“In a world where you’re telling women that plus-size is sizes 4 and up, you’re causing body image issues. You’re causing unrealistic expectations that every one — every woman — should be a size 4′ – Alex LaRosa

With stick thin figures constantly on display in magazines and on the telly, there has been an increased pressure on women to maintain abnormal body sizes and weights in order to feel good about themselves, and to be socially accepted.

By reason of their profession, people in the modelling industry are obligated to maintain the perfect size for work purposes; but using that measure to ‘fat shame’ women over a size ‘4’ and outside that industry is unacceptable. All the noise about being a size ‘0’ should be ignored, and the emphasis should be on women maintaining a proper weight and size based on their heights.

The reality is that women are under no obligation to remain thin. The media’s obsession with weight has seen so many women embark on unhealthy diets with the aim of reducing proportions to unhealthy standards… size ‘0’ is unhealthy on every level and this trend has to stop.

Obsessing over weight never helps anyone. The misconception that anything above size ‘4’ is chubby seriously needs to be addressed. Fad diets, pills, detoxification and even surgery should not be used as a means of attaining the perfect body, as they do not guaranty that the weight lost would not be regained.

The adult body mass index (BMI) gives a range of figures that indicate whether an individual is underweight, within their healthy weight, overweight, or obese. This considers the proportion of body fat in an adult, calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared.

If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are within the “underweight” range.
If your BMI is 18.5 – 24.9, you are within the “normal” or healthy weight range.
If your BMI is 25.0 – 29.9, you are within the “overweight” range.
If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, you are “obese”.

Rather than using the media as a yardstick to determine your ideal weight, use the BMI as an indicator and adjust your lifestyle choices accordingly. Vanity sizing sees fashion houses adjusting the actual sizes of their clothes to trick women into believing they are overweight to fit into certain styles of clothing. According to WebMD, the average American woman is 5’4″ tall, has a waist size of 34-35 inches and weighs between 65-68 kg, with a dress size of ‘12-14’. Plus sizes actually begin from size ‘16’ as opposed to the size ‘12’ that was previously brandished about.

Negative body image has forced some women to develop low self-esteem, become anorexic, victims of unhealthy detox and cleansing regimens, and unnecessarily obsessed with their weights. A healthy woman is one who embraces her curves, develops healthy exercise and eating habits, and is unconcerned about what the media and fashion industry thinks. If you feel like a chocolate, have one. If you feel like having an extra-large pepperoni pizza, go ahead. Go on, enjoy yourself! Just be smart with your eating habits and try to factor in some exercise at least 3 times a week.

So go on being healthy, confident and having a positive attitude towards life, and in the words of Steve Maraboli… It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 40, 60, 80, 100. Embrace your sexy-ass self and express it!