Health comes in all shapes in sizes

Sophia Voight, Opinion Editor

Health and weight types are often presented as being one and the same, that beautiful and healthy means skinny while unhealthy means fat. It’s skinny vs. fat, healthy vs. unhealthy.

We have learned to equate health with being thin and tend to think that the way toward health is through weight loss and that those who aren’t of low weight are inherently unhealthy.

The way we view health goals shouldn’t focus on weight loss. Instead, it should focus on the well-being and happiness of each individual.

Dieting advertisements, TV, movies, social media and even areas of the medical world present getting thin as synonymous with getting healthy. But just because someone is skinny, that doesn’t mean they are the pinnacle of health.

Modeling health around weight can lead to dangerous outcomes of body image issues and eating disorders.

Graphic by Tatum Spevacek

Throughout middle and high school, my body image was always the first thing on my mind; I would constantly compare myself to the people I saw around me. I would count calories and feel terrible whenever I ate any food for fear of gaining weight.

I saw being skinny as being healthy and I thought under-eating and over-exercising was the path toward health.

It’s the promotion of specific weight types and body sizes through our beauty standards that are unhealthy.

Food-restrictive diets, fat-shaming and societal beauty standards tell people that being skinny is being healthy.

We need to reinvent our ideas of health and beauty away from what we are told looks good and move it towards what makes us feel good.

We tend to fixate on how to be perceived as beautiful by societal standards and neglect health and self-love.

While weight loss may come with exercise and eating healthy, the marker of good health should not be measured on waist size.

Health goals should stay clear of the toxic and predatory culture of beauty. Health and beauty should incorporate multiple facets of physical, emotional, social and mental health.
Feel good to look good, not the other way around.

Exercising, eating nutritional, well-proportioned meals, surrounding yourself with friends and getting adequate mental health services should be everyone’s health goals, never just simply losing weight.

We need to turn our attention on health away from looking good and achieving beauty standards and move it towards feeling good about ourselves and getting healthy.

Positive images of ourselves should come from our health and happiness and not overly ambitious beauty standards.