Why Big ISN’T Beautiful


I love the new body acceptance movement taking over mainstream media because I totally stand behind the idea of loving and accepting yourself and others unconditionally without judgement. That’s how we should treat ourselves and each other. But I think there’s one thing being swept under the rug when the topic comes up, and that is that being overweight is not okay. We’re all aware that overweight and obesity are dangerous states of being, yet we keep going on and on about how “big is beautiful.” There’s a difference between feeling beautiful inside and suggesting that a fatal condition is beautiful. There’s nothing beautiful about high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, which is still the number one cause of death in women. 

Being overweight is not okay because it always indicates a problem. There is no such thing as being healthy physically and/or mentally and being overweight. Sometimes the problem is hypothyroidism, other times it can be lifestyle choices like avoiding exercise and eating out at unhealthy restaurants too often. For women, emotional stress is a popular cause of excess weight gain and inability to lose weight, so we can read and write all the articles we want about how big is beautiful and curves are in (curves, in this case, as a euphemism for fat), but the emotional problems and the poor lifestyle choices won’t go away no matter how many affirmations are said. There’s nothing beautiful about turning to food in order to mend emotional pain, or being so out of touch with your body’s natural hunger signals that it’s a challenge to recognize when you’re full.

So while I’m 100% behind the self-love mantra, I also believe in not denying that there is a problem and addressing said problem instead of putting it in a fancy dress and saying it’s okay. Does that mean an overweight person needs to feel shame or be shamed? Never. But they do need to identify the root cause of the problem and dedicate time and energy to resolving it. I think the time spent pinning things on Pinterest that glamorize fat would be better spent making a healthy meal or going for a jog.

While we’re at it, we should also probably do away with bringing up extremes as counterpoints. Phrases like, “I refuse to starve myself to be a size 2″ and “I’d rather have curves than look like a twig” are nonsensical. Who says anyone has to starve themselves to be healthy? Who says eating smaller portions means starving yourself? Who says everyone has to be a size 2, and who says women who are a size 2 starve themselves to be that size? Since when does being thin mean being a twig? The conclusions we jump to when the topic of fat loss comes up are absurdly extreme. No one is promoting anorexia or rib removal here.

It’s awesome that women nowadays are emphasizing body acceptance and loving themselves at any size, but there is a fine line. Embracing and loving yourself doesn’t mean mistreating or coddling yourself. If your body fat is over 25%,  you’re in the danger zone and you have to take measures to get yourself healthy. That is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself and those who love you. The way to do it isn’t starving yourself or going on yet another diet, or even killing yourself at the gym. There is a much easier, healthier way to lose excess fat, tone up and stay that way for life. If you’d like to learn more about it, call or email me, and we can get you started on achieving a beautiful body inside and out.



About the author

Bella Barak

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Bella will help you create a body you love. For daily fitness, healthy eating, beauty and lifestyle tips, follow BBF on Twitter @BellaBodyFit and Facebook/BellaBodyFitness.

8 Responses

  1. At first the title of this article sort of turned me off because even at a healthy weight I’m curvy and being tiny would be unhealthy for me. But then as I read more I realized what you’re saying, and you’re right. We should all be focusing on being healthy and loving our bodies by treating them right (ie. not being overweight, not overeating, exercising). I love that your method isn’t extreme dieting and workouts that someone can only stick with for a short time. I’ve met trainers who actually made me feel ashamed when I’ve gained weight so I really appreciate that you’re not that way. You just encourage and support us to reach our healthy best, whatever that is for our individual bodies. Every size and shape is welcomed.

    • Thanks girl. I’ve definitely worked out with trainers who use shame and fear tactics to “motivate” too. It’s demoralizing. There is no need to strive for the “perfect” size or shape because it doesn’t exist. There is only your own individual happy weight where you feel and truly are healthy. Btw, even at a healthy weight I’m curvy too, and I like it!

  2. You should re~read an article on msn about how there is such a thing as a big person being healthy AND living 3.1 years longer than their skinnier counter parts. While I do agree on some level that I do not want to hear people saying big is beautiful, I ALSO get tired of seeing so many pro ana and pro mia sites promoting anorexia and bullemia as a lifestyle choice to be skinny. All humans need to find their median weight so as not to be a overly large person or a overky small person.

  3. I went back and re-read this today for the second time. Let’s all love our bodies & ourselves enough to eat healthy foods & enjoy the movement and power behind exercise. I agree-acceptance & grace are for everyone but this shouldn’t be an excuse to abuse your body through sloth & food perversion.

  4. Hey Bella, I agree! Although I love curves I am in the process of losing excess weight so I can be healthy as well as look great. I am on medication now for hypertension and look forward to the day I can stop taking them completely! Besides, if you like clothes like I do, being overweight is also more expensive. Fashion designers make goes up to a certain size or charge more if you’re plus size for a reason; the more quality material you need the higher the costs. Even going to a tailor as I trim down costs a pretty penny. I’ve learned my lesson between the difference in being big and being curvy.

  5. I have a few questions? How can I maintain a regimen that works for me? How can I train like a woman and still look like a woman? Eating healthy is not an issue at this point for me but thank you so much for the motivation as genes do play a part and I did not think about it that way.

    • Great question! By “look like a woman” I’m assuming you mean you’re wanting to shape your body without adding bulk, big veiny muscles or losing your natural womanly curves (more Sophia Vergara, less Madonna). You’ll be able to do that with targeted body weight exercises that carve out and shape the muscles that make up your natural curves while getting rid of the excess inches that cover them. You’ll want a regimen that makes it easy for you to work on your body on a daily basis. If you live in the Houston area, come take a class with me, I’ll show you the most effective exercises.

  6. totally agree, the big is beautiful lie is damaging the nation, i was 18 stone a year back(from a drug used for depression) and i nearly died from insulin controlled diabetes and my back was in constant pain , sweating all the time and felt generally rubbish, so i lost 5 stone through exercise and eating healthy , i have 2 stone to go for me to feel comfortable , my diabetes has gone and i have no back pain and can walk up to 8 miles a day now and i love it , i have always been a normal weight before this hic up and now im on my way to getting the old me back x


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