The Plus Size Dilemma

The annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition hit newsstands with the usual fanfare, with headlines highlighting its first-ever “plus size” model. At six-foot-two and size 12, Robyn Lawley looks healthy, curvy… and a lot like the women typically featured in SI.

Lawley doesn’t eagerly adopt the plus size label, the media certainly does—reminding all of us that size 12 is big, though the average American woman wears at least that. We know that labels and magazine covers are hardly a healthy way to gauge our own health and weight, but sometimes it’s hard to know where else to look.

Trainers tell us not to worry about the number on the scale, since muscle weighs more than fat. News reports cast doubt on the body mass index (BMI) as a measure. Clothing sizes are “just a number,” varying from brand to brand and fluctuating over time. Plus, our bodies naturally change and look different as we grow, give birth, and age. So what do we do? ...

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