This week there has been a bit of an outcry in UK media over ‘plus size’ ‘healthy weight’ and ‘obesity’ in part because of a documentary about the emergence of retailers embracing plus size clothes.
I have been really annoyed by one prominent (well she was on a prominent tv program) persons comments. This tv person said that she didn’t think that clothing in ‘extreme’ sizes should be available because it may encourage people to adopt unhealthy eating habits.
How can she possibly know how healthy someone is by the size of clothes they wear? It is lunacy. I have a friend who is a UK size 4 or US size 0. This tv person said, on the very popular (but not my taste) program, that clothes for people like my friend should not be available on the high street. Now this friend of mine is extremely fit – she does crazy long endurance cycling stuff, as far as I know she is healthy (but I can’t see inside of her body and it isn’t any of my business unless she chooses to discuss that with me). She is also small in stature. To me she looks fit and healthy and happy but regardless it is NOT my place to judge regardless of her size. Even if she were ill she should be able to buy clothes to wear, to have a choice, to dress in a way she chooses that makes her feel happy and confident.
Then there is me. I’m just shy of 5ft10. My family genetics dictate in part the shape I am. A large percentage of women in my family are tall with slightly broad shoulders and we are busty (we also have, as my sister loves to point out, flat bums). A few years ago I was very fit and healthy, I did a lot of walking, I didn’t eat much rubbish (I was a poor student and could not afford as much cake) and I felt I looked quite good. Now my BMI and my doctor at the time both stated that I was a very healthy weight at that time… but guess what I was still ‘plus size’. These shoulders and bosom will always be ‘plus size’ but according to that person on tv I’m ‘extreme’ and being able to buy clothes in my size ‘encourages me to be unhealthy’.
That is RUBBISH.
I have put on weight now. A combination of medications and a chronic headache problem and working in a new job that leaves me sedentary most of the time has had a bad effect on my waistline.
You know what though – being able to buy clothes in my ‘extreme’ size now does not encourage me to put on weight. In fact when I wear something I feel pretty in I have a confidence boost and then I feel happier and more able to go and do fun things. So in a way it encourages me to become more active. It doesn’t help that I’m tall and struggle to find clothes as it is – are tall people to be banished from the high street as well?
It doesn’t really matter though because regardless of our size other people should not feel able to pass judgements. What happened in educating our young women that our looks do not matter? That our abilities, our achievements, our equality and above all being kind to one another is far more important?
I’ve suffered from depression in the past and when I got better I realised that the huge emphasis I had placed on my looks was wrong. I was grateful for my body for being able to get me through a horrible illness. I’m grateful for my sturdy legs that take me wandering every weekend despite dodgy knees (not looks an actual working issue!). I’m grateful for my ample bosom that my friends dog seems to think is a cushion for her (small dog). I’m happy I have peely wally skin and freckles because if were all the same then it would be very boring indeed.
I’d like to point out once more SIZE does not equal HEALTH.
And if we go down that road we’ll need to ban chocolate, cheese, ice cream, butter, cream, alcohol, biscuits, cakes, crisps…. the list could go on.. as these are foods that could encourage people to be an ‘extreme’ size. We are adults we can make our own decisions. Education from a young age about a healthy lifestyle that includes good food and activity would be far better, combined of course with a body positive image because genetics, health and other issues will always be around.
This issue reminds me that I started this blog was to help me be a more Merry person. I may lose weight, I may not, but weight is not the key to feeling happy and merry. Leading a happy and healthy life filled with good people, fun times and yummy food is the way and size has very little to do with that.