Study upon study has proven that it is more important to focus on living/eating healthy rather than just “being skinny” for healthy living. One major issue that perpetuates the misconception that skinny = healthy is the fact that other health professionals (doctors, nurses, etc) often focus on weight to help decrease risk for certain diseases or disease progression. Although it is true that excessive weight (if all other aspects of lifestyle are disregarded) may put certain people at risk, there are far more aspects to look at when evaluating a persons health. Perpetuating the idea that higher weights translate into unhealthy lives is also the result of weight bias in non health professionals.
On a similar note, ff you or someone you know can relate to the questions below, you may want to consider learning more about disordered eating (check out ANEB Quebec for more information):
I think that people who are thinner than me are happier and have a better life?
I am extremely afraid of getting fat?
I have difficulty maintaining an appropriate weight for my age, sex, and height? (a BMI between 20-25).
If the above facts don’t change your mind about weight versus health, consider this: other studies have proven that people who focus on health and healthy living while making changes to their lifestyle (i.e. an overall improvement in their eating and activity habits) actually lost more weight than those people who only focused on losing weight. Imagine that! While not focusing on the numbers and the scale, people actually made more meaningful changes! This along with the fact that those people who “love” their bodies, accept their shapes and have higher self esteem tend to live healthier lifestyles (compared to those who have low self esteem and are unhappy with their shape/body) are great example that positive health goals can lead to positive changes.
So let’s recap- focusing on healthy living rather than a specific weight (or losing weight) may lead more naturally to weight management and accepting and respecting ones body also leads to healthier living….perhaps the concept that thinking negatively (believing you have no willpower, are not motivated enough, are not good enough, not worth it) may actually lead to “negative” results.
Picture from Equilibre.ca