It can feel in our society like being “thin” (whatever that means) is a prerequisite to being happy. So it surprised a lot of people when Joni Edelman, a mother of five children who lives in California, recently wrote a moving essay on Ravishly about how much happier she is being, as she puts it, “fat.”
At 35, the full-time nurse weighed 123 lbs. after giving birth to three kids. She was diet-obsessed, slept only three hours a night, and ran 35 miles a week despite being exhausted and overworked. She kept a size 4 figureby calorie counting, forced exercises and neurotically checking her weight on a daily basis.
And yet Edelman claims “there was no satisfaction in the thinness” and that “happiness does not require thinness, and fatness does not presume sadness.”
After giving up her nit-picky regime, Edelman lost her former figure. But she gained a much more important trait: overall contentment. During all the time she’s not exercising or weighing herself, she’s able to spend more time with her husband and five children, catch up on sleep, and simply enjoy life’s everyday pleasures.
Her body positive essay is tremendously liberating in terms of allowing ourselves to “eat pizza and ice cream, and finally enjoy it.”
But I have to ask: in terms of her overall health, is doing a complete 180 on her lifestyle a smart one? Being thin certainly doesn’t equal happiness or health. But moderate exercise and healthy eating are still an important aspect of maintaining health.
Nevertheless, Joni asserts she’s finally living carefree, surrounded by joy and peace. In the end, isn’t a life full of happiness all that really matters?
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