|"Does this dress make my cholesterol look high?"|
I wasn't going to write about this, but it has been rattling around in my head for a while and I think it's better to write about it so I can stop thinking about it.
In a recent episode of her podcast called "Fat Shaming," The Jillian spoke about the self-acceptance movement on social media. She seemed to go back and forth on the idea of whether she supported it or didn't. On the one hand, she agreed that we all need to be proud of ourselves and love our bodies in order to affect positive changes in our lives, but she seemed to get stuck on numbers.
She talked about Meghan Tonjes's fight with Instagram, supporting Meghan and saying "she has a great butt." She said she thought Meghan was a size 14 -- I would guess from her photos that she might be a bigger size than that, but I think that Jillian was right, she does have a great butt.
At the same time, Jillian said she'd like to post an inspirational story from this movement, but she hasn't found one to post yet that is "healthy."
"I just want to say, the message is, yes, love yourself no matter where you are at. You are a valuable human being. You are a powerful human being. You are a lovable human being. I don't care what size you are, I don't care how old you are. But, what I can't cosign is people saying it's okay to be unhealthy. . . I can never, and I will never put a stamp of approval on people damaging their health. And I've seen many healthy girls in size 8s! Size 10s! I don't generally see it in 12s, 14s, I have yet to see it."
|"How's my blood pressure, J?"|
I'm being a little facetious here. I'm a Jillian Michaels fan and I always will be -- she's real, she tells it like she sees it, and she isn't afraid to admit when she's made a mistake. I think she has made one here, but I don't know if she will understand that she has.
First of all, I have seen Jillian in person, and she is teeny-tiny. She probably would be very overweight for her frame if she were wearing a size 12 or 14. If she is thinking about herself and how she would feel if she were that much larger, I can see where she would project bad health. But a typical plus size model is much taller and built on a larger scale than Jillian. It is possible to carry extra weight and have great blood pressure and blood sugar levels. I should know.
Jillian, presumably, can't diagnose these things from a photograph, so she is talking about looking healthy, not actual physical health. I wish that she would just admit that, but confusing weight and health is so common that it's hard to blame her. I do it too. I remember running into an old college friend and congratulating him on how healthy he looked (because he was visibly at least 50 pounds thinner than he was in college) and he had just gotten over a very serious illness.
Health is not an on/off variable anyway, and it isn't completely under our control. There are so many parts to it. It's not easy to measure. You can have great numbers and still have a heart attack a few weeks later (I know people this has happened to). You can be physically fit and still get cancer.
I'm a little sensitive about this because I grew up in an extended family that put a lot of emphasis on looks and weight, and never really talked about health. I had several relatives who were put on "diet drugs" by doctors in the 70s, which turned out to just be amphetamines. Another relative got a lot of praise for how good she looked while she had an eating disorder. Putting the emphasis in the wrong place can be very destructive. It can put a lot of pressure on someone who is otherwise healthy and carrying extra weight, and worse, it can give a false sense of security to the thin and unhealthy.
I get what Jillian is saying -- love yourself as you are but continue to work to improve. She has taken this to heart herself with her "Project Awesome," so I think it's fair for her to ask the same of the rest of us.
I would love to be a size 8/10 and qualify for "healthy" status. Until then, I'm doing what I can. In this "unhealthy" size 12/14 body, I ran and biked yesterday and did yoga. I'm planning to swim around this lake tonight.
I can't instantly make myself thinner, but I can keep taking care of the body I have. I think Jillian would probably approve.