, and others that are curvy and bigger boned but very healthy. Those larger women still want and need to look good. And it has to start somewhere. In my opinion, if a woman chooses to improve her overall fitness, feeling confident is where her journey of self-improvement begins. When a woman sees her reflection in the mirror as she's about to start her day, if she's happy with how she looks, how her clothes fit her and make her feel, it will hopefully encourage her to make healthier choices and keep the positive momentum going until she reaches her personal goal. Whatever that goal is."
Lets face the facts: everyone has something they want to change about their body. I have known size 0's who thought they were just as large as a size 26 and others who continuously pursue plastic surgery as a quick fix for what they're really unhappy with. Instead of being so concerned with what size we are or how we're not like someone else, make it a point today to tell someone how beautiful they are.
We are constantly evolving, facing new challenges and having to remind ourselves how fantastic we are. Take a lesson from Rachel Phipps, a teenager dedicated to making women feel better about themselves by founding Who Wants To Be A Size Zero Anyway. Check out her video "Socks & The City" below - you'll be glad you did.