Health At Every Size

Jenna Ray

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February 18, 2021
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Let’s face the facts, we are all different. We all have a unique body shape and size that is unlike anyone else. Our friend’s clothing will fit differently on us than it does on them. Certain diet and lifestyle factors will have varying effects on our bodies, compared to those around us. Health and wellness are immeasurable quantities and achieving “perfect” health is unrealistic. The best factor to measure our personal state of health is our self-acceptance and positive relationship with our bodies. Regardless of one’s shape, size, ethnicity, race, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, we are all imperfectly perfect. 

It is crucial that as a collective whole, we understand that health is not determined by one’s “thinness”. Teaching young children that they must look a certain way and eat particular foods to be “healthy” can be damaging to their perception of their own bodies. These negative feelings of self-esteem and low self-confidence can lead to major issues such as eating disorders and depressive thoughts. These toxic perceptions can overpower these individual’s lives and consume their daily feelings. By understanding that being “healthy” does not just mean being “thin”, we will be able to change the way that people view themselves and their place in the world. 

At every size, shape, and period in one’s life they can be considered “healthy.” Each person deserves to feel empowered in their own skin and accepted by not only themselves but also the people around them. Health is a privilege that is driven by social factors, environmental conditions, and economic issues. By equally representing everyone’s differences and unique traits, we can formulate a community of unity. This means showcasing all walks of life in our ads, movies, TV shows, political figures, celebrities, and world leaders. Certain stores and companies have already started this practice and it is truly a humbling and inspiring movement to witness. Actively choosing to represent everyone in society, sends a message that each person is equally important no matter their physical appearance or social differences. 

Health and wellness can be achieved at every size. One does not have to go on a diet, fit in a certain size of pants, or look a particular way to be considered “healthy.” Health encompasses our mental well-being, physical condition, and relationship with ourselves and others; it is developed by a myriad of factors that can change day-to-day. Our health may never be perfect and we might never achieve the state of health that we desire to, but that does not mean that we are unworthy of feeling good about ourselves. In every period of our lives and stage of our wellness-journeys, we have the ability to feel loved. Our journey of deepening and strengthening our relationships with ourselves has no end goal; it is a constant and ever-evolving process. 

Edited by PreRD intern, Lauren Gatto

Jenna Ray

Jenna Ray

Hi! My name is Jenna Ray and I am an undergraduate student studying dietetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I love all things health and wellness including running, cooking, and being outdoors! I’m an avid traveler and my favorite places to explore are either Northern Michigan or Glacier National Park!