Being comfortable in your own skin can be tough in today's culture, which seems to have an obsession with thinness. Even articles and shows that tout curvy figures often refer to women like Marilyn Monroe or Kate Upton who, let's face it, are extraordinary beauties with ideal figures—talk about hard to live up to.
But feeling healthy and sexy has nothing to do with your measurements; rather it's all about how you treat yourself. Committing to a lifestyle that revolves around nourishing your body, mind and soul not only helps to ensure physical well-being, but also builds healthy self-esteem that can have you feeling great about yourself, whether you're simply walking down the street or getting intimate in the bedroom.
Linda Bacon, PhD, is a nutrition professor and researcher who is working to renew how we think of health in today's society, away from a thin ideal and toward the literal meaning of the word: being free from illness or injury.
Bacon, the author of "Health at Every Size," seeks to debunk myths regarding diet and body weight. She asserts that unsustainable ways of eating can be detrimental to blood pressure, blood glucose and insulin sensitivity, and that desires for weight loss are often just bandages on bigger problems.
"The reality is that this fantasy of weight loss is what's stopping you from achieving your dreams—not your weight itself. The pursuit of weight loss rarely produces the thin, happy life many people dream of," Bacon writes in "Health at Every Size."
Bacon suggests that instead of focusing on a target body weight, people should look at their physical wellness holistically. According to the author, this involves considering these aspects of oneself: physical, emotional, social, occupational, intellectual, spiritual and ecological. It may help to do a mental inventory of these factors to see which need some work and which you should be proud of.
If you're in good health despite being a size larger than you'd like to be, perhaps it's time to shift your concentration from extra gym time to volunteer work or adult education classes that can better you emotionally, socially, occupationally or intellectually. This boost may make your body woes seem trivial.
Sexy does not necessarily equal "thin"
In her book "Fat Sex: The Naked Truth," author Rebecca Jane Weinstein writes that overweight and obese individuals can be just as sexy as their size 2 counterparts, and that attraction is often complex.
"Preference is partly intrinsic and partly learned. In different times and different places, large bodies were idealized. That is cultural," Weinstein told Blisstree website in a recent interview. "What we are inherently attracted to is more mysterious, but confident, large-size people have no trouble finding sexual partners, so clearly people desire them."
Much like Bacon, Weinstein contends that weight and health often have little to do with one another.
Ultimately, confidence is the sexiest attribute a person can have. Knowing that your heart and mind are strong can help you own your sexuality—no matter what your dress size.