Myth: Skinny = Healthy
Over the last 5 or 6 years I have seen countless people, both in person and on social media stigmatise overweight people. Then complain themselves that they need to lose weight.
Let’s just start with this: We are not all naturally meant to be a size 6.
I used to think I was. I used to model while I was in school, and still remember getting absolutely shamed by a designer when I was 16 because I didn’t fit into the size 6 anymore. You know I was going through puberty and had grown hips and put on a few kg. This is only a mild case of stigma that I am talking about though.
Fact: Skinny doesn’t equal healthy
You could look at a girl who is 60kg and someone who is 90kg and assume the 90kg girl is overweight so out of the two they are unhealthier one. But what you don’t know is the 60kg girl starves herself, she is so unhappy in her body and she stops eating around friends, and is malnourished. Later in life she is going to suffer from brittle bones.
You don’t know anyone’s story, past or future. So you have no right to judge that person.
But still when we talk about health the first thing that comes into play is someone’s weight. Instead we should first look at nutrition, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption. Someone that looks skinny on the outside could be eating Mac Donald’s every day. They might not be gaining weight but they would definitely have a plaque build-up on their arteries.
A study done in 2002 showed that when you looked at BMI vs Mortality, Healthy behaviours and lifestyle habits significantly decreased a person’s mortality regardless of their starting Body Mass Index. SO why is it that we still focus on weight?
When we focus on weight the way our society currently does only exacerbates the problem. We see a decline in mental health, ruined relationships with food and a rise in quick fixes (aka fad diets) that don’t actually ‘fix’ anything.
I am not saying that extremes of weight gain hasn’t been linked with negative impacts on our physical health or predisposition to diseases later in life. But using overweight and obese as a blanket term to say someone is unhealthy is harmful and illogical.
People are not their weight, they are so much more. And more to the point our weight is not our sole determinant of health. Let focus less on weight loss and more on increasing healthy behaviours!