Thin Is Healthy, Everyone Says So

I don’t watch much commercial television these days, life’s too short to watch ads, in my opinion.

When I did watch the post-news current affairs shows, I was struck by how popular diet stories are, there’d be at least one per week. And if not diets then food, and if not food then other ‘miracles’ that would change women’s bodies in some way to bring them closer to Official Body, because as we know, thin is healthy.

So it’s no surprise that a TV station’s website would have this picture:

Nor that said site’s content management staff would see nothing at all wrong with the message that health = BMI calculator, counting calories, and a “burn barometer” (presumably to calculate how many calories you’re counting so you can change your BMI), modelled by very thin Official Body types.

No I’m not putting a link here, I don’t want to give them any link juice for their crappy distorted message.

Here’s what health is about:

  • eating good fresh whole food when your body’s hungry
  • moving your body a bit in a way you like for about 30 minutes a day
  • breathing, meditating or praying, just putting your bare skin on the surface of the planet for ten minutes a day
  • appreciating your body as the amazing vehicle it is so that your soul can experience Life on this planet in this time
  • spending time with people you love
  • doing things you love
  • working in a way that means something to you
  • avoiding the toxins you can, and limiting the ones you can’t avoid
  • so your emotions and spirit are balanced

That’s a recipe for a healthy happy life, and notice than none of those points say thin is healthy. Thin *can* be healthy of course, if that’s the way your body’s made, and you maintain that without much effort.

That’s the key – if that’s how your body’s made.

Is there room in our lives for the “health” tools this TV station website is pushing? Yes….

  • if your BMI is very low (less than 18) or very high (38+), and then only so you know and can make some different choices about how you’re treating your body.
  • Though counting calories isn’t any kind of long-term health strategy, never was, never will be – the way our bodies process the food we pack into them is so much more complex than the number of calories they contain – 60 years of obesity research has taught us that, even if the diet industry doesn’t usually acknowledge it.
  • A professional athlete might find the burn barometer useful, or maybe if you’re just curious about how much energy a particular activity burns up.

But please, don’t ever be fooled into thinking ANY of these “health” tools have one single to say about your health.

If you want more proof than one irritated therapist is giving you in this blog post, check out Dr Linda Bacon’s Health At Every Size, for a start. That’s where you’ll get a load more information and solid science on why it’s a lie that thin is healthy, at least not for most people.

What do you think health is about? Is it just about being thin?

This article is part of the Body Fat: Good, Bad or Ugly? series, read more.

Tell us what you think - you know you want to ;)