These Women Want to Remind You to Eat for Your Body Type—and Height
Because it bears repeating: Healthy looks different for everyone, and that includes your own version of a healthy meal.
Amy Rosenthal and Alli Black, the brains behind the More Than My Height movement, are both serious doers. They first came into the spotlight after challenging the body-positive movement, drawing attention to the fact that tall women are, for the most part, excluded from it. They especially called out the fashion industry for not catering to tall women of different proportions-and to help provide a solution to the problem, they launched their own boutique called Amalli Talli.
Since then, the two sisters from Minnesota have been shedding light on all sorts of issues women are facing today-one of them being the potentially harmful effects of social media. (Related: Are Instagram Food Trends Destroying Your Diet?)
Black recently noted a post from a very popular blogger that could trigger an unhealthy thought process. "I saw a story from a very popular blogger (whose name I'd rather not mention) sharing her 'low-carb lunch,' which was two pieces of deli meat, a hard-boiled egg, and half an avocado," Black told Shape exclusively. "Now, I don't know about you, but at 5'10" and 160 pounds this would never even come close to nourishing me or keeping me energized until dinnertime."
While Black recognized that following this influencer's advice would be detrimental to her health, she realized that there are so many women on social media who use these kinds of posts to model their own eating habits. So, to encourage women to take this kind of information with a grain of salt, Black and her sister decided to write a post on their blog encouraging women to stop comparing their lives (and their lunches!) to those on their Instagram feeds.
"I do think it's very important to bring awareness to the fact that most women in the influencer space are built differently than me (and probably you, too), and therefore we need to remind ourselves that we absolutely cannot get caught in a comparison trap," wrote Black. "I would confidently bet the average height of all of the bloggers and influencers falls around 5'3" or 5'4". Somewhere in line with our national average height. But more often than not, we have no idea (without asking) how tall someone is or how much they weigh based on their image in an Instagram square. So, when they post a picture of their dinner, it can be easy to forget that their needs can be totally different from our own, as women that are taller and therefore, naturally take up more space." (Related: Fit Bloggers Reveal Their Secrets Behind Those "Perfect" Photos)
Black continued by explaining that there's no way of telling what kind of lifestyle these influencers live, so comparing your eating habits to theirs doesn't really make sense. "We have NO idea of what their activity level is, what their body composition level is (don't forget more muscle takes more energy), or even how many snacks or other food they could be eating behind the scene. Keep in mind social media is often a highlight reel," she wrote. "It is not unusual for us to want to show our healthiest salad concoction versus the Twix bar we had with our coffee that morning."
Black also asked Brittany Jones-a certified personal trainer, wellness and nutrition coach, yoga teacher, and founder of Project You Coaching-to weigh in on the matter. "To break it down in the simplest way possible, you need to eat for your body, your body type, and also your current size," Jones told Black. "A taller person will likely need several hundred more calories per day than someone shorter. This is based solely on the fact that there will just be more of you."
Jones also shared an important reminder to not compare yourself to someone else. "Comparison is the new normal for women," she told Black. "Instead, we should take more time each day to bring our attention inward. Let's focus on the beauty that is our own life. Have gratitude for the body you have." (Related: Why You Have to Stop Comparing Your Eating Habits to Your Friends')
For women to feel more comfortable in their skin and to have the confidence to listen to their bodies, Black believes there need to be better leaders on social media. She uses an Instagram post shared by 6'3" pro volleyball player Gabby Reece as an example. "In her video, Gabby confidently stepped on a scale at 180 pounds to highlight the fact that she does not fit into any of the typical measuring modalities because of her height and her build," Black pointed out. "The takeaway? It doesn't matter what the scale says, she's healthy, feeling energetic, and sleeping well."
Black says several followers reached out saying that they could really relate to what this blog post was saying. "Sometimes I feel I shouldn't eat really anything because my shorter friends don't, and I feel like I'm overeating when I do. Thank you for explaining this, and I hope every woman continues to be comfortable eating right for her body," Black recalls one woman telling her. "I've struggled with this my whole life. Thank you for reminding me to eat today!" said another, she reported. (Related: Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You're Short?)
At the end of the day, Black and Rosenthal say they hope the blog post resonates not just with tall women, but with anyone who struggles with body image and comparison issues. "We chose to write this article because many bloggers and influencers are short and petite and we thought our community could use a reminder they simply aren't built like we are," says Black. "But we do believe this message is something that can be heard by all women regardless of height, as we should all be listening to our own bodies and not fixated on what someone else is eating for theirs."