The Half Naked Plastic Bodies are on every magazine rack, clothing store ad, every newsfeed, inbox, junk mail, and even on beer commercials.

I am waiting for my wife to get ready. We are going out to dinner. She is in the bathroom. I see her in front of a mirror, pinching her belly. She asks if I think she is fat.

“No,” I say.

“Are you sure?”


“Well, I feel fat.”

“You aren’t.”

“How about now?”

“Still no.”

“What about from this angle?”


“From this side?”


“What about when I turn around?”


“How about when I hike up one leg, spin in circles, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance?”


“Do you REALLY mean it?”

“If you were any skinnier you’d have to stand up five times just to make a shadow. Now can we please go to dinner?”

“But I feel fat.”

My whole life has been spent in the company of women. When my father died, he left me in a house of estrogen. There, I learned something about the opposite gender.

Namely, women often think they are fat. And they are always wrong about this, no matter what their size.

It isn’t their fault. Every printed advertisement and commercial tells them to feel this way. But it wasn’t always like this.

Things were different seventy-five years ago. Back then, nobody went around saying Marilyn Monroe looked like a North Atlantic whale, or told Doris Day she needed to go paleo.

People weren’t this obsessed with being skinny. Consequently, American families ate more bacon, and butter. And you know what they say: “The family that eats bacon and butter together, stays together.”

But things have changed. Famous women from bygone eras would be called “large” or “fluffy” in today’s world.

Marilyn Monroe, for instance, would be considered a Clydesdale. Barbara Eden, a Holstein. Ginger and Mary Ann wouldn’t have a chance with their muffin-tops. Daisy Duke would be playing the part of Boss Hogg.

Last week, I got a letter from a reader named Myra, who is nineteen. Myra feels overweight, and has felt this way since middle school. She has been on a diet for six months but it’s not working.

So she went to the doctor. He did what all doctors do. He ran tests and blood work. This led to more tests, more blood work, then an MRI just to be sure. And a consult with a high-priced specialist, a visit to a dermatologist, an herbologist, a zoologist, an ornithologist, and an Episcopal priest.

And do you know what? The doc concluded that Myra was in perfect health. In his own words: “You’re a little on the skinny side, Myra.”

How can a girl who is skinny by medical standards believe she is fat? How, I ask?

But like I said, it’s not your fault, Myra. We are all in the same boat. We live in a world that tells us we’re ugly, fat, boring, and we need better insurance.

We live in a civilization where people drive thirty minutes to the gym to walk on a treadmill. A world where underwear models are selling everything from iced tea to pop music.

And when these commercial actors take off their shirts, you can see veins running up their abdomens. Veins, for crying out loud.

The Half Naked Plastic Bodies are on every magazine rack, clothing store ad, every newsfeed, in inboxes, junk mail, and even on beer commercials.

I’m not kidding. I was watching a beer commercial the other day that showed four or five young women on the beach, carrying a cooler.

There was a young man who was shirtless and looked like Sylvester Stalone on diuretics. Another girl was wearing a bikini so small it wouldn’t have fit on a linguini fork.

This gal was so skinny, that—to quote my mother—she would’ve had to run around in the shower just to get wet.

Well, not that anyone asked me, but I don’t believe in phony TV-people. I believe in real women. Like the women who raised me. The ones who are brave enough to be themselves. And I believe in what they taught me.

I believe in eating good food, and fresh okra, summer tomatoes, biscuits, butter, and bacon. Certainly, I believe in health, but also in good food, and in living a rich life.

I believe in loving what is in the mirror. I believe in keeping the television off. I believe in long walks. Love letters. Girl Scout cookies. And flowers. And I don’t believe true love has anything to do with abs, thighs, or butts.

I believe in parking beside a pond when the lightning bugs are out. I believe in holding hands with someone you love. Someone who knows a thing or two about life, loss, sorrow, triumph, and the magic of fried chicken.

I do not believe in Beer-Commercial Guy, or Beer-Commercial Bimbo. I believe a woman is magnificent because of what lies within her. I believe in heart. In gumption. Bravery. Kindness. Self-worth. I believe in Myra. In my wife.

And whoever you are, reading this, I believe in you, too.

You do not look fat.


  1. Gayle - June 21, 2019 6:42 am

    Thank you! Taping this on my dressing room mirror as a reminder when the media types start whispering in my ear.

  2. GaryD - June 21, 2019 9:29 am

    “Gumption”. Ain’t heard that word in a long time.

  3. Cathi Russell - June 21, 2019 9:53 am

    Thanks Sean! One thing about getting older is no longer obsessing about a beach body. I like that.

  4. Robin - June 21, 2019 10:51 am

    As a woman who is “fat,” thank you!! 🙂

  5. Meredith- - June 21, 2019 11:03 am

    Dear Sean,

    I spent the majority of my grade school, junior and high school years competing in gymnastics. Now that I’m older, I KNOW that I was in incredible shape. But I felt fat during those years and in the years to follow. Even now I continue to pinch myself like Jamie did, asking myself, “Am I fat?” Its ingrained in our female psyches which is so sad. I know that my earlier years helped prepare my body for the ultimate middle age frump; I KNOW I’m not fat but my brain continues to ask if I am. I know, makes absolutely no sense.

    Sean you are a hero for understanding this crazy predicament that afflicts so many good women.

    Meredith Smith

  6. Naomi - June 21, 2019 11:08 am

    Sean, I don’t know if you know who Mark Lowry is. He is a Southern Christian singer and comedian; he travels with Bill Gaither. Anyway, he said, “When I was growing up, we didn’t know what cholesterol was; if we did, we would have fried it”. Another quote from him is, “Eat what you want to; die young and be a pretty corpse”. My husband’s family were farmers. His aunts ate home-made biscuits made with lard every day. They also ate a lot of pork. They never ate what we today would consider a healthy diet. One of his aunts died when she was 95 years old; his other 2 aunts lived to be 100. One of my aunts just turned 100 years old and is still in good health and sound mind; she never worried about what she ate.

  7. Marisa Franca Stewart - June 21, 2019 11:10 am

    Thank you, Sean!! We need more people like you who see the good, the positive, the beautiful! Bless you!!

  8. Karen Erwin-Brown - June 21, 2019 11:50 am

    Love the shadow image. Thanks. Peace for the day.

  9. Ms. Burdie - June 21, 2019 11:58 am

    Thank you for this beautiful post! I can’t tell you how badly I needed it today. It’s getting printed and posted by every mirror in my home. Your stories are a true delight to read and today’s is one of the best! Thank you from a Clydesdale! =)

  10. Terri - June 21, 2019 12:09 pm

    ❤️ Love you much Sean.

  11. Sandy - June 21, 2019 12:18 pm

    Thanks. I needed to hear that.

  12. Karen - June 21, 2019 12:24 pm

    I am 65. I found a picture of me, when I was 40. I remember feeling fat and old and unattractive. I was none of those.
    Embrace who you are right now. Don’t waste your life worrying about your appearance.
    Thank you, Sean. ❤️

  13. Jo Ann - June 21, 2019 12:51 pm

    Thank you, again, Sean, for telling us the truth. People forget, or don’t know,that all those “plastic people” have legions of staff to make them look that way. Yes, & surgeons are also on that list, & Photoshop! It’s probably hard work & lots of money to look that way, better to just be our own selves.

    • Betty Green - June 21, 2019 1:03 pm

      God Bless you Sean. Your wife is a lucky lady.

  14. Connie Havard Ryland - June 21, 2019 1:06 pm

    Thus the reason I love you so much. You celebrate the women in your life and make us all feel special. I’ve spent my whole life looking in the mirror and seeing a fat person, made especially hard by the fact that I have three gorgeous skinny sisters, who were the pretty ones in the family. But I’m finally okay with that. My grandma always told me beauty is only skin deep, and I like the person I am, even if I don’t like my reflection in the mirror. Love and hugs.

  15. Donna Messervy - June 21, 2019 1:26 pm

    Thank you! You are a very sweet man!

  16. Shelton A. - June 21, 2019 1:31 pm

    Very well said and about time someone said it! Great work and writing.

  17. Wanda Willis - June 21, 2019 1:42 pm

    Thank you Sean. I needed to hear that today. I love your posts and look forward to reading them every morning. 🙂

  18. Holly - June 21, 2019 1:50 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I needed this today. Well, actually I need it most days, but, it came in especially handy today. I am lunching with of a group of friends from first grade. We are all turning 70 this year. There is considerable life experience and wisdom amongst us. There is also a lot of doubt and insecurity. I will share this with them. I’m certain they can use it too.

  19. Susan Kennedy - June 21, 2019 2:16 pm

    Thanks Sean! ?

  20. Tim House - June 21, 2019 2:22 pm

    Well said!

  21. Janie F. - June 21, 2019 2:33 pm

    I have been overweight since the age of 12 when puberty hit me. At 64 I am still way too heavy but I’ve learned that the weight is only one part of me. 46 years ago I fell in love with a remarkable man who loved me for me. We got married 3 months later and are still happy. My weight has fluctuated over the years but my husband’s love for me has remained steady. Thank you for this post Sean! Love it!!!

  22. Katzber - June 21, 2019 3:14 pm

    This one requires all kind of AMEN!

  23. Linda Moon - June 21, 2019 4:20 pm

    I have one word for the women of my generation who are mostly grandmothers by now: TWIGGY. From the prior generation it was AUDREY HEPBURN. Both, icons of skinniness. This grandmother is about to go swim, regardless of revealing skinny aging arms and expansive middle parts. I believe in thriving and surviving whatever life and unattainable false body images come your way- and all the other things you mentioned, too, Sean!

    • throughmyeyesusa - June 21, 2019 5:45 pm

      Now THIS gets an “Amen!”, Linda! We’re clearly in the same age group (I once hosted Twiggy on a tour that included the flagship of a major department store where I was Training Director), and this was perfectly put!

  24. Cathy Boswell - June 21, 2019 4:42 pm

    Kiss your brain, Sean. You are one smart cookie!!

  25. Jane - June 21, 2019 5:14 pm

    I just striped and looked in the mirror… I’m fat.

  26. Carol Folsom - June 21, 2019 5:47 pm

    Thank you!

  27. throughmyeyesusa - June 21, 2019 6:21 pm


    I was raised in a family that included a dad, a mom, and maternal grandmother. I was the only girl. From the time I was about ten, these ladies assured me, at least weekly, that I would grow up to be, “huge”, “the fat lady in the circus” (my favorite), would “never catch a husband” or “never keep him” and so on and on (and on). (I had my choice and picked an absolute winner…52 years ago.)

    I was never fat! I wasn’t even “husky”, the euphemism of the ‘50’s. I know their words were inspired by love and concern, not by a desire to destroy my ego. But they did! And my darling husband carried on the tradition for the first thirty years of our marriage. He is now appreciative of my aging (but sleek for 70+) form; his is aging too.

    What you’re describing is pervasive and has been at least since the 50’s. It hurts our young women. It’s still hurting older ones too….just read the comments above.?

    Thank you for this, Sean. It’s a gift, a blessing, and a bandage for wounded female egos across your audience. What a shame you didn’t raise a houseful of boys!

  28. Betty F. - June 21, 2019 6:28 pm

    Can’t believe you are only 37! And congratulations on your new book that is coming out soon. I hope you make a bundle, but never forget us….

  29. Martha Black - June 21, 2019 7:45 pm

    Proverbs 4:5-13
    5 Get wisdom! Get understanding!
    Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
    6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
    Love her, and she will keep you.
    7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
    Therefore get wisdom.
    And in all your getting, get understanding.

    I believe you have fulfilled this instruction as well as humanly possible or you’re deligently headed in that direction. Thank you for continuing to observe, participate, writing it down and leaving it for us to read.

  30. Lesa Osborn - June 21, 2019 8:56 pm

    Thank you!!

  31. Bernadette Wyckoff - June 21, 2019 10:45 pm

    thank you ….once again you made my day….unlike my ex boyfriend who is thinking of getting a dog…lol

  32. Jack Darnell - June 22, 2019 1:23 am

    Yep, you learned a lot from the girls you know. “you done good!”

    Sherry and jack (and she is still with me!)

  33. Maureen - June 22, 2019 2:56 am

    I’m a 68 year old great grandma who has been feeling rather fluffy. My 70 year old sister is skinny as a rail. If someone would sneeze it would knock her over. However, I met a friend I hadn’t seen in years last night and he told me I looked beautiful. And today I read you note and feel JUST RIGHT! Thank you.

  34. Ken Dunn - June 22, 2019 5:02 pm

    You changed a lot of womens’ lives with this article. Most can now realize how great they are regardless of their body size. It’s all about the heart- not body !

  35. Martha Black - July 21, 2019 7:08 am

    God bless your heart! I was once married to a man who was raised by a woman who taught him the opposite of all the points you stated you loved. Then he met me and it was an instant attraction. He & I both at first, worried bout how my body might change if I ate a little too well & didnt immediately melt off any baggage obtained after possible pregnancy weight. I soon learned there was more to life than that concern and even if I was successful in retaining my size perfectly, I was still gonna age and I couldnt do much with that. After several incidents in life his body too began to bear scars but we both realized they werent of the heart. We learned to not worry about the gospel of “outward beauty” according to “mammer” and just lived our lives just as we thought we “oughter”. Oh we had a great time and joy in abundance right up until he had to go a little further ahead. But I know he leaves a trail with notes and “crumbs” to mark the trail & follow & someday I’ll catch up and overtake him. I wonder what we’ll look like then or if we’ll care. I doubt it. I know i never saw his crooked finger from a work accident, or his blond hair darken then lighten with grey or the smmoth face begin to wrinkle. To me he was forever as young and handsome as the first time my eyes found him & will again.

  36. Carolyn in Tn - July 21, 2019 11:13 am

    Thank you for this post have to share?

  37. Marge - July 21, 2019 1:35 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for my grateful tears right now. My husband of 56 years is gone and I have no one left to tell me I am beautiful; albeit a ‘fluffy’ woman of 79! I’ve learned to believe the God that made me, made me in His image and thus, I am happy these days when I look in my mirror. You, like my late husband, always seem to know what to say to lift me up!

  38. Mary Ann Massey - July 21, 2019 2:18 pm

    You really know how to make people smile! Thank you so much for your words full of “old soul” wisdom… are VERY LOVED, Sean❤️?❤️?❤️?

  39. Myra - July 21, 2019 9:13 pm

    Thank you! Just recently found your writings…..and I love them all! And by the way….My name is Myra! ?

  40. Martha - July 22, 2019 2:39 am

    Are there any more like you out there?


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