We Need to Stop Thinking of 'Healthy' Bodies as 'Better' Bodies


As a society, we tend to associate certain bodies with “health” and others as “unhealthy.” Often this is related to weight. We say one body is “better” because she is “healthy” and another body isn’t as good because she is “unhealthy.” We make these judgments based upon appearance from the outside. I could write a lot about the fact that thinner bodies aren’t always healthier bodies (and this is something I know about given the fact that I had anorexia), but I want to take a moment to address a bigger issue:

Why is it OK to judge other people’s bodies in any circumstance? Why are “healthy” bodies better?

 

Imagine how that feels to those of us who are dealing with a chronic illness, or who have a disability, or are sick, when we constantly see messages that healthy bodies are better bodies. Does that mean my body isn’t as good? Isn’t as worthy? Isn’t as socially acceptable?

But that is a false distinction. People only know about my illness because I share about it openly. How can we possibly know what is going on inside of another person? And even if a person is struggling with food addiction or some other cause of health/weight issues, does that make their body worthy of judgment?

For the first time in my life, I am living in an “overweight” body. As someone who used to struggle with anorexia, this is really difficult. Pictures are hard for me. Going out in public and living in the midst of my current health situation is painful – why? Because I am subject to the judgment of others.

People can be cruel. And yet I am sick – there is nothing I can do to change my circumstances. The stress dose steriods are keeping me alive while they hunt for the cause of my acute pain. Yet the steriods have left me swollen. As I walk down the street, people don’t know this about me. As I encounter new doctors, they don’t know what’s happening with me… They only see my body. And for some reason, we have made it socially acceptable to judge bigger bodies as “less than.”

I feel compelled to say my body is not up for judgment. A healthy body is not a better body. If I were to allow this pervasive belief to become a part of my own personal consciousness, imagine how that would feel?

I walk with those who are struggling. People who live outside are my teachers. And yet, we judge them too. I suppose this is why I embrace my own personal journey. I am finally at a place where I am learning to love my body unconditionally. After years of forcing my body into societal ideals so other people would find me attractive, seductive, sexy, smart, intelligent, successful… I am finally learning to live in harmony with myself.

woman blowing out birthday cake candles with her daughter

Right now, my body is struggling and in pain and yes, unhealthy. And yet, I still love my body. My body is the vessel God has given me. It is a part of my human experience, and I am grateful.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via SolodkayaMari.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Adrenal Insufficiency

A woman wearing a hat, looking down, while surrounded by darkness.

What Makes Me a True Badass When I'm Ill

I’ve been contemplating “badassery” this morning as I drove my daughter to camp in the midst of passing a kidney stone. I knew that I’d be able to manage the pain until I got home, and I am on enough steroids to give me coverage this morning. In other words, it was safe to drive. [...]
Woman riding a horse.

My Badass Journey After an Adrenal Crisis

This feels difficult to write. As I sit here, I want to hide from the picture that my horse trainer took yesterday; but, I decided no. I’m gonna take the win because sometimes those first steps are the hardest. And these are my vulnerable first steps. I train with a 17hh warmblood horse partner. He’s a [...]
woman with daughter hugging her from behind

Just Because I Look Well Doesn't Mean I Am Well

I have a chronic illness. In fact I have several chronic health conditions, the main one being adrenal insufficiency. Having adrenal insufficiency is not an easy condition to live with and often the illness can be a nightmare. My adrenal glands don’t produce the lifesaving hormone cortisol and as a result I can get very [...]
A painting of Molly as a little girl with clocks and a little heart

When My Daughter With a Rare Disease Sees This Painting, I Want Her to Remember This

A painting of Molly. I have just produced a portrait for a global rare disease art exhibition. My idea was to incorporate the angel wings / boxing glove torso I designed into it. It represents the fight for flight stress response Molly never had. Molly has had the rare life-threatening condition hypopituitarism with adrenal insufficiency since she was born. The simple fact [...]