Looking your best is hard work. From exercising, to eating right, more and more women (and men) are finding it increasingly difficult to get to their ideal body weight, and even more importantly, their ideal body image. The images that are splashed across our favorite magazines and seen on the hottest TV shows as well what we perceive as pressure fromwithin our social circles, have caused some people to focus more on the aesthetic of being slim rather than on the importance of being healthy.
I'm not above being affected by the aforementioned pressures, however, over the years I have learned to let others opinions of me -- good and bad, stay in the background. I have tried my hardest to not get overly caught up in praise ladened on when I "look my best" or negative comments when I don't. It is my very firm belief that to get too caught up with the good, is to open yourself to the bad and all the feelings that come with it. I think the key, though difficult, is to figure out a way to remain neutral to all and focus on what truly matters to you.
While each person's ideal body image is different, there can be very little debate about what is a healthy body weight. One quick and dirty way to determine if you're at a healthy weight is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a simple calculation that is based on your weight and your height. I'm 5 feet 11 inches tall, so my healthy weight range is between 133 to 179 pounds. That gives me 46 pounds with which to play around. That's a lot! In my mid to late twenties and early thirties, I stayed between 145 and about 160. At 145 I thought I looked too skinny, at 160 I felt good about how I looked. During none of those weight periods was everyone's opinion and comments about me the same, or even positive - "too skinny, getting thick, looking sick." Bottom line: it's always something, you can't please everyone and under no circumstance should you even try. The thing to remember is that it doesn't matter if you identify as "skinny", "curvy" or "normal" , your health is paramount.
BMI gives you a healthy weight range, it doesn't take into account cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. While being overweight is often a precursor to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, people with seemingly "normal" weight can suffer from one, two or all three. Conversely, some people that appear overweight have none of those issues. No matter your size, it is important to get an annual physical to ensure you're at your optimal health. An annual physical also gives your doctor a baseline for your health - It makes it easier to detect when something is not quite right. You shouldn't wait for a catastrophic event to get to know your body.
Your health is important. You are important. Your life is important. Squandering it away prematurely because of overeating and not exercising is not worth it -- no donut is worth dying for (sorry doughnuts). Find a balance, take small steps and make the changes necessary to get to the body you honestly, truly want -- your best body.