Body Positivity and/or Healthy Lifestyle?

doveDo you by any chance remember the Dove body positivity campaign (if not just have a look at the pic above)? It presented a bunch of women of different skin colors and sizes, posing together in their underwear, laughing. Some of them were very thin, others average and some more curvy. This commercial to me was the essence of what body positivity really is about – accepting oneself and cherishing one’s beauty. Nevertheless, does loving oneself mean we have a permission to make unhealthy life choices?

It’s a fact that media promote being thin rather than healthy. Quick fix diets and fat burning supplements are not trying to improve your general well-being but make you look like Carrie from “Sex and the City”. Losing weight should be a by-product of someone’s attempts to get healthy and not a goal on its own. It’s also relatively easy to just lose weight, the problem is to keep it at the same level. This is a reason why those who try to have quick results often end up not only coming back to their old weight but even picking up some additional kilos. I don’t believe in all these diets that get rid entirely of one type of a product. I don’t question their effectiveness in weight loss but rather their health benefits and the realism for long term use. I think that the only sustainable way to be healthy and therefore upkeep a healthy body weight is to eat everything in moderation and never to forget to exercise a few times a week.

Body shaming or any other sort of shaming is a rather horrible thing and I don’t think anyone should be subjected to it. However, we shouldn’t forget that it applies to everyone, not only to curvy women.  There’s nothing wrong with being realistic about one’s looks and health and wanting to change them, especially if one’s weight starts to cause health problems. This is precisely why I get a annoyed with what I find to be “aggressive body positivity”. Often when you implement lifestyle changes, people around you who don’t get upset with you. When I started to cut down on sugar, a default answer at work to coworkers offering sweets became a “no”. People obviously link it to watching your weight and if someone commented on that I never felt like giving a speech on the unhealthiness of refined sugars. “One cookie won’t kill you!” and other encouragements were often shared, making it difficult to say “no”. Sure, one cookie won’t kill me but I’d rather have a treat at home that I really like and having both isn’t an option. I also don’t feel like having a discussion I do something differently. If you tell someone about the positive changes you implement when the don’t they often attack it with some sort of self-assuring comments (“I, for one, think a real woman should have curves”). I do get sheepish around people who don’t follow a healthy lifestyle as if my own was offending them. The choices are make are about me and are not necessarily reflection on others. Besides, isn’t body positivity also about giving the right for everyone to be happy about the way they look? Even if it means they cut down on a cookie or two and follow an exercise regime? It’s really not all about the weight but also about being healthier and just feeling better… Body positivity doesn’t mean loving the fact that someone let themselves go but but self-acceptance even if they did. What is more, acceptance should encourage us to and not prevent us from making good lifestyle choices.

My point is, it’s okay to be plus-size but it’s also okay to be minus-size. We should love ourselves regardless but exercise and a healthy diet are worth praise. Binge eating and other eating problems are mental disorders and they should be treated. Self-hate wont help in stopping the self-indulgence which is why any shaming is counterproductive (plus who are you to judge, anyway?). However, being loving and understanding doesn’t mean accepting something unhealthy is good and both lack of exercise and indulgent diet should be recognised as problems to deal with.

What do you think, Rinsers? Can body positivity sometimes have negative results? Can loving oneself ever be in opposition to taking care of oneself?

 

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7 comments

  1. bklynboy59 · March 14

    Let’s be clear on something not everyone who is thin is healthy and not everyone who is large is unhealthy. We seem to get it twisted in society. You made the comment about unhealthy life choices. Not every heavy person may have made unhealthy choices when it came to food. One thing that factors into it is unexpected surgeries that could impact your weight, or a medication that can make you retain water which can affect weight and give the appearance of not eating healthy. It is important to explore those other factors and not make snap judgments that someone is making unhealthy choices when it comes to food.

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · March 14

      I’ve written a whole paragraph about it? Its starts with “It’s a fact that media promote being thin rather than healthy.”. I think naturally skinny people are more in danger of being unhealthy because society has it twisted as you say. They don’t eat well and skip exercise, because they’re skinny anyway and that’s what many people care about. It’s also true rgar some people who eat well and exercise are bigger, they may have other issues. However, I’ve met one person in my life when it was truly the case. It’s not about skinny or fat, it’s about being healthy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. geminilvr · March 14

    Healthy is not a size, it is a lifestyle. But most of all you have to be happy with yourself, inside and out, and not worry what a magazine or person or media dictates you should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · March 14

      Agreed. Especially that media promotes being skinny as a solution to all the world problems…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. EnglishRosiee · March 14

    Nice post.

    Of course, it shouldn’t be about looking a certain way. It’s not bad to want to lose a few pounds here and there but don’t expect that be the key to eternal happiness. Even having a healthy lifestyle where you do yoga everyday and eat nothing but kale and water isn’t going to help solve all your problems – that’s going to take constant work.

    I do think self-acceptance does come with age though. As time goes on and we have more life experience a little bit of self-reflection can teach us what our assets are and we can learn to use these to our advantage.

    Sure, one may not be a blond bombshell but maybe you are a highly respected rocket scientist or just that good value guy at the party that everyone wants to hang out with.

    For some ‘fixing’ their body and adopting a healthier lifestyle might be just what they need for that confidence boost. There is a lot of focus in the media on looking good and feeling good – but I don’t think it solely has to do with exercise/healthy eating. Maybe society should start encouraging people to pursue other forms of self-improvement as well – reading books, developing a passion for something, etc.

    Look I’m not saying that people should stop eating kale (I love the stuff) or doing exercise but there is a lot more to being a well-rounded person and there are also other ways to improve your confidence and self-esteem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · March 16

      I think self-acceptance is linked to many things. Good, loving and accepting family environment as a child, a school in which you don’t end up bullied… A lot of things influence whether you’ll be prone to be loving towards yourself. If you developed certain mentality by young adulthood, unfortunately you have a longer way to go than those who have been feeling worthy since childhood. I don’t think that eating well and an exercise routine are there solely as a confidence boost. They also influence your anxiety and stress levels, your mood etc, all of which improve the way you feel about yourself. I agree with you that society doesn’t exactly encourage other forms of self-improvement. I’ve never seen a magazine called “Be smart” but seen millions of “Be active”. I think we forget as a whole that each of us has unique skills we could work on and later use to improve lives of others. I do think, however, that being disciplined in terms of diet and exercise can give you the right habits to pursue other, long term self-improvement commitments.

      Like

  4. Pingback: Destructive Insecurity and Why It’s Important to Work on It | rinse before use

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