What Does “Healthy” Look Like?

I met up with a friend for my morning coffee today and we got onto the topic of body image (go figure) and we ended up talking about what a healthy body looks like.

johnny1Fat Albert

This is when I realized that we all have a built in image in our heads of what we think a healthy body should look like.

I’m sure right now you have a picture in your head of what you think a ‘healthy body’ should be. And I also guarantee that most people have the same image in their heads as well. (In fact know they do because this has been well studied)

The point is that when people say things like:

“I want to get in shape”


“I want to lose weight”


“I want to gain some muscle

What they are really saying is:

“I want to look healthy”

It might sound superficial but it’s not. Our best guide of what is healthy is our eyes.

Unfortunately it has become socially unacceptable to point out that being 40 pounds overweight simply isn’t healthy, likewise with people who are grossly underweight. There are actually groups of people who are trying to lobby governments to make it illegal for doctors to recommend weight loss for people who are overweight! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

Self denial runs deep for these people. Those people who are trying to ‘accept their size and shape’ are just accepting a less healthy body. Plain and simple.

I will be one of the first to say it and let the hate mail pour in.

A healthy body is also a good looking body. They are one and the same and cannot be separated from each other.

Think of it this way. Would you go to the gym diligently and eat a strict ‘healthy’ diet if it somehow gave you perfect health (as measured by all levels of physical emotional mental and social health)


this same lifestyle made you grossly overweight?

The answer is most likely no because it’s not possible. I’ll bet you’re having trouble even imagining that right now; How can a grossly overweight body also be a healthy body? — It can’t.

With that said there are always levels or degrees of relative health associated with various sizes, but the range is much more narrow than you probably think.

The fact remains, you and I both have a built in image of what we think is a healthy looking body. I didn’t put that image there, and neither did the media, it’s something we have evolved to recognize at a basic level. (this is evidenced by research showing the same body images are selected as the best looking by people from all different cultures and societies and socioeconomic status from around the world)

Your eyes cannot tell a lie when it comes to the look of a healthy body.

So I want to know what you think a healthy body looks like, if you feel so inclined I’d like you to describe your ideal healthy body in the comments section.