Skinny and Healthy are Not the Same Thing

If you follow me on social media, you know that I have decided to get my graduate degree in Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. While I am so excited to get started on this program come April 2018, I do have to complete a slew of science prerequisites before I can officially begin. My prereqs are unfortunately not through my school, but rather, they are on a series of different online platforms that are less than stellar. One of my classes is a basic nutrition course, full of mainstream dietetics knowledge and quite different than the material I will be learning in my program. For instance, this book has educated me on the wisdom of the food pyramid, weight loss drugs, and the fact that athletes can just pop some gummy bears for a quick sugar boost to replenish carbohydrates.

I wish I was kidding.

The reason I'm disturbed by the majority of comments above is because they disregard the quality of food and preach a lifestyle marked by "calories in and calories out", rather than using food as functional medicine. Over 70% of Americans are obese, and thus, we have become a society obsessed with preventing obesity and the diseases that come along with it. Couple that with the "body positive" movement that tells us to be happy at any size, and we have one confused society when it comes to nutrition. How are we supposed to be happy in our bodies when we are constantly told to use or restrict food as a means of weight loss? 

The problem? Everything is about size, counting calories, and working out, but very little is about health and real nutrition. 

A healthy weight is the byproduct of a healthy lifestyle, but a healthy weight does not imply that a healthy lifestyle is present. If you are naturally thin, that is not a free pass to eat whatever you want and disregard the health implications. A person who is a bigger size can actually be healthier than someone small based on what they are eating and how they are living. Unfortunately, we breed the mindset that thin is in through social media, Hollywood, and sadly, antiquated nutrition and fitness knowledge.

Everything we see tells us to be concerned with the state of our outsides, and very little tells us to monitor the health of our insides, until it is too late.

If we continue on this path, we will cultivate a generation of men and women who are confused about why they look and feel the way they do, instead of educating them on the premise that food is medicine, designed to keep our bodies running and improve the quality of our lives. As a female who has spent the majority of her life in a dance studio, sorority, and now women's fitness studio, I know firsthand the danger of making everything about the aesthetic, and it's a recipe for body image issues and low self esteem. By placing the focus on food first and striving to live a balanced and well informed lifestyle, we have the power to change the society we live in, but it takes intentionality.

If you feel uninformed about your nutrition, check out my Favorites page for some resources on healthy eating, and begin googling the questions you have. It sounds elementary, but the best way to change your mindset is by educating yourself on the reality of the crisis. Dig in, do your part, and speak up to help others realize the flaws in our food system.