How many times have you heard of a healthy weight, bikini body and flat stomach? Probably too many. That’s why the time has come to tear up the ideal weight tables and completely reverse your perspective on the body and the numbers you would like to read on the scale.
“The ideal weight does not exist”. Word of the Dr. Martina Donegani, Nutritionist Biologist and passionate about food education. “It is an indicator that was used years ago and calculated according to strict parameters”. In a word: limiting. And, undoubtedly, very far from a Body Positive approach linked not only to physical appearance, but to the diet itself. The definition of a healthy weight, in fact, should be intertwined with that of Health given by the WHO: a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being. “Weight is only one of the indicators of the body’s health, combined with instrumental tests and psychology”. In short, your physicality cannot and must not be reduced only to a number. And if knowing that reality and social networks are distinct concepts and that filters can deceive is not enough for you, we are about to reveal everything you need to know about what it means to have a healthy body and how to get rid of your ideal weight once and for all.
Healthy weight: the first step is acceptance
Each body is different, but escaping categorizations isn’t easy. “We need to work on the messages we send and receive: there is no body that is fine“. Unfortunately, we live in a society that imposes very restrictive aesthetic standards, which do not take into account uniqueness and inclusion. And, in some ways, not even genetics. As Dr. Donegani confirms “one’s physical conformation can only be accepted and, not doing so, leads only to frustration”. Trying to improve is legitimate, forcing oneself to starvation diets and exhausting workouts in an attempt to become someone who doesn’t look like us, however, is not healthy. This is why the first step to achieve a sort of “healthy weight” is to understand one’s physicality and its uniqueness, deviating from the standards that are continually proposed to us.
Beware of grassophobia
The obsessive pursuit of a healthy weight is also the result of the culture of fatophobia. “Reaching a certain weight or centimeter does not determine a person’s worth. Being thin doesn’t make you a better person“. Likewise, “fat” doesn’t have to be scary. “In psychology it is called the halo effect and it is a cognitive bias that influences the perception of people: a single characteristic is taken as a yardstick for the whole person”. Often, in fact, a condition of “not thinness” is perceived as a lack of self-care, listlessness and laziness. Weight has nothing to do with people’s worth and, indeed, “this type of mechanism can lead to eating disorders”. A much more serious problem than a body that does not respect the canons of society.
Does the concept of “healthy weight” really exist?
“Finally we are no longer talking about a healthy or ideal weight, but about natural weight. A decidedly more inclusive concept, but also more normal“. As Dr. Donegani points out, in fact, “natural weight evolves over time and takes into account changes in a person’s life: work, stress, pregnancy“. It makes no sense, in fact, to follow an extremely restrictive diet in order to achieve a more or less realistic weight. The purpose of food, in fact, is not only to keep us healthy and fit, but also support us during the day and allow us to enjoy a dinner with friends. “Reaching your natural weight means forgetting the very importance of weight, avoiding pursuing goals that are impossible to support and removing the resulting frustration”.
How do you recognize a healthy body?
Diet serves to stay healthy, a concept that – according to the WHO – unites physical, social and mental well-being. “Weight is only one of the indicators, to which specific tests and a psychological component are added”. Before assigning a diet, in fact, the doctor must evaluate the patient’s life at 360 °: “From blood tests to body composition, up to the definition of the objectives to be achieved”. Of course, there are tools that can help you understand the body more objectively: BMI – or body composition – relates weight and height, providing an overall view of muscle mass, hydration level and fat mass. “Widely used in clinical practice, it has limits because it does not take into account the psychological condition, instrumental examinations, comorbidity and social context“. Yet another demonstration that beauty and health have nothing to do with the numbers on the scales.