“I’m a size ‘healthy’,” announced Queen Latifah upon becoming Jenny Craig’s newest celebrity client. So what was the Oscar-nominated actress and singer’s resolution? Somewhat surprisingly: To improve her health.
Latifah was, famously, already comfortable in her own skin, openly embracing her curves. Her goal now, she says, is to make sure she takes care of the body she loves by living a healthy lifestyle.
It’s a very different approach for what is one of the leading weight management companies in the
Country. Jenny Craig clients have traditionally focused on beauty outside rather than within. Latifah
is a natural spokeswoman because she knows first hand how physically risky obesity-related illnesses can be. She lost her beloved great-grandmother to diabetes. Now, says Latifah, her goal is to motivate others to take the first step towards having a healthier body –because they love and value that body.
This campaign inspired teen self-esteem nonprofit, Hey U G L Y, to launch its newest blog, healthyself-esteem.blogspot.com. “One of the biggest issues that we hear from teens is how being overweight negatively affects their self-esteem,” explained Hey U G L Y president, Betty Hoeffner. “We created this blog to help overweight teens learn how to hold on to their self-esteem while understanding the importance of being physically healthy.” The blog lists celebrity quotes on how to be healthy and excerpts from articles. It is also a place where experts can post their advice and teens can share what is working for them. “We want teens to know that their weight doesn’t define them,” said Hoeffner. “If they are indeed unhealthily overweight, we want to inspire them to love themselves enough to help themselves get healthy. If you end up being larger than your best friend but are still healthy, that’s fine. That’s just unique, gifted, loveable you.”
Hoeffner contacted author and noted therapist, Jill S. Zimmerman Rutledge, for input into the blog. “It’s all about loving ourselves,” said Jill who for over two decades has specialized in helping adolescent girls and young women who have eating disorders. “If we are overweight but love ourselves, then we can make a healthy decision to take care of ourselves.” In her latest book, “Picture Perfect: What You Need to Feel Better About Your Body,” Jill explains, “Healthy is happy. Being fit is being free.” Meaning, if you love yourself and become healthier, you may open a whole new world of possibilities that you never thought possible.
Now, if you are not sure whether you are in fact at a healthy weight, Jill advises that you see a doctor to find out. And if it turns out you do need to lose a bit of weight for health purposes, see a nutritionist, NOT to go on a diet but to map out a healthy eating and exercise plan. And if you feel you are using food to numb your feelings and need support, see a counselor–do some research online before choosing one in your area who will be best for you and your needs. Make sure to surround yourself with close family, friends and other support systems.
Finally, Jill has a wonderful suggestion. Come up with a positive and inspiring statement from you–to you. Think along the lines of “A beautiful thing is never perfect.” Or “I’m a creative chick, not a carbon copy.” And then just make sure you’re fighting fit to make all of your dreams come true.
It doesn’t matter what dress size you wear. Your capacity for embracing yourself and others is what matters most.
Just ask the Queen. Latifah, that is.