When it comes to the topic of plus size women and health, society would have you to believe that the two can’t coexist. There are myriads of people who believe that plus size people are lazy, eat all day, and have no motivation to live a healthy lifestyle. That couldn’t be anything more further from the truth. One of my biggest pet peeves as a plus size blogger is the judgement you receive about your size from people who don’t know you. Now don’t get me wrong. I get it. If you put yourself out there, especially on the internet, of course you’re going to be judged by people who don’t know you.
Since I started blogging about loving your body, I’ve been accused of promoting obesity and I’ve had people go out of their way to search for my photos, tell me how much they like my style and then in the same sentence say, you look so unhealthy. You can’t be healthy at your size. I often wonder to myself, how could they know about my health without knowing me or being present at my doctor visits? Furthermore what is the picture of health? It’s very hard to determine someones health just by looking at them. Even Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie was recently attacked by a white house doctor saying that he is unhealthy without even knowing his medical history. As the adage goes, never judge a book by it’s cover.
You never know where someone has come from to get to where they are now. A once 500 pound person could be a happy and healthy 200 pound person after years of hard work and sweat, and all the world sees is that she is still plus size.
Photo Credit: Heytheretrivera
For the record, I don’t promote obesity, what I do promote and will not apologize for is women having the right to feel comfortable with themselves. I stand for women who want to look in the mirror and not feel disgusted, I stand for women who no longer want to be afraid to take pictures from the chest down because it has been embedded in their brain that they don’t look good because of their size. I stand for these women to to be able to wake up each day and have countless moments where they’re not thinking about a number on a scale or how many rolls they have. Every woman deserves to have those moments where they feel beautiful and confident in their body.
There’s an unhealthy stigma that plagues plus size women. Plus size women go to the gym, they do yoga, they are dancers, and they play sports just like everyone else. I was so happy when ESPN put Amanda Bingson on the cover because it showed a different side of bigger women and it shows that you don’t have to be skinny to be athletic.
So many plus size women do yoga and can do all the twist and turns that comes with practicing yoga. Plus Model Magazine recently featured the #sizedoesntmatter challenge which has numerous photos of plus size women doing yoga poses.
As a proud plus size woman, I have been on both sides of the weight fence. I grew up skinny with a pot belly and used to get teased for being too skinny. I actually didn’t start gaining weight until 8th grade. By the time I graduated high school, I was about a full figured size 16 and dubbed by society as plus size and by the BMI as overweight. Thanks to the women in my family, I was taught to be confident no matter my size. Even as I got bigger over the years, transitioning from a size 14/16 to a size 18/20, diet and exercise have always been important to me.
What society may be surprised to know is that plus size women go to the gym, walk, run on the treadmill, lift weights, do bike, and yoga just like any other regular person. There are plus size women who work hard just to maintain their size and not gain anymore weight.
Last year Glamour did an article asking this question,“Can you be fat and healthy?“ They spoke with Dr. Linda Bacon, PHD who is the author of, “Healthy at Every Size” Dr. Linda said you can absolutely be fat and healthy. Her exact words were, “If you’re fat but fit—meaning you can be active for 20 to 30 minutes—you can live longer than people who are thin and out of shape! She then went on to say, “If you eat a good diet and exercise, you’re likely to be healthy, no matter what the scale says.”
The world needs to understand that plus size people, fat people, big people, whatever you want to call us, are not couch potatoes but people who care about our health. There is actually a movement going on among plus size bloggers. It’s called healthy curves. Relationship blogger Cece from “The Big Girl Blog” actually uses her Instagram and Twitter to connect with plus size readers all over the world about their fitness routines and allows them tag and share their healthy meals. She uses the hash tag #pspfit which stands for plus size princess fit. Last year she hosted a fitness event at a NYSC gym in New York City that brought together women of all sizes. They worked out with a trainer and even had a Q&A about the ups and downs of plus size women getting healthy.
Plus size blogger Shainna Tucker from “A Thick Girls Closet” does a monthly challenge with her readers that entails doing a number of fitness moves every day. Last month she challenged her followers to do 100 squats a day.
Plus size blogger Sarah from Queen Sized Flava (the beauty in the first and third photo’s) shares her journey to being plus size and healthy on her blog. She posts pictures of her workouts and even shares positive messages with her readers.
As women we all have comfort zones. It’s important to be true to yourself and honest with yourself about your body and your health. If you’re not happy at the size you are then change it. Small steps lead to big changes. What’s even more important to know is that you’re beautiful no matter your size and to know that it is your responsibility to take care of your body and keep it fit regardless of your size.
And to everyone who thinks that plus size people can’t be healthy, Don’t believe the hype, plus size women workout an live healthy lifetstyles.
Checkout this video from Gym Bitch that shows plus size women being athletic and working out.
This article was originally posted on February 26,2013 and updated on August 11. 2015.