As I was scrolling through my BBC app the other day, I came across a piece about an Ivory Coast artist: http://tiny.cc/zi1mhw His muse is the full figured women that surround him. As you scroll through his paintings the images and colors represent a sense of pride, happiness and maybe even fulfillment. It once again reminded me that thin wasn’t always in. At one point a full figured woman was a sign of prosperity – something to be honored and cherished. Nowadays, at least in America, the focus is on thin, thin, thin. Even though several leading ladies are honoring their “curvy” bodies, most of them are still pretty damn thin. And as much as we can both worship and hate these women, really, there’s nothing wrong with being thin OR full figured as long as you’re healthy.
Learning how to respect and understand your individual body is really the key. This isn’t easy. But it’s not as difficult as you think either. First things first, toss out all of those fad diet articles you come across. They won’t do you any good. Why? Because they are not made for your unique body. Think about it like this: like it or not, no matter how much you weigh at any given moment, you can fit into a pair of jeans in one size at the first store and not be able to get a leg into the same size jeans at the second. It’s frustrating, right? You feel good about yourself one moment and then the next deflated. Same thing goes with these diets. If you don’t understand your body and what works for you, you’ll always be disappointed. Maybe you feel good for a little bit but then you plateau, give up and you’re back to ground zero. Or maybe you never even take off in the first place because again it’s just not the right balance for you.
And, your body changes through the years. This doesn’t mean you have permission to be unhealthy, eat whatever you want and sit on your butt all day. What this means is that you have to continue checking in with how you feel as well as learn how to accept the changes that either time or experience has blessed you with. Under one of the captions of the artists’ paintings a woman is quoted saying “because in Africa when you have one or two children you take on a new form”…this is exactly it! As you age your body takes on a new form. It’s supposed to. And if you can learn how to accept it, live within it and continue to refine what it means to be healthy you’ll find a real since of pride, happiness and yes, maybe even fulfillment.