I believe in “kindness at every size.” I believe in embracing self-love without glossing over the reality that obesity, anorexia, yo-yo dieting or subsisting on junk food only is dangerous to our health. Good health is tied to mental well-being, a medically healthy weight (between you and your medical practitioner), productive behaviors and the kinds of foods we eat.

Regardless of what we weigh we should treat each other and ourselves with dignity and respect! We are not, nor is our value to be found in how much we weigh.

I believe in looking at historic cultural, medical and scientific understandings of weight gain and loss over the past hundred plus years, a portion of which includes controversial messages and imagery. That really helped me take a critical look at today’s culture which was impeding my weight loss. I understand it’s not helpful for everyone.

I believe in empowering people to make informed choices about their health, even and especially if it means facing uncomfortable facts. It’s not healthy to use cultural ideals to make choices about our weight, whether it’s the Victorian Era, the 1950s or today. However, during earlier eras there was far less sugar-coating, literally and figuratively, and overweight was based upon medical studies unlike BMI which is based upon averages of a norm.

It’s popular today to be told by for-profit companies what a “real” woman looks like. All women (and men!) are real. What I think really matters is being good to yourself, which includes making healthy choices with the resources you have available to you. Good health is beautiful, but what is considered beautiful is not always healthy.

Let’s keep things real while practicing kindness at every size!

-Averyl Hill, M.S., Counselor Education