Skinny vs. Full Figured by Liz Nord


Elizabeth Nord & Angela Jones, (my friend and co-creator of our other blog Plus-Sized Models Unite), in Kona, Hawaii.

I originally wrote this article for Plus-Sized Models Unite, but I think it’s appropriate for all women because I have honestly never met a woman (including myself) who has not struggled with body image at some point in her life. Here we go…

Skinny vs. Full Figured

We all have our own unique definition of the above-mentioned words. Those definitions can vary widely for each individual woman. There are women of every size, shape, age, and ethnic mix in this world. They are all beautiful in their own unique way. For Angela & I, the issue isn’t skinny vs. full-figured. It’s about embracing diversity and being healthy.

I am a size two and Angela is a size twelve. We have very different body types, but we are both active, strong, and healthy women. I am bothered by the notion that you have to be a specific size to be healthy. I agree that obesity and eating disorders are serious problems that need to be addressed and that they cause long-term health issues. I also believe that every woman has her own ideal healthy weight. What I’m saying is that just because I’m 5’4” and a healthy size 2, doesn’t mean that another 5’4” woman’s healthy weight or size is the same as mine or that all women who are Angela’s height should be a size 12. All women have different bone structures, our weight is distributed differently, and we have different genetic factors that play a role in the way our body develops.

Girls and women compare themselves to other females all the time. I’ve done it and it’s no fun. It does nothing positive for your morale and doesn’t change the body shape you are really meant to have. It’s okay to be healthy skinny, healthy full-figured, or any place in between. One way is not better that the other. The important thing is to be healthy.

Angela and I both feel that we’ve finally come to a place in our lives where we love our bodies as they are. This summer is the first summer I actually could care less that I’m flat chested, and I feel completely comfortable in a bikini. It’s just the way I was built. It’s liberating to embrace yourself for who you are, and I wish I had done so sooner.

To me, being healthy isn’t a size or weight. Being healthy is about taking care of your body, exercising, feeling centered, eating healthy, laughing, having fun, learning, living, loving, and divulging in whatever your cravings are in moderation. I truly believe you can be many different places on the size or weight chart to achieve health and happiness.

*What do you think? Have you struggled to accept your body? Have you found a way to embrace your body as it is? If so, how and was there a specific “aha moment” that led you to embracing yourself as you are? What’s your secret to health and happiness? Did you struggle with your changing body during or after pregnancy? Did it affect your self-esteem? Was it hard to lose your pregnancy weight? What can you say to other momma’s out there who are struggling?

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Myra Elwell
    Feb 27, 2011 @ 14:22:15

    I actually started becoming more comfortable with myself when my dad got an overseas post in what was then West Germany. I was 16 at the time. We lived off post in a diverse little city that was home to German, French, Italian and Spainish nationalities. I found myself receiving attention from males and at first it confused me, because I was overweight and didn’t think of myself as attractive. One lovely young German man took pity upon me and cleared up my confusion when he overhead me asking his mother why I was constantly being asked out, was it some sort of joke? He sat me down and told me that he and other young men preferred healthy women, not skinny sticks. He elaborated and said “The meat is for the man, the bone is for the dog.”.
    To this day, whenever I hear young women obsessing about being skinny, or I see unhealthy, skinny models and/or celebrities, that comes to mind and I think that any man who insists that his girlfriend/wife/daughter/ect be that skinny and unhealthy really is “the dog” and not “the man”.
    I sincerely believe that we as mothers need to encourage our daughters and young women to be healthy and to teach them to love themselves as they are. We are their best defense against a society that portrays unhealthy definitions about beauty and self-worth.


  2. Ann Becker-Schutte
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 19:22:37

    This is the principle of Health at Every Size (HAES), and I believe that it is a critically important message for all of us to understand! I appreciate the post, and can’t wait to share.


  3. Liz
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 20:29:15

    Thank you for sharing this article.
    We will be discussing body image quite a bit in the next month!


  4. Coach Karen
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 15:02:03

    After having my first child, I continued to wear some of my maternity clothes for another 2 years. When some asked if I was expecting again, I informed them (with a warm smile) that it was just my “proud pregnancy poundage.” Going through a divorce, being a single mom, completing a doctorate degree, working full-time … I didn’t need to place additional stress and strain on myself by trying to conform to the weight and figure I had prior to my pregnancy. My priority was to keep healthy and enjoy my growing newborn whom I breastfed for 2 years. Rather than try to lose weight to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, I bought a few beautiful new clothes to enhance the features I had (including my new chest!).


  5. thf2
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 18:00:44

    I really liked this article. As a man, and also as a son, brother to 2 sisters, and uncle to 3 nieces, not to mention youth counselor to both boys and girls ranging from 11 to 19 years old, I have watched body image weigh down even the most healthy people. THANK YOU for being so open and honest in your writing. Maybe one day, what someone looks like will be far less important than who they are, and how healthy they are.




  6. Alex @ Healing Beauty
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 15:44:30

    What a beautiful and healthy post! Thank you for sharing!


  7. Ta'Nashea McLeod
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 17:15:42

    I love and can relate to this article. I’m a size 16 plus model and have been plus size most of my life. However I have a sister that grew up in the same house as me, eating the same food, doing the same activities, and has never been larger than a size 5 even when to was pregnant her twin girls. It makes me sad when people assume that just because I’m a thick girl I’m an over eater or in some way unhealthy. I lead a very active and health lifestyle with my military husband and three active little boys. I watch what I eat and exercise on a regular. In fact today I ran 5 miles in less than 60 minutes and I try to do this 3 times a week. It took me a long time to stop doing bad things to my as a attempt to be skinny. Now I treat my body like a temple and embrace the size and shape that it come in. Thanks for sharing this Article and making people aware.


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