Has anyone thought that the body positivity movement is all just a lazy person’s excuse to stay fat?
An unhealthy movement that encourages weight problems?
A fad that is trying to normalise obesity rather than tackle it?
I have an admission to make: I have thought all of those things. But please, bear with me …
For years, I have struggled with body image – never happy with the way I look, always on a mission to change something about my appearance. Always a little heavier than I want to be. Looking in the mirror and feeling shame. Wanting to reach a new goal. But I never thought the body positivity movement applied to me. I didn’t want it to apply to me because I didn’t want to label myself fat. Even though I felt it. And I thought that only overweight people needed to work on feeling good about their body. I felt bad about myself but I wasn’t included in the movement. I thought the body positivity movement was only for overweight people. Such a confused and contradictory view, huh! But you see, I think my negative view of #BoPo has been based on my negative view of myself.
I cannot be positive about myself because it will encourage me to be lazy.
I cannot be positive about my body because then my weight problems will become permanent.
I cannot be positive about how I look because if I am happy, I will get stuck this way.
I realise my opening paragraph is pretty shocking. Judgemental. Naive. Rude. Short sighted. Blind. I am a little afraid of posting it. But I don’t think that I am alone in feeling that way. I don’t think I am alone in feeling unhappy with my body and saying “I will be happy when …”. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like I don’t want to be labelled fat even though I call myself fat all the time. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that body positivity doesn’t apply to me; I don’t deserve to feel good.
But here is something I have learned:
- We all deserve to be happy.
- Our weight should not deny us happiness.
- We are all people; we are not numbers on a scale.
- We all exist right now, in this moment, just as we are.
- There is no difference in a person’s worth if they are underweight, a healthy weight or overweight.
- You are allowed to like yourself right now. You don’t have to wait. Everyone is allowed that.
- Judging an overweight person as lazy is naive.
- Loving myself right now, does not mean I am committing to staying the same.
Thanks to some inspiring women (Style Me Sunday, Mother of Daughters, BodyPosiPanda), I started to realise that the way I viewed my body was pretty harmful to my overall wellbeing. I have cancelled nights out because of how I look. I have felt shame when I looked at myself. I have felt disgust when I see pictures. Those things are not healthy. They are not good for me. I shouldn’t carry all that negative feeling around with me. Do I really have to wait to be thinner before I truly like myself? Do I truly need to lose weight before I allow myself to be happy? Should I stay indoors and hide because my body is shameful?
I am starting to see that my mindset has been wrong. This has been bubbling along for a few months. I am having to work really hard on it but I am starting to like myself and love my body more and more.
Lately I’ve had a few light bulb moments …
Firstly, a couple of weeks ago, I went to a friends house for dinner. I was thinking about apologising for being fat. Or at least bringing it up so I could let them know I wasn’t planning on staying this way. I didn’t want them to think I was happy to be so overweight. Then I turned it around and thought about it from their view – if they did notice my weight gain, I am sure their feelings would be of sadness for me and everything I have been through. Concern maybe for the problems I have had. I don’t think they would see me as lazy, shameful or disgusting. I am sure they know that I will want to lose the weight. I am sure they don’t care – all they care about is that I am happy. I don’t need to bring it up. I don’t need to justify the way I look. I am here right now, just as I am and I deserve to have a good time. So I didn’t mention my weight. And neither did they. I focused on having the good time that I deserved to have and had a brilliant night.
Secondly, while completing my #1stepcloser challenge I have been aware of quite how much extra weight I am carrying. I am so frustrated with myself. I have never felt this way – sluggish and heavy. I want to hate myself for it. But, how can I? I am doing something amazing committing to raising money and running so much. I am doing this challenge for the little lives we lost. The lives that caused me to go through a hormonal roller coaster: a big part of the reason I am carrying extra weight. I am proud of what I am doing so it follows that I am proud of my body. It’s tough but I am doing it.
Lastly, my body carries the DNA of 5 more lives. My babies are wrapped up in the fibre of my being. They are where they will live; safe with me. How can I hate the body that made them and houses them?
Yes, I want to lose weight. I don’t feel comfortable at this size. I don’t feel healthy. Does that mean I need to hate who I am now? No way. Does body positivity mean that I am committing to staying the same? Absolutely not. But it means that I choose to like myself now, tomorrow and after. I can like myself now whilst working towards goals. I can be proud of what my body has achieved and what my body has been through without apologising for who I am. I am not lazy. Being overweight doesn’t mean I am – or others are – for that matter. I am just a woman, living her life and trying to be my best self. Trying to live my best life. I am still learning. Feel free to correct my thinking. This post is not meant to offend – it is more of an honest account of some views that I am pretty ashamed of (those first 3 points at the start of the post). But I have a feeling that I am not alone in thinking them and actually addressing those views has helped me start to love myself a lot more.