10 Unpopular Truths About Bodies And Healthy Eating That We All Need To Hear

10 Unpopular Truths About Bodies And Healthy Eating That We All Need To Hear

It's not a certain body type or neglecting certain food groups.
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As an advocate for the Health at Every Size movement and fighting against fatphobia and eating disorders, I hear a lot of misconceptions from other people about what health is. We live in a society that glorifies losing weight and shames gaining weight, and it's easy for people to become focused to an extreme on health and fitness. Furthermore, dieting is the biggest predictor of an eating disorder, and both weight loss and body size can be affected by genetics, according to the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, one of the most prestigious eating disorder centers in the country. The following are truths about health.

1. Health doesn't always equal skinny.

For some, losing a bunch of weight and being "skinny" is unhealthy because it took unhealthy behaviors to get there. For some, they don't try to incorporate all nutrients into their diets, but still are able to maintain a low weight.

2. Health isn't even one particular body size or BMI number.

BMI isn't a good indicator for health -- it doesn't always accurately portray what a person is eating, how much water he or she is drinking, or account for muscle mass. Health looks differently for different people. Health at Every Size celebrates body diversity, finding enjoyment in moving your body, trusting your body's hunger and satiety signals, and accepting your size. Fatphobia is an issue that leads to unhealthy eating and even eating disorders.

3. Health isn't only eating fruits and vegetables or avoiding entire food groups. It doesn't label food.

All foods have a place in a healthy diet; we need all kinds of food and nutrients to live healthily and happily. Labeling foods as "good" or "bad" can translate into us feeling like "good" or "bad" people, and makes us sometimes avoid the foods our bodies want. Food has no moral value. Furthermore, the more you restrict your eating, the more you want (and will likely eat, or even binge on) that food.

4. Health isn't an obsession about what you eat, look like or how much you exercise.

Health is about trusting your body's signals, honoring your body's needs, and being able to live with a flexible and carefree nature. Obsessions can be unhealthy and taken too far. The following phrase annoys me too, but it's so true: everything in moderation.

5. Health isn't purely physical -- it's just as much mental.

Mental health is so important to a happy and healthy life; mental health matters just as much as physical health. Ways to maintain mental health include seeing a therapist, spending time with other people, and doing things you enjoy and that relax you. A great resource for finding a therapist is www.therapists.psychologytoday.com.

6. Health cannot be recognized instantly by looking at someone.

As stated before, health looks differently for different people and is often dependent to some degree on genetics. We can't tell what a person eats by how much space he or she takes up. This goes for all intersections of identities.

7. Health isn't always about "should" or "shouldn't."

Our bodies know what they need and will tell us and adjust to what we feed it. They work to keep us alive. If you want a piece of cake, eat a piece of cake! You're not going to gain weight from that, nor is it a bad thing.

8. Health isn't about detoxes.

Our body has learned over many years how to survive and take care of itself. It heals and adjusts in amazing ways. We have livers and kidneys that detox for us; detoxing through other methods isn't healthy and often doesn't work.

9. Health isn't about distrusting your body.

I've said it several times, and I'll say it again: trust the hunger and satiety signals your body gives you. Trust the cravings. Your body knows what it wants -- it was created to work that way. When your body distrusts you, or doesn't get food when it needs it, it know's how to survive; for example, it may make you eat, cause you to binge, or keep you awake under survival mechanisms in which your body keeps you awake so you can go "look for" food.


10. Healthy eating can best be described by dietician and therapist Ellyn Satter:

"Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it — not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food.

Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more.

Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life. In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.”

During Embody Carolina trainings, which were created by CEED and mentioned at the top, we talk more about healthy and unhealthy eating, we mention how we don't agree with her use of "mistakes," but that overall, we believe this is a great definition of healthy eating. Screenshot the picture below for your phone's wallpaper, if you'd like!


You get the point by now: your body is not the devil, and health is not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. By embracing and taking care of ourselves, not being the "food police" for ourselves or others, and by listening to our body's signals, we can live a healthy and carefree life that isn't triggering to anyone, including ourselves.

Cover Image Credit: Study Breaks

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An Open Letter From The Plus-Size Girl

It's OK not to be perfect. Life is more fun that way.

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To whoever is reading this,

My entire life has been a juggling match between my weight and the world. Since I was a young girl every single doctor my family took me to, told me I needed to lose weight. The searing pain of those words still stabs me in the side to this day. I have walked past stores like Hollister and American Eagle since I was 13.

Being plus-size means watching girls the same age as you or older walk into a store that sells the cutest, in style clothing and you having to walk into a store that sells clothes that are very out of style for a young girl. Being plus-size means being picked last in gym class, even if you love sports.

Being plus-size means feeling like you have to suck it in in pictures so you don't look as big next to your friends. Being plus-size means constantly thinking people are staring at you, even if they aren't.

The number on the scale haunts me. Every single time I think about the number I cringe.

Can I just say how going shopping is an absolute nightmare? If you haven't noticed, in almost every store (that even has plus sizes to begin with) plus-size clothing is closed off and secluded from the rest of the store. For example, Forever 21, There are walls around every side of the plus "department."

Macy's plus department is in the basement, all the way in the back corner. We get it that we are not what society wants us to look like but throwing us in a corner isn't going to change the statistics in America today. That being that 67% of American women are plus-size.

My life is a double-digit number being carved into my jiggly arms and thunder thighs. It is me constantly wanting to dress cute but turning to running shorts and a gigantic sweatshirt instead so that people don't judge me on my size.

It is time that the American society stops making plus size look like a curse. It will never be a curse. If every person was the same size, what would be the point of uniqueness? I will never despise who I am because while I was growing up multiple people told me that I needed to be a size 6 in order for a guy to fall in love with me. I will never hate myself for getting dressed up and being confident.

To all the girls reading this who may be plus-size,

It's OK! You're beautiful and lovable. If you want to buy that crop top, buy it. Life is too short to hide behind a baggy T-shirt. We are just as gorgeous as the girls that we envy. Be the one to change the opinion of the world. Fat rolls don't need to be embarrassing. Your stretch marks are beautiful. Don't ever let the world tell you not to eat that cheeseburger either.

In the end, this earthly life is temporary. We are on this earth for a blink of an eye. Don't let anything stand in your way. Wear the bikini, the crop top, and the short shorts. Post the sassy selfie you've had on your phone for 6 months and you won't post because you have a double chin or your head looks "too big." Who cares. BE YOU and love yourself while you're at it.

I'll start.

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Hockmeyer

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The Rejuvenating Qualities Of Panama City Beach

There are definitely some healing properties in these ocean waves.

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We have gone to the beach quite a few times this summer season. We live around 2 hours away and try to make it to Panama City Beach at least once a week. It's a venture for sure, but compared to the 7-day drive from The Rockies of Colorado to the Peanut Capital of the World, Dothan, Alabama (a time in which no one has heard of) we can't really make any excuses.

Now, I am sitting here typing away in the early morning while watching a summer storm blow in over the sea but, make no doubt about it, the ocean and its shores are one of the most healing, rejuvenating places on this planet. There is a calm in the break of the waves on the shoreline, and yet it pairs with an unspoken knowledge that the ocean is this uncontrollable force.

This isn't a speech on saving the planet and being eco-friendly, recycling and watching out for our beaches, which is a topic I am very passionate about and a post I would totally create. This is simply an open letter to those who might need to get away in order to revive their souls.

If you are anything like me, you have emotions pulsing through you at all times, ideas about everything under the sun, a longing to explore and adventure, and a deep need for rest, all at the same time. There are not many things in this world that truly satisfy me. There is a lot of disappointment. There is a lot of wrongdoing and suffering. It's overwhelming.

That is why I come to the beach. It removes the overwhelming things.

You see, there is nothing complicated about the waves (unless you make it complicated, but we stay away from people like you). They are simple. They are peaceful. And 99% of the time in my life that is what I need, simplicity and peace. I over-complicate things myself, I make excuses and I feel hurt in most moments of my life. I lived an exposed, vulnerable lifestyle that drains me.

That is why I love the ocean. It replenishes my drained soul. It energizes me. It is motivating and inspiring, relaxing and unwinding.

I don't pass out advice. I never have. I do, however, try living an honest life, always in the moment, so I can share my experiences in hopes that others might find them helpful. That is precisely why I am writing this. Because if you could just get to the beach, to a shoreline, it might change you. Seeing this vast landscape changes your perspective on the situations in your life you thought might overtake you.

The ocean speaks. It heals. It tells your worries to cease and your mind to rest. It tells your body to relax and your busy schedule that there IS time to take a moment. Don't forget to take a moment for yourself this summer season.

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