Over the years, Melissa McCarthy has made a name for herself as a plus-sized actress in a minus-sized Hollywood. As is the case for most average women, her weight has fluctuated between a smaller size on The Gilmore Girls to fuller figured in Tammy. Regardless, she’s never been a size zero but she’s managed to be very successful and has never seemed uncomfortable with her body. In fact, she has said in interviews that she loves who she is and feels that her positive self-image is a good example for her two small girls.

In the past week, there have been numerous reports that McCarthy is looking slimmer these days. Some estimate that she’s lost about 50 pounds. Commenters on the articles say they like the actress at any size while others have voiced their support, saying that they are glad she’s chosen to be healthy.

Melissa McCarthy may have lost weight. She may have even started eating better and she may be exercising more. One thing she has not done is ask our opinion of her body or the status of her health. In fact, she’s simply chosen to entertain us and, because we pay to see her movies, we feel as though we have a right to chime in on how she should be living her life.

What’s interesting is that, yes, it is important to be proactive about our health but being of average weight does not guarantee longevity. It’s entirely possible that a slimmer actress eats poorly and rarely works out but is slender due to genetics or a high metabolism. For this reason, researchers are beginning to evaluate people based on their “fitness” rather than their “fatness.”

More and more studies are showing that, even without losing weight, being physically fit lowered the risk of premature death. Some call it “healthy obesity” while others call it “fat but fit.” Whatever the label, it’s being shown that the number on the scale is less important than the lifestyle that we lead.

For good measure, in case this data turns out to be right, we should consider focusing more on encouraging people to eat well, get active and reduce stress rather than put pressure on them to fit into a certain dress size. Melissa McCarthy looks like she lives a happy, fulfilled life and, at the end of the day, isn’t that more important than anything else?