Gone are the days when being thin was considered to be the standard of beauty. Thanks to many anti-body shaming campaigns in social media, women are now learning to love their bodies no matter its shape and size.
But in spite of this, the burning question still remains: can you consider yourself healthy even if you're not skinny? When you come to think of it, fitness trainers continue to sport sculpted arms, abs, and legs. Doctors still encourage overweight women to lose weight to avoid a plethora of cardiovascular and respiratory problems.
And yet, there are inspiring women who can do complicated yoga poses even if they're on the heavy side. You can even find videos on YouTube of plump women who can dance a lot better than many slender women.
What really makes a woman healthy? Apparently, it's more than just what you see on the weighing scale. Here are 12 signs that show you're healthy even if you're a bit chubby.
12 Regular Menstrual Cycles
Regular menses don't exactly mean the clockwork 28-day cycle that only a few girls experience. As long as you menstruate every month with only a few, non-alarming premenstrual symptoms, your health is on the right track.
Amazingly, the regularity of your menstrual cycle already speaks a lot about your health, as impaired digestion, inflammation, insulin resistance, and physical and mental stress can all cause you to have an irregular cycle. Needless to say, an irregular cycle is a clear signal that something is amiss in your body.
Furthermore, your menses should relatively be pain-free as intense pain during menses can be a sign of an underlying disorder, like endometriosis and estrogen dominance. Better call up your gynecologist if you experience severe menstrual pain.
11 Regular Bowel Movements
When you're able to go regularly, it means that your body is processing solid waste quickly and efficiently, pointing to a healthy digestive system. Constipation, diarrhea, and irregularity might mean that something's wrong with your digestion. Not only is this unhealthy, but it's also extremely uncomfortable.
Normal feces come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, but as long as yours is well-formed rather than loose, you're okay. It should also not be painfully hard because that means that you're not consuming adequate fiber and water in your diet. If your stools are bloody, you should have it checked out immediately.
10 Sound Sleep
Not all of us get to sleep at least eight hours a night, but as long as you get enough sleep to go about your day feeling refreshed and without nodding off the dashboard or binge-drinking caffeine, you're pretty much on the right track. Occasional insomnia is considered normal, but it shouldn't be coupled with night sweats and frequent awakening episodes.
Sleeping well is also a sign of good hormonal balance since high levels of estrogen and low levels of the stress hormone cortisol both help you achieve a restful sleep. Lack of sleep can also mess up your hunger signals, making it difficult for you to figure out if you're starving or satiated.
9 Clear Skin
Your skin contains a lot of sex hormone receptors for progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA-S. This makes your skin a good indicator of any hormonal imbalance that is happening within your body. It's especially obvious when you have sensitive skin.
For instance, lots of testosterone can cause an increase in oil production while a good amount of estrogen softens and soothes your skin. You'll also know when you've had too many dairy and oily foods in your diet when you experience acne breakouts. Stress can also have a negative effect on your skin, so if you're not experiencing any of these things, you don't have to worry too much about your health.
8 Healthy Hair And Nails
The condition of your hair and nails is a good indicator of whether or not you're suffering from any nutrient deficiency.
If your nails are frequently splitting or cracking, it could be a sign of a thyroid disorder. Yellowish nails signal a fungal infection, which might indicate a weakened immune system, poor circulation, or even diabetes. Nail ridges are a sign of iron deficiency.
As for your hair, male pattern hair growth and baldness is an obvious sign of testosterone excess for a woman. If your only problems are split ends and frizziness, then your hair is more or less on the healthy side.
7 High Libido
Contrary to popular belief, men are not the only ones who have high sex drives. For women, having a healthy dose of libido can be a good thing, as having no appetite for sex might mean you have some sort of hormonal imbalance in your estrogen and testosterone levels. It might also mean that you're not getting enough rest and sleep, which is why you're struggling with your sex drive.
In some cases, poor libido can indicate poor psychological health regarding sex. If this is the case, you should make efforts to reduce stress and create the safest sexual environment possible.
6 Right Amount Of Energy
It's normal to feel tired after a long day at work, but if you find yourself chronically fatigued, then you might be suffering from nutritional deficiencies, stress, inadequate sleep, low caloric intake, and blood sugar fluctuations.
Exercise is a good measure of your energy levels. It doesn't have to be an hour-long gym session since short amounts of activity throughout the day can also be rightfully called as exercise. Exercise should feel fun as it releases endorphins that hype you up and make you feel good. If you feel so bummed out right after a workout session, then it might be a sign of an extremely stressful lifestyle. Don't push yourself too much.
5 Clear Urine
Most of us don't pay attention to our urine, but it's actually a good way to see if you're hydrated enough. If the color of your urine is pale yellow and you pee a few times a day, then that is a good indication of adequate hydration and healthy kidneys. Dark and concentrated urine means that you're not getting enough hydration and that you need to drink more fluids, while cloudy urine necessitates a trip to the doctor. For all you know, there's something in your pee that shouldn't be there.
On the other hand, completely colorless urine is a sign that you're overhydrated. Though it's not as problematic as being dehydrated, this could mean that you're losing valuable electrolytes that your body needs.
4 Quick Wound Healing
Cuts and bruises should heal within days or weeks as this implies that your blood is clotting normally, your white blood cells are able to fight infections, and your blood vessels are healthy. But if you find that your cuts, burns, scrapes, and bruises take a long time to heal, you should see a doctor because it might be hinting at a bigger problem like diabetes.
Similarly, if you experience unexplained bruising from light pressure, it shouldn't be taken with a grain of salt. Have your blood checked out as this could be a symptom of anemia or other blood and circulation problems.
3 Manageable Stress Levels
Stress is a part of everyday life, but it shouldn't swallow up your whole life and make you feel overwhelmed. If you find yourself bursting into tears at the sight of an approaching deadline or hyperventilating every time you're about to deliver a presentation, then you need to take things down a few notches and learn how to relax.
Being able to graciously cope with the multiple stressors in your life gives you peace of mind and a healthier life in general. Chronic stress can take a huge toll on your body and lead to numerous health problems like anxiety, heart disease, memory impairment, and weight gain.
2 Healthy Eating Habits
You may not be as petite as Emilia Clarke or as skinny as Jennifer Lawrence, but you're confident with your body because you know you're eating well. You don't go into a salad-only diet but instead choose to eat more whole foods and less processed foods. You also know how to stop eating when you're feeling full already, and you know the foods make you feel satisfied and energized. You don't beat yourself up just because you indulged in something that many consider unhealthy because you eat them in moderation. You're not one of those people who yo-yo back and forth on diets, thus causing significant weight gains and losses.
If you can say all the aforementioned things for yourself, then you know that you've adopted a healthy eating habit that transcends the weighing scale.
1 Happy Disposition
Health is not merely physical; it also concerns your overall well-being, which includes your psychological and emotional outlook. It doesn't necessarily mean that you should have a smile plastered on your face all the time. Sure, there will be bad days, but at least you find something to appreciate every day, such as that sumptuous sandwich in the middle of a hellish workday or that family getaway waiting for you at the end of a very long and tiring week.
If you're able to keep an upbeat attitude in spite of everything, then you have nothing to worry about your health and well-being, no matter what your weight is.