Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade.

Women are beautiful. We come in all different shapes, sizes, and personalities. I hate that there is so much attention given to our physical beauty instead of what we have to offer on the inside. Women have so much more to offer outside of what we look like.

I’m glad that the stick thin figure standard of beauty isn’t the norm anymore and women have more realistic images of what a “real woman” looks like. I can’t be the only one who can’t stop staring at Rihanna’s new curvy figure. What a great example to women everywhere that you don’t have to be a size two to be beautiful.

There’s nothing wrong with being skinny, if that’s what is natural for your metabolism and body type. There also isn’t anything wrong with BBWs. Your weight doesn’t determine beauty, beauty is skin deep. But, being a BBW is unhealthy.

It’s one thing to promote self-love and beauty but it’s another thing to promote unhealthy lifestyles. Everyone should love themselves whether they are a size two or twenty two. The problem is that at a size 22, you are unhealthy by medical standards and risk your health and overall life expectancy.

My grandmother was a large woman. I never saw her for her size. It never occurred to me that she was “BBW”.  I was the favorite grandchild and she loved me like nothing I’ve ever felt. She was literally my best friend. I remember when she passed, I was told it was because of her weight; her heart couldn’t take it anymore. I was 19 when she passed. Since then, I have had so many life experiences and I am saddened that she never saw me graduate from college and grad school. I’m a first generation American, she would have been so proud. She’s also never met my kids. She would have adored them.

She didn’t die from some tragic accident. She died because she loved food and didn’t live a healthy lifestyle. She’s missed out on so much of my life and I miss having her around.

I think about my grandmother and I cringe whenever the BBW lifestyle is promoted. I wish there was a healthy balance between teaching women to love themselves despite their imperfections and teaching women healthy standards of beauty. The BBW lifestyle kills and steals women from the lives of those who love them.

It’s okay to accept that you are beautiful and need to lose weight. Both things can be true at the same time. I hope that as society begins to appreciate women across all size spectrums that there is a space for women to understand healthy lifestyles that they can stick with and still feel beautiful.

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