The “Body Positive” movement that we know today started as women (and probably men) fighting against anti-fat dogma that forced everyone who wasn’t a size 2 into whichever diet was popular at the time. An article from Fusion.tv says that the movement has roots as early as the late 19th century with women who refused to wear corsets. The movement as we know it today started in the late 20th century with activists fighting against the idea that you had to be “thin” to be healthy.
Today, it’s still a pretty big buzz word, but it’s evolved a bit. Body positivity is how we celebrate, accept, and love our bodies regardless of size. Part of that is still aknowledging that there are people who are perfectly healthy at sizes that are considered “overweight” by mainstream medical standards. The unexpected downside to this movement is that the people who are not healthy at these overweight sizes are looked down on and judged when they decide that to improve their health by losing weight. How can you say you love your body when you’re trying to change it?
I don’t believe that what I have to say on this subject is new or unheard of, but it’s worth saying again because everyone should hear it. I agree that dieting is probably not right for you if you’re only doing it to lose that last 10lbs to fit into an ideal standard that someone else has deemed “beautiful”. Some bodies are created to carry more fat than others, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes from telling people who are 100+lbs overweight that they cannot say that they love their bodies if they’re seeking to alter them by losing weight. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight to improve your health.
The key in all of this is mindset. If you’re following a strict diet and starving yourself because you think you’re “supposed” to look a certain way, then you may want to take a step back and think about why you feel like you need to fit into that ideal. If your goal is to adopt a healthier lifestyle with whole nutrition, then any results of that lifestyle change should be celebrated!
Last fall, I met with some awesome women to learn how to get out of the diet/binge cycle I was in. With the support of our amazing therapist/coach, I learned how to appreciate my body for what it is – a hardworking badass that does amazing things like heal shattered bones (a story for another time)! So at this point in my life I can honestly say that I love my body, regardless of what size jeans I wear. This appreciation for your body as-is is crucial, and it doesn’t come overnight.
If you’re trying to lose weight because you hate your body or hate the way you look, chances are you’ll be miserable the whole time and eventually fail. I love myself and the body God gave me so I want to do a better job of taking care of it, and right now that means losing weight in a healthy way. Knowing that I’m making choices that will improve my body and my life in the long run brings me great joy. So yes, I can still be “body positive” while wanting to improve my health by losing fat.
The most recent episode of the Balanced Bites Podcast addresses body positivity in a great way. If you’re interested in hearing more about how our bodies are awesome, check them out.