Healthy body image doesn’t come in a size-two package

image 1

You would need to pay me a lot of money to get me to watch entertainment news; I find these shows incredibly pretentious and insulting to people’s intelligence, but given that I was preoccupied with untangling my Christmas lights last week, I wasn’t paying much attention to what was on TV. I tuned in and out to the airy, vacuous remarks of the annoyingly perky host.

“…Victoria Secret supermodels…runway Christmas special…blah…blah…blah…”

“I haven’t eaten much in the last week. The first thing I’m going to do when I finish the show is eat a cheeseburger.”

I looked up, my hands handcuffed by blue, red, yellow, and green lights. The supermodel was quite slender and toned. Instead of being snarky and saying, “Maybe you should have two cheeseburgers, a supersized order of fries and an apple pie,” I thought, “Man, it must be hard being a supermodel.” There wasn’t even an ounce of sarcasm as I said it (that’s growth, baby). Getting just a whiff of a cheeseburger will make me gain weight, but at least I don’t have to strut around with barely anything on for the world to see. These women have to go through hours of exercise and make-up to cover up any flaws they may have, and sustain themselves on (I’m guessing) salad and protein shakes for weeks on end.

I flashbacked to a couple of friends I had back in college. One had a size-two waist, but would spend hours nitpicking all her flaws. The other was a plus size woman who was extremely comfortable in her own skin, and who oozed the kind of confidence every women wishes she had.

The truth is that you don’t have to be thin to love your body, and you don’t have to be overweight to hate it. And data from Queendom’s Diet & Weight Loss Test corroborates my theory.

I divided our sample into people who love their body and those who don’t. Here’s what I uncovered:

Vitals

  • Of the people who love their body: 11% are underweight, 65% are a healthy weight, 15% are overweight, and 9% are obese.
  • Of the people who don’t love their body: 2% are underweight, 20% are a healthy weight, 45% are overweight, and 33% are obese.

So of the women who love their body, more than a third of the sample does not look like a Victoria Secret model. Pretty impressive!

Eating and Fitness Habits

People who love their body exercise to stay healthy, not just to lose weight:

  • 68% of the people who love their body exercise 3 times a week or more (compared to 39% of the group who don’t like their body).

People who love their body are not afraid to love food:

  • 50% are OK with gaining a few pounds after a day, weekend or week of indulgence (compared to 19% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 56% refuse to label food as good vs. bad (compared to 39% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 56% not only accept that they have food cravings sometimes, they are also not afraid to give in to them (compared to 16% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • Only 11% of the people who love their body make healthy food choices on a regular basis (compared to 2% of the group who don’t like their body). However…
  • 54% only eat when they’re hungry (compared to 24% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 51% will eat until they’re almost full, not uncomfortably full (compared to 23% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 45% take their time when eating (compared to 30% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 65% eat light at night (compared to 23% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 58% eat mindfully – meaning they don’t munch on food in a zombie-like fashion while watching TV, reading, or working (compared to 30% of the group who don’t like their body).

Personality Differences

People who love their body also love themselves on the inside, and keep their mental health in tip-top shape:

  • 88% have good self-esteem and believe that they deserve to be loved and respected (compared to 32% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 72% are comfortable being themselves (compared to 51% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 75% are equipped with good coping skills and can calm themselves down when under stress (compared to 36% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 61% are good at controlling their temper (compared to 31% of the group who don’t like their body).

People who love their body are self-empowered and independent:

  • 61% refuse to change who they are in order to get others to like them (compared to 31% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 54% are self-motivated: They do not rely on encouragement or praise from others (compared to 36% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 83% have an internal locus of control; they believe that they have the power to change/control their life, and accomplish whatever they set their mind to (compared to 55% of the group who don’t like their body).
  • 61% take pride in themselves and in their accomplishments, rather than focusing only on their failures (compared to 53% of the group who don’t like their body).

So what does this data say about people who love their body? It says that they enjoy food rather than fear it. It says they put more stock in their own opinion of themselves than other people’s opinion. It says that they refuse to be defined by socially constructed ideas of beauty.

Most importantly, it says that they do not define or value themselves according to what it says on their scale.

image 2

Insightfully yours,

Queen D