Do You Love the Skin You’re In?

Did you see the unretouched photo of actress Jamie Lee Curtis in 2002?  It was taken when she was 43 years old. Jamie insisted the photographer, Andrew Eccles,  shoot her with no makeup, no manicure, no hair styling – wearing only an exercise bra and underwear. She did not want the photo altered in any way. She said this was her contribution to stopping the Hollywood Myth of what women are supposed to look like.

Of course, it isn’t just Hollywood that contributes to the myth. There is a Beauty Industry  with products and advertising to tell us how to make our hair, skin, teeth and clothes conform to some standard of beauty;  a Weight Loss Industry that tells us we are too fat; a Cosmetic Surgery Industry to turn back the hands of time, and an Exercise Industry that is often advertised as a way to improve our looks.

How big is the  ‘Myth of Perfection’ Industry? The Global Beauty Market (hair care, skin care, cosmetics, fragrances) is expected to reach $265 billion in 2017. The Weight Loss Industry in the U.S. (New Year’s resolution gym memberships, weight-loss programs, diet food programs) takes in $60 billion per year. The Global Cosmetic Surgery industry is currently worth over $20 billion. The American Teeth Whitening Industry is $11 billion a year.

What is Body Shaming? – Are You a Victim of It? Do you do it to yourself or others?

Body-shaming (criticizing yourself or others because of some aspect of physical appearance) can lead to a vicious cycle of judgment and criticism. Messages from the media and from each other often imply that we should want to change, that we should care about looking slimmer, smaller, and tanner. And if we don’t, we worry that we are at risk of being the target of someone else’s body-shaming comments.
– Erika Vargas, MA, Walden Eating Disorders –

It’s not anyone’s place to shame a woman’s figure because it doesn’t meet their own personal (possibly unrealistic) expectations. And yet it happens, again and again, all the time. Sometimes it’s brazen, but often it’s subtle. Body-shaming might not look the way you would imagine. It’s not always as obvious as calling someone too fat or too skinny — sometimes it’s the suggestion that a certain cut of clothing isn’t “flattering” on people built like you. Regardless of the form it takes, one thing that’s for certain is that there is still far, far too much of it.
– Hannah Westmoreland Murphy, Romper, Feb 1 2016 –

Are You Really ‘Too Fat’, or are you a Victim of an Overzealous Obesity Campaign?

Conversations about Obesity often lump the Overweight class in with the Obese Classes:

The 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey says “more than 60 percent of adults were overweight or obese, with 24 percent being overweight and 37 percent obese.” The US Surgeon General says: “The crisis is obesity. It’s the fastest-growing cause of disease and death in America. And it’s completely preventable. Nearly two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese.”

When Overweight and Obese data is lumped together like that, the statistics include everyone who is a few pounds overweight to everyone who is several hundred pounds overweight. It makes the statistics on Obesity very alarming, but not very accurate.

Ewes not fat, ewes fluffy

I don’t think there is an ‘epidemic’ of Overweight people. In Canada , folks in the BMI designation of overweight (but not obese) have formed about 35% of the population since at least 1978. Remember, people in the overweight category include athletes who have more muscle mass than couch potatoes, a rapidly aging population that gains weight as their muscle mass and rate of burning calories declines, and all the women who put on a few pounds with the birth of each child and isn’t ever going to be High School slim again. I think that if it wasn’t for the Diet and Weight Loss Industries, most overweight people would think they were about as Normal as the ones in the “Normal” BMI category.

There is increasing evidence too, that Overweight people are at no more risk of disease and death than Normal weight ones. The results of a study at the University of Manitoba echoes other studies that have found little evidence to support the accusations that people in the Overweight category are unhealthy.

A Picture Story

Here are images of Women’s bodies as they correlate to BMI (Body Mass Index.)

What is your reaction to the body shapes as you look at them from left to right? Is the emaciated body on the left in a size ‘0’ a better body to own than the one on the right in a size ’28’? From a long term health perspective – if both women exercise, eat properly and make good lifestyle choices – health outcomes could be similar.  Unfortunately, the two body types won’t have the same social acceptance.

Stand in front of the mirror, with no make-up or clothing on. Do you accept and love yourself for who you are?

The Beauty Industry doesn’t let us forget that skinny is beautiful, but fat isn’t. Yet, Kathy Bates, Aretha Franklin and Oprah Winfrey are just a few of the more famous voluptuous women who don’t let weight get in the way of ‘living large’.

Living Large Cocktail: ¼ Dreams, ¼ Goals, ¼ Action, ¼ Courage
– Kerstin Wyman, EzineArticles –

Turn your focus away from what you look like and toward how you feel. For instance, you may look in the mirror and think you need to lose 15 pounds. But are you eating right? Are you taking care of your body? Are you being gentle and self-supportive? Are you healthy? If you can answer yes to these questions, consider that good enough. True health isn’t about fitting into a certain size or losing the muffin top — it’s about cultivating an internal state that supports a glowing, confident, and happy “external” you.
– Dr. Sooji Rugh, mbg, Feb 4, 2014 –

11 thoughts on “Do You Love the Skin You’re In?

  1. My doctor told me if I could get my weight down 60 pounds I would go from obese to just plain fat. With that encouragement
    I have been working hard and dropped 20 pounds only 40 to go then I will be proud to be just fat.

    Like

    • It sure is a lot easier to gain weight than lose it (especially as we get older), so congrats on your achievement! According to the BMI charts, I’m overweight – but I like to think I’m just a bit ‘fluffy’…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always struggled with my weight. 37 years ago when I got married I was sure I was fat….if I could only be that fat again (big sigh). My grandkids think I am perfect so, while I will try to lose weight, I will not stress about it.

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    • I know what you mean! I’ve always been short and broad shouldered – the typical ‘stocky’ kind of gal. A few years ago, one of my friends, who was the same height as me, asked me to try on her dress so she could measure to shorten it. It had a back zip, and fit perfectly over my hips and waist and mid way up my back. That was where our body similarity ended, and so did zipping up the dress!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a great post! Lots of individuals are constantly being reminded that being skinny is having the “perfect” ideal body like you mentioned in your post about The Beauty Industry not letting us forget that skinny is beautiful. Such as detox teas products that are constantly being endorsed by celebrities and influencers on social media. It’s these types of industries that mess with our minds and urge us to purchase their products or undertake their programs in order to achieve what is accepted in society. Not only are these teas damaging to our bodies if they contain laxatives, going on detox tea diets and constantly criticising one’s own body is more likely to trigger eating disorders and long-term health concerns which I’m trying to raise awareness for on my blog. I hope women are able to accept the skin that they are in and are taking care of their body, eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    C.C

    Like

  4. I certainly see more individuals who are ‘overweight’ (and/or obese) now than in the past, and it saddens me (especially the young people who will, naturally, gain even more weight as they age, and the young children who are allowed to sit for hours in front of TVs and computers instead of being outside and active). There are many, many factors at play in this ‘epidemic’ (including our more sedentary lifestyles/workplaces; the appeal and availability of highly processed, fatty foods; a lack of focus on health and fitness in schools; the belief that ‘being fat doesn’t mean you’re not fit’ [even when the opposite may be true]; a backlash against all the media messages saying we’re ‘too fat’, ‘too wrinkled’, ‘too unattractive’, etc.) While I agree that its vitally important for women (and men) to respect the ‘skin they’re in’, its also important for them to manage their weight and fitness levels to remain healthy and active into their ‘old age’. Without a proactive and positive ‘healthy living’ plan (not necessarily related to how ‘thin’ or ‘attractive’ they are, but to how they FEEL in their own bodies, whatever the size or shape), I am afraid many will face an uncomfortable and possibly dire future.

    As for myself – I was a ‘skinny minny’ most of my life; after 40 I started putting on 2 – 3 pounds a year and by 55, I was 35 pounds heavier than I’d ever been except during my pregnancies. I had difficulty walking up inclines, my knees ached, my back repeatedly ‘went out’, I had trouble sleeping, I felt like crap most of the time (and ‘comforted’ myself with carbs and sugar). One day I stepped on the scale and saw a number I just couldn’t live with. I designed my own ‘healthy eating plan’ (using smaller plates to accommodate smaller servings, consuming less bread and ‘junk’ food, consuming more salads and water [instead of juice and pop and wine and beer]), started walking around the neighbourhood every day, began taking the stairs instead of the elevator, lifted light weights during TV commercials [and cut my TV and computer time significantly]). I didn’t deprive myself of the occasional indulgence, but I was vigilant and committed. In 3 months, I had lost 15 pounds; it took another year to lose the second 15, and since moving to the country (with 4 acres of land to take care of, lots of gardening to do, and a 2.5 km walk ‘to the corner and back’) I’ve lost a further 5 and quite a few inches here and there. I’ve accepted that fact that I’ll never look like I did at 30 (or even 45), but I’m okay with that – because I’m fit and healthy and active (and I can keep up with my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter on her busiest days; unfortunately far too many of my friends can’t say the same because they’ve accepted being ‘fat’ (and here I’m talking a BMI of 30 or more) as their fate, which is very, very sad (in my opinion).

    I agree that its important to love who you are, but if you don’t have the energy to enjoy it, then are you really ‘healthy’?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congrats on your achievements, Margo! You certainly have found what works for you!

      I guess that is the important thing – each and every one of us has the right to decide what our body looks like, and no one has the right to criticize or shame us. The stigma against fat people is, in reality, a prejudice. There are no laws that make it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of body fat, but that doesn’t mean it is right to do so!

      Like

      • I agree. Its encouraging to see ‘larger size’ (i.e., NORMAL) women being featured in magazine and TV ads, and to read about designers refusing to hire ‘size 0’ models to showcase their clothing (seriously, how is a size 0 even possible? wouldn’t that mean the person doesn’t exist?!?!?!?)

        Liked by 1 person

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