I've been thinking about something lately. Actually, I've been thinking about it for quite a long time, but during the last couple of weeks the subject has taken center stage because a well-known size advocate has lost some weight.
Jessica Weiner has lost 25 pounds. For most people this wouldn't be front page news, but because Jess has long been a recognized body image expert who has written books and appeared on television promoting loving yourself at any size, suddenly it is. She has come forward in a national magazine to talk about her health crisis and why she has lost weight. A visit to her doctor showed that the numbers were not good - and this doesn't mean the numbers on the scale. Issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol were affecting her health and well-being. The doctor suggested that she eat better and exercise...and lose at least a little bit of weight to get those numbers under control. She wanted to come out and explain all of this so people would know that she's doing this for her health... and not pass her on the street thinking that she's doing this just to be thin.
Since this came out, several other body image/size acceptance people have attacked her. They say she is selling out and even have gone so far as to say she is promoting certain weight loss products or companies. The only thing she has promoted is that she is eating whole grains and other healthy foods now, and that she is exercising regularly. It took her six months to lose those 25 pounds, and she still weighs over 200. It's not as if she starved herself skinny and worked out until she dropped. She is losing weight in a healthy and sane manner and not selling anybody anything. All she wants is for people to love themselves AND be healthy. And her blood pressure and cholesterol are starting to get under control now.
I've often been at odds with these two ends of the spectrum...at the one end wanting to love myself at whatever size I am and at the other needing to take better care of myself and get in shape. After a lot of back and forth, I've discovered that the two are not mutually exclusive. We are all amazing and beautiful people no matter what the scale says, and that does not determine our self-worth. Nobody should be sitting at home not living life because they don't think they look good enough yet. But part of loving ourselves is taking care of ourselves. Eating good foods instead of chemicals and junk, getting exercise on a regular basis and doctor checkups are all essential to being a healthy human being. No matter where the number on the scale ends up, the other numbers on our medical charts must be taken into consideration. It doesn't need to be one extreme or the other!
It's a complete shame that some people think that Jess should just have ignored her health concerns and continued the way she had been because it suited THEM. I'm sure it took a lot for her, after finding herself in this situation, to come forward and explain...knowing she would be scrutinized the whole time. Would these people have been happy if she had done nothing about her health and something had happened to her because of it? They are thinking only of themselves and not her well-being. What they SHOULD be doing is thinking about their own health, realizing that taking care of yourself is not selling out - it's actually a form of self-LOVE.
So remember...this is not all or nothing. Live your life while you start taking care of yourself. You will live a longer and higher quality life if you take care of your health!