I’ve wanted to write this blog post forever about the body positivity movement. Every time I sit down to write, I can’t seem to string the words together in an eloquent manner. It’s been hard to find the right words because it’s a complex topic with a lot of layers. Ironically though it’s a really simple concept. This is just the first of many conversations but let’s get started.
I’m talking about the body positivity movement as it pertains to weight loss. Can they coexist? In this post, I’m going to break down what the movement is, dispel some of the dangerous myths, and share my views on what it means within the Irresistible Icing community.
What is the Body Positivity Movement?
The Body Positive Movement is a feminist movement that encourages women and/or female-identifying people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being.
I think this is a great thing! Just like anything though, there are extremists that are polluting the message and quite frankly sharing some dangerous rhetoric across the internet and social media. The body positivity movement has gotten out of control and I’ve had enough. What started out as something to help all bodies feel inclusive has turned into a hypocritical community of bullies. I say this as it relates to the extremists of the movement.
Can I Be Body Positive AND Lose Weight?
Body positivity absolutely CAN include weight loss. This mission of my blog is to “create an irresistible life you can’t resist.” Living an irresistible life includes self love and appreciation for your body RIGHT NOW as it is. It is also about looking at your current life and determining if there are areas that you want to change. If those changes include losing weight, great. If not, great. Either way, it’s not my effing business what you do with YOUR body.
Read This: How Kayaking Transformed My Body Image
What I find infuriating are the body positive extremists that are preaching that it’s dangerous and “violent” to lose weight or alter your body in any fashion. I actually saw this being said to someone who was just diagnosed with a weight related disease where their doctor stated weight loss would dramatically improve the disorder!!! They led the person to believe that they are not body positive if they set out to intentionally lose weight…even though it could save their life! WTF!
It’s to the point where plus size models that have lost weight or show exercise on their Instagram have been sent death threats from their “fans.”
I can’t understand how a movement that started out of self love is judging others for the decisions they make about their own bodies. They are basically saying if you’re fat, come sit with us but the minute you lose weight or decide to change, you can’t sit with us. That has ZERO logic.
Body positivity means doing whatever is right for YOU and your journey.
Health at Every Size is Bullshit, Right?
Another extremist view is that health exists at every size. While I appreciate that we can all love ourselves at any size, we have to get real about health. This Health at Every Size movement is ignorant and dangerous for many reasons.
Yes, I’ve had my health judged by doctors based on my weight and the outdated BMI chart and I think that’s bullshit. There are some doctors that look at you and the first thing they see is an overweight patient. They love to use that as the source of ALL your problems because they just want to rush you out the door and get to the next person. Those doctors are misinformed if they are ONLY looking at weight and not looking at the full picture. It’s not just about the weight.
BUT . . . and this is where it gets complicated. Sometimes it is about the weight.
We have to recognize that at some point weight does matter to your overall health. To deny that is downright ignorant and dangerous. Recognizing this is NOT fat shaming! It comes down to basic science. Extreme obesity DOES lead to other diseases and yes it hinders your quality of life. This is not diet propaganda. It’s a fact.
At my largest weight, I was downright miserable, physically and mentally. I was so tired and winded from walking around my college campus. I couldn’t zip my boots. I didn’t have a period for almost a year. I had extreme anxiety and depression. I used every excuse to not blame it on the weight because I was in DENIAL. It WAS the weight causing this. Once I started focusing on eating better and exercising, I started losing weight and I felt 100 times better.
Bottom line. You don’t need to be a fitness model to be healthy. You don’t have to be thin to be healthy. But, let’s not ignore the scientific fact that carrying around an extreme amount of weight can eventually effect your health and quality of life.
Weight Watchers is Not Body Positive?
As someone who struggled with weight and binge eating disorder, I’ve tried just about every single fad diet under the sun. I can tell you from experience that they don’t work. At least not long term. I am not a fan of anything that tells you you can never have icing or champagne again. What kind of life is that!? Let’s be honest with ourselves. Food is not just fuel. It’s a big part of our life and our society. It’s what we all gather around when there’s a celebration, a tragedy, or a holiday. The difference between restricting yourself and binging? Moderation.
When I finally admitted to myself that I freakin’ love food, it was a game changer for me. I realized that I could eat the things I love without binging while still living a healthy lifestyle. I found this through Weight Watchers which a lot of extremists say is not body positive because technically they are a diet and want to cash in on your insecurities. Pffft.
Weight Watchers has saved my life and given me parameters to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I still eat icing. I eat salads one day and cheeseburgers the next. I’m not miserable. I never feel that horrible hopeless deprivation feeling that diets used to give me. I’ve learned to live life in moderation.
[clickToTweet tweet=”An irresistible life happens when you learn how to do everything in moderation. ” quote=”An irresistible life happens when you learn how to do everything in moderation. “]
Yea, some days I still binge. The difference now? I recognize when and why I’m doing it and I move on. We are human. Shit happens. Sometimes I still cope with stuff by emotional eating. Just like some rent-a- therapist told me while in the middle of a depression/binge cycle, “It could be worse. It’s just food. At least you’re not using meth.” Horrible advice to give to someone with a eating disorder but you get the gist.
Do It For You
I get the argument that you shouldn’t lose weight just to fit into society standards of what is deemed a “good” body and I agree with that. I speak from experience that just focusing on losing weight to fit into a dress or for some short term vanity goal is not long lasting. It also won’t work if you’re doing it for other people and not for yourself. It didn’t work for me until I realized I had to focus on my mind, body, AND soul in order for real changes to happen. To get to that place took a lot of work on myself and self love.
For me, making a decision to live an active lifestyle and eat in moderation whether or not I do it with Weight Watchers or not IS body positive. I firmly believe that you need to appreciate and love your body before those life changes can actually occur.
Intuitive Eating. Just Listen to Your Body?
They also preach that you should just eat what your body tells you to. Well, without any parameters in place (TY Weight Watchers), my body tells me to eat cheeseburgers, fries, milkshakes, and cupcakes. If I listened to my body, I’d be auditioning for My 600 Lb Life. Just recently I saw a “body image coach” say that it’s ok to binge eat and that you should embrace it. WHAT?!
As someone who has struggled with emotional eating and binge eating disorder all my life, telling people to “just” eat intuitively is dangerous. I tried it. I did the bullshit “scale free” living and ate what my body told me to. I gained weight. A shitload of weight.
Scales are not evil. Journaling your meals is not evil. Having boundaries with food is not evil. Some people, myself included, need to have boundaries in place. I’m an all or nothing personality. If I don’t have parameters in my life, I go to the extreme. Again, it comes down to balance and moderation.
What I Believe About Body Positivity
Like I mentioned, it’s a complicated topic but it’s actually quite simple. When it comes to body positivity, I might have a different view from some of the other extremists out there and that’s ok. If what I believe in speaks to you, then you’re in the right place. To sum it all up, this is what Irresistible Icing and the #IrresistibleYou movement is all about.
♥ You can be irresistible at any weight, size, or age.
♥ You can love your body and simultaneously strive for improving it.
♥ There is no magical before and after story. We are all a work in progress.
♥ Body positivity is a journey.
♥ Don’t wait for the weight. Life is happening right now. Not 20 lbs from now!
♥ You have to work on your mind, body, and soul in order to create an irresistible life.
If this resonates with you, I invite you to subscribe to Irresistible Icing to get on my VIP list and receive my free downloadable workbook, “How To Create an Irresistible Life.”
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You hit the nail on the head. Love this so much! All the best to you and your health.
Thank you so much!
This is the first blog post I’ve read about “Body Positivity” that hasn’t left me aggravated. Everything I’ve read is either touting self acceptance no matter what and anything else is fat-shaming Or it IS fat-shaming.
People who say they’re body positive at dangerously unhealthy weights are lying to themselves. I don’t believe it’s possible to feel confident about your appearance when going up a flight of stairs makes you feel like you’re gonna die.
My biggest gripe about the whole idea is that most of what I’ve seen only focuses on what you look like and nothing else. Feeling body positive should absolutely include feeling healthy.
Thank you so much, Jen. Your comment means a lot as it was really challenging to pull my thoughts together for this post.
Thiiiis. I was in a “body positivity” grouo in Facebook – and they were a nasty bunch of toxic people. You couldn’t mention diet, you couldn’t mention weight or weight loss (EVEN WHEN IT WAS TIED TO HEALTH: One woman was kicked out for daring to say losing 40 lbs as a result of getting her thyroid under control made her feel better. I was like screw these idiots), or basically do anything but fawn over how cute everyone was. It qas ridiculous. I mean, no – diabetes is tied to weight and lifestyle. I have diabetes. I am an unhealthy 291 lbs. I feel like crap – but according to the fanatics I look cute so I shouldn’t care. Nope. My body doesn’t like this weight, and the creaking and cracking of my bones are telling me I need to lose.
YAS girl! Those are the exact attitudes (from the group) that I can’t get behind. I am totally about loving yourself regardless of your weight b/c we all deserve that…but when it comes to weight, there does come a point where it’s not serving us and it’s taking a toll on our body and health. xoxo
Owning a scale for me meant weighing myself everyday. When I weighed less I would eat unhealthy food, when I weighed more I’d get upset and eat more. Then I finally started extreme calorie cutting(400 calories a day). Body positivity AND intuitive eating saved me. Intuitive eating and not owning a scale have actually helped me lose 20 lbs.(42lbs if you count when I was starving myself) I’m sorry it didn’t work for you but it doesn’t mean its bullshit. Not everyone can do intuitive eating, its harder then dieting ever was. Like the other day I had a doughnut that was way too sweet and decided to not eat it ever again.(I used to crave sugary junk food)
That’s great that it worked for you. That’s what this journey is all about – finding things that work for YOUR body and not having to follow what someone else does or says you should do. Congrats!