From my understanding, the body positivity movement is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings have worth and should feel at home in their body no matter what the size.
It sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? True acceptance in every form.
And though I promote such a message I feel like (as most trending concepts do) it seems to get lost in translation.
I don’t believe people should be shamed for the size or shape of their body. When was the last time shame ever helped, anyone?
As someone who was formerly almost 300 pounds at 5’6, I know what it’s like to receive the judgemental stares, the comments, to be the brunt of someone’s cruel joke. I also know how physically hard it is to carry that much weight. Walking up a single flight of stairs left me so out of breath that I need time to recover before proceeding. Tying my own shoes was a chore. My knees hurt constantly. Dropping something on the floor left me wondering if I really needed that thing anyways. I could go on. I was extremely uncomfortable.
But I don’t judge people for their physical bodies. Instead, I offer compassion because I get it. I’ve been there. I think that we are all just trying our best with what we know.
"One thing I have learned from being an obese child, overweight adult, and now a healthy weight adult, is: the problem isn't weight, it is pain." - Katie Willcox
Where I struggle with some of the body positivity messages is that they have taken 180-turn in the opposite direction because they promote being overweight and living an unhealthy lifestyle. They shame weight loss and promote weight gain. Which I think is kinda missing the entire point…
Where is the positive in that message? Especially if you do desire to lose some weight, does that mean that you are no longer body positive? I don’t think so, because I believe you can love yourself and still want to change. Hell, that’s called growth.
I work with people every day that desire to live in a smaller body. Do I shame them for that? No, of course not. I listen to their “why”. And often it’s because they want to be able to move better, to feel good in their bodies, to live a healthy lifestyle and be around for when their children start having children.
To me being body positive means being kind to your body. That is offering it gratitude for what it does for you. Moving your body on a daily basis, because you weren’t meant to sit all day. And providing your body with food that makes it feel energized, alive and well.
Because isn’t it really about feeling really good and at home in our bodies?
"When it comes to the relationship you have with your own body, learn to find acceptance as you are-not thinner or prettier, but as you are right now." - Sarah Sapora.