Why You Should Aim To Be "Healthy" Not "Skinny"
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Health and Wellness

Why You Should Aim To Be "Healthy" Not "Skinny"

It's easy to find yourself going down the wrong path when you follow your insecurities.

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Why You Should Aim To Be "Healthy" Not "Skinny"
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It's almost impossible to log onto social media without being bombarded by weight loss tips. From “the military diet” to Kylie Jenner advertising “fit tea,” these recommendations catch our eyes by banking on our insecurities.

I am not a doctor or nutritionist, as my knowledge is limited to my own experiences. But every time I see these promises to make people skinny being advertised, I feel a great deal of frustration—because it makes people focus on being skinny instead of healthy.

I want nothing more than for people to know how dangerous this mindset is, as it is a slippery slope for more serious problems down the road.

Whenever I see the “military diet” on Facebook and Instagram, I instantly feel uneasy. It’s a 3-day regimen that promises ten pound weight loss by eating only 1,000-1,400 a day. This amount is far from the calories needed to help your body survive, and the honestly, unless you keep up with the diet longer than 3 days (which you should not), you gain all the weight back regardless.

But it's not just that — the military diet encourages dangerous behavior.

When I was 14-15 years old, I became unhealthily fixated on my weight. I was actually quite skinny for my age and height range, but when I compared myself to other girls, I thought completely different.

It's a long story, but for right now, I’ll make it short. For months, I exercised excessively while eating the bare minimum, and the result was a messed up relationship with food. I eventually got better when I became an athlete and had friends to distract me, but I still see the effects of my dangerous behavior from three years ago.

Because even when I was incredibly healthy, running long distances, and eating good foods, seeing the number on the scale still triggered me—no matter the number. I’ll never forget my senior year when I was weighed for my physical, and I cried when I saw I weighed 128 lbs. It was all muscle in my legs, but it was almost an additional 10 pounds since I became an athlete. I knew I was the most healthy I had been in my entire life. I could run for miles, I ate mostly healthy foods, and I had a lot of friends to keep me happy, but seeing that number made me want to sink back into all my old bad habits.

I didn't. I had will power, and I’m so thankful for that. But even now, I still have trouble with keep all the negative thoughts out of my head.

What I’m trying to say is that my fixation on being skinny instead of healthy ruined the image of myself. I developed serious body dysmorphia—what I saw in the mirror was completely different from reality. It killed a healthy relationship with food that I’m still trying to repair to this day. On occasion, I have trouble trying to eat healthy while still eating enough, and I have a hard time forgiving myself for not working out after eating a lot on a given day.

But I am a lot better than I once was, because I know that my body needs fuel. If I don't eat enough on some days, it's usually just because I’m extremely busy and forget, but I can now understand that it's not a healthy habit and I’m never proud of it. I don't allow myself to go on "diets," because it too quickly turns back into my old bad habits. Instead, I try to focus on fueling myself with healthy foods that will keep me revitalized.

I just want people to know that food is not evil. Food is fuel. You need a sufficient amount to keep yourself running throughout the day, otherwise your body goes into starvation mode, and begins clinging onto every calorie as your metabolism slows down.

So focus on being healthy. You need to eat, but if you want to change your lifestyle, try combining healthy foods with exercise to see results. Eat leafy greens, lean proteins, whole grains, and fruit. There is no magic tea or pill that is going to make you lose weight faster, it's a product of hard work and loving yourself.

Understand that being skinny is not the same thing as being healthy. When I was at my lowest weight, I was constantly tired and couldn't run as much as I can now. Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes, there is no cookie cutter image you have to force yourself to fit in.

Don't deprive your body of the nutrients it needs, because once you start, it becomes an addiction. Don’t permanently damage yourself over peace of mind you’ll never get. No matter how skinny I got, I wasn’t happy until I learned to accept myself for who I was and began treating myself with care. So don’t be scared of food—exercise, eat healthily, but indulge every once in awhile. It’s all about balance, and self-love.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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