Over the last few years, women who are accepting and learning to love their plus-size bodies has turned into a global movement. As a plus-size woman (and new blogger), I can truly see that the last 10 years have been an evolution where women who are considered plus size in our society have broken all rules and stigmas. The mere fact that we can boast about several Full Figure Fashion Weeks (in the United States and in other countries) is enough to prove that we EXIST!
Seeing plus-size women on the cover page of Sports Illustrated has served as empowerment for me, it has certainly empowered me to choose a size that I consider healthy for myself over a size that many still see as "ideal.”
The media is highlighting the fact that the rise of the plus-size movement may have double standards; on one hand, the media states that the plus-size movement is promoting obesity, yet in contrast, it also highlights plus-size fitness instructors, ballerinas and yoga instructors. These are all activities that require a level of stamina and endurance in order to turn it into a profession. I myself have done Zumba, belly dancing and pole dancing. I love dancing, and that too is a form of being active. At 200 plus pounds, I have not let my weight be a limitation in exploring new hobbies or adventures.
The fact that Nike released a clothing line catering to plus size women also shows that they are aware that there is an existing market. As a plus size woman, I accept my curves and embrace my pounds with superb confidence, but I also want to participate in activities that allow me to move my body. Does this mean that I will put myself through diets and mood swings that ultimately will only cause me to be depressed? Absolutely not! I have been there and have done that and, talking from experience, you do yourself more harm than good.
During routine check-ups with my health providers, the subject always comes forth as a concern and many of my health providers inform me that I am overweight, which has motivated me to shed some pounds. However, the results after every check-up show that I am healthy! Yes, I have a high BMI. Yes, I might get back pains occasionally. Does that mean that I will promote gaining weight while jeopardizing one’s health? Not likely!
However, this reign of body acceptance and self-love has come with a high level of negative shade from experts that are involved in health industries. While having a positive body image is important, this attitude makes some experts think that the plus-size world's attitude toward ‘fat’ can be seriously damaging to health.
From the perspective of someone who has traveled the journey to self-acceptance with my charisma and additional pounds, I can relate to the numerous attempts that I have gone through to reach the "ideal" weight. I have fluctuated so much in the past, that my background could be compared to yo-yo dieters. That type of inconsistent weight loss/gain is what often leads you to psychological problems. For me, embarking on a vigorous diet alters my mood swings and has me walking around sulking and very unhappy. For the last 5 years, I haven’t dieted at all. When I want to lose some pounds, I try changing my eating habits and I drink more water. The reality is that we all know exactly what we would need to do in order to obtain healthier results. The responsibility and choices lie within us. Body acceptance is one thing, knowing that you are sabotaging your well being is something totally different.
When it comes to my own health, my belief regarding health is that if you choose to, you can incorporate healthy lifestyle practices regardless of your weight. Personally, I enjoy a varied diet which addresses my need not only for nutrition and sustenance but also for the pleasure. I also get regular medical check-ups and have been called 'obnoxiously healthy' by my doctor, even though I am clearly overweight and my BMI is far from where it should be. Taking this into consideration, I try to include some type of activity in my lifestyle.
Still, it took me a long time to embrace my curves, prior to becoming 100% comfortable in my own skin. I took it upon myself to accept myself for what that was worth, which took me on an interesting journey of re-evaluating my own beliefs around me, my body, and the beliefs that were put on me for being plus size (by society). Being thin should not be the norm that defines you as “healthy,” nor should it change the love for your body or the level of confidence that you may display. Just as being plus size does not indicate that someone is unhealthy. I am sure that regardless of your size, you want to be around to enjoy life, a relationship, motherhood, grandkids....and simply to LIVE your life to your full capacity! Therefore, my answer to “what is your jeans size?,” will always be: I AM A SIZE ME!