We live in a world that is pushing is to understand, accept and encourage one another in every situation, a mentality that we in the blogging community are constantly being encouraged to embrace. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I feel like it needs to be addressed – At what point does body positivity and acceptance end and the encouragement of bad behaviours and poor health begin?
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Okay, so now that I’ve likely offended at least a handful of you, stick with me for a moment so I can explain what I mean. I am by NO means a stick thin model. I don’t have a perfect body (or anything close) and I have battled with eating issues for most of my life, so the basic concept of body positivity is one that I am definitely happy to see emerging in our society.
Consider, for a moment, the fact that girls as young as 5 and 6 are making comments about hating their bodies and needing to go on a diet in order to ‘be pretty’. That’s a sign that something is SERIOUSLY wrong with our society, no questioning that. In response, the body positivity movement was born, and it’s been picking up some great success. ‘Plus Size’ models (that aren’t really plus size, but that’s another debate) are walking the runways and staring in ad campaigns at a growing rate alongside their thinner counterparts. We have a long way to go to get it right, but it’s definitely headed in the right direction.
However, something concerning has come from this shift. Suddenly the phrase ‘I love my body’ is being used to brush away everything.
Let’s break it down – Your healthiest body weight is different for every person. This isn’t a weight that’s determined by watching the scale or taking part in some crazy trend diet. If you were to eat healthy and get a moderate amount of physical activity, nothing over the top, this is the weight your body would settle at. For some, this healthy body weight will have them wearing a size 2, while others are rocking a 16. This is where we, as a society, need to learn to be more accepting.
One of the biggest problems that has come from our lack of understanding of the concept of healthy body weight is the trends of yo-yo dieting, unhealthy fad diets and even using starvation to try to cut the weight. These are young girls and women who are trying so hard to force their bodies to be thinner than they are naturally wired to be, that they are going to unhealthy extremes.
BUT here’s the point that many choose to overlook – In pushing this ‘all acceptance, all the time’ approach, we are also normalizing binge eating, laziness, and junk diets. We are normalizing high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. This is where I have a problem with it all…
Yes, there certainly some people that are a larger size when they are at their healthiest, but with a growing obesity epidemic sweeping North America in particular, there are A LOT of people who are a larger size simply because they are making unhealthy daily choices. They are eating crap, sitting around all day and allowing their bodies to fall into a state of disarray. Then we wonder why we are seeing higher rates of disease and illness… It may not be preventable in all cases, but a lot of it is! So, what are we going to do about it?
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers. You can’t just look at someone who walks in rocking a size 16 jumpsuit and know if she’s healthy at that size or not at first glance. However, we can take a look at what we’re sharing, encouraging and promoting. Especially us influencers like bloggers and vloggers. Whether you’re new to the community or you’ve been at it for a while, your audience keeps returning to you because they value your opinion. So, what are you encouraging in them?
Rather than just talking about body positivity and self-acceptance, I challenge influencers to also make ‘healthy living’ part of your war cry. This doesn’t mean you have to become a ‘gym rat’ or a ‘health nut’ as many will point out in response to this – but embrace the smaller healthy choices. Just adding a short walk to your day can improve your physical activity or choosing a healthier snack instead of straight sugar every time you feel the munchies coming on. Your encouragement could make a HUGE difference in someone’s life (and your own, if you’re one that needs to hear this).
NOTE: I am not telling you not to love your body. Exactly the opposite, actually. I’m challenging you to love your body so much that you not only develop positive body image, you also take the steps to take care of it. I love seeing posts about loving yourself, sharing outfits that make you feel confident and celebrating the body you’ve been blessed with. Keep that up, just take it a step further.
I’m not perfect by any means, and I don’t expect anyone else to be either – But, I’m a work in progress and I’m doing a little better every day… What steps are you taking to improve your health and encourage others?
Have you ever considered the downfall to the body positivity movement before? If so, what steps do you believe we can take to head down a positive and beneficial path as a society?
16 thoughts on “The Harsh Truth About Body Positivity”
I love this post! I used to call myself ‘body positive’ and pretend to love my body in an attempt to hide the fact that I was severely overweight and unhappy with myself. People need to realise that being overweight isn’t the best for you and even though you love yourself, you should love yourself to want to look after yourself!
Exactly! True self love means taking care of yourself and prioritizing your health, not accepting less.
This is such a powerful lesson and truth that in todays society is more important than ever to promote. We are all made unique and beautiful in our own ways and the more positive we are the more beautiful we become. Thank you for continue to promote this.
Thank you! I feel like we are so quick to fall behind trends and society’s rules that we forget the power of individual thought…
Know what’s crazy about this whole body positivity subject, it’s ridiculously controversial, changes all the time, and just makes nobody happy. I’m no longer a spring chicken…and I’ve come to terms with many things in my life…but no matter what stage of life I am in…I have never had a perfectly positive body image. There’s always something I want to fix. I think as long as we try to stay healthy and do our best, we are ok. Health comes before weight…and ultimately, staying healthy is a gift to those you love.
Staying healthy really is the key, one that is overlooked far too often!
Really enjoyed your post! A few months ago I gained a few pounds and I’m feeling terrible, but I intend to change my diet and exercise more.
Blog: | https://stephanystory.com
It’s amazing how much better you will feel when you’re focusing on health as opposed to weight!
Such a great topic to cover! I agree taking care of your body and mental state is number one. From there you can conquer anything.
Exactly! Besides, if your physical and mental health are both in check, your confidence will give you the power to be sexy and fierce regardless of what the scale may say 🙂 Healthy is the ultimate sexy in my opinion
This is a great article, I share with a lot of friend. It’s good to love your body, even more to love you body enough to seek a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Loved this post!! There’s definitely a difference in being ‘body positive’ and ‘body positive’ in an unhealthy way, if that makes sense. Like you said everyone is different but there are cases where people are just unhealthy and its not good for them in the long run.
Vikki | http://planetvikkiblog.wordpress.com
Exactly, if you truly love someone, you want them to be healthy and that may sometimes mean letting the ‘body positivity’ push go in order to identify problems with serious long-term side effects.
Great post Britt. Body positivity is important and so is loving yourself. But you should love yourself enough to take care of yourself as well. I’m an average body type, not thin but not fat either but I know I could be healthier. I eat fairly well but don’t get as much exercise as I should, with my main form being long walks or hikes. That’s definitely something I could improve on and share more of through my blog.
That’s just it, if you REALLY love yourself, wouldn’t you WANT to take care of yourself?