There’s a movement called body positivity which has good intentions, but like most well-intentioned social movements, it is infected with a lot of poorly thought out narratives that pervert the core goodness and intent.
The basic idea is that you should love yourself and your body, no matter how it looks. You shouldn’t try to live up to society’s standards of beauty and image and should accept your body as it is.
I agree with this. It’s good and it’s true. You shouldn’t live up to anyone’s beauty standards, including the body positivity movement’s standards! And yes, they have them. While it’s supposedly about loving your body as it is, they seem to only accept those who aren’t skinny, rather than everyone. They harshly judge anyone who diets or exercises or makes any effort to alter their body in any way. Because, if you’re doing something to change it, you must view how it currently is as bad! Bullshit.
Would you treat your mind the same way you treat your body?
“Improvement doesn’t mean rejecting where you are now.”
Do you stop learning in life or just say “I’ve learned all I ever need to learn and my brain is perfect just the way it is, so I’m going to stop reading and learning because that’s for people who hate their minds!” No, that would be stupid. Every aspect of ourselves can be improved and improvement doesn’t mean rejecting where you are now. It doesn’t mean hating yourself or living up to anyone else’s standards. It’s not saying where you are now is bad and must be shamed. It simply means that you love yourself enough to have an increasing quality of life. The alternative is stagnancy. Nothing good ever came from stagnancy.
Facts are not value judgments!
The main problem with the body positivity movement is that many in it confuse medical facts with value judgments. If a doctor says that a lot of body fat can lead to greater risk of heart disease, that’s a fact! That’s not saying “you’re bad if you’re fat”. It’s not shaming anyone to state a fact. Whether you like it or not, a lot of excess fat does greatly increase the risk of heart disease. The evidence for this is overwhelming. It’s not about beauty standards or looks. It’s a fact that provides information and it’s up to you what you do with it. That’s all.
It doesn’t matter if you’re currently big and healthy. It doesn’t matter if your aunt was 300lbs and her doctors all told her she was healthy as a horse up until the day she died at age 97. The point is increased risk, not a black and white declaration saying that if you’re fat you absolutely will have heart disease. Thinking that’s what a doctor is saying is a huge leap away from reality and logic. If the risk is worth it to you in order to hold on to some ideal, then take that risk. It’s your body.
Body positivity is not about how you look, but how you feel!
The main thing to remember is this: how you look is not nearly as important as how you physically feel.
“Feeling positive about your body is a poor substitute for feeling positive in your body!”
Read that sentence again, because it’s the most important thing being said here. Absorb it.
Do you run out of breath climbing a flight of stairs? Are you constantly tired, exhausted or fatigued? Do you feel sluggish and lack energy? Do you have a lot of brain fog and lack of mental clarity? If you do, then obviously some changes need to be made, and positive thinking isn’t going to do it.
If you feel like shit, then why not do something about it? After all, if you love yourself, why would you prolong feeling like shit? What is the point of that? So you can “stick to your guns”? Hey, if that’s more important than feeling energetic and clear, have fun with that.
If you feel anything less than energetic and clear most of the time, then why not do whatever it takes to get energetic and clear? That can mean a bit of exercise and a change in what you eat, or something else. Whatever works. It’s not about following any standards, it’s about the results! Feeling positive about your body is a poor substitute for feeling positive in your body!
If you love your body, make it feel good! Take action, even if it means getting ejected from the perpetually offended cool kids club! You’re better off without their negativity disguised as support. They are all about intentional victimhood! If you are big and you honestly, truly feel energetic and clear most of the time, then awesome! Do your thing! Forget I said anything. But be brutally honest with yourself. Do you?
Love how your body feels more than how you feel about your body!
If the answer is yes, then cool. However, if you start to feel consistently less than energetic and clear, it may be time to re-evaluate. One thing I’ve learned the hard way: it takes many times more effort to make changes the longer a situation persists. Waiting too long can lead to a situation with no solution. Eating like shit and not caring what anyone else thought gave me diabetes.
Furthermore, at 265 lbs, I felt terrible. Doing anything physical felt like too much effort. My knees and lower back hurt all the time. Breathing was more difficult. All the self-acceptance in the world didn’t change any of that.
I changed my habits and turned things around, and I was told I had body dysmorphia. No, I have diabetes, not dysmorphia. Diabetes will kill me if I don’t make changes. It would have been better if I made choices that didn’t lead to diabetes in the first place. I ignored how badly I felt. I’m paying the price for my pride.
Don’t do anything to live up to anyone’s standards or expectations. You don’t need a social movement or an ideology. You need good choices that mitigate risk and do the least amount of harm. Being smart is better than being right.