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Why Body Positivity Needs Your Help

  1. jodietitian says:

    This is a great post, very helpful (to me, personally). I find myself struggling sometimes to be sure I don’t write something that people take as promoting weight loss, because that is the last message I want to send. My goal is for people to focus on feeling good and being healthy, and letting go of their focus on weight. But I feel like everyone makes the assumption that whatever we say regarding health promotion people want to twist to focus on weight. After reading this I am thinking I need to always add in a clear statement no matter what I am talking about. In my world I still feel alone, everyone everywhere still focused on the scale. Even at an annual OBGYN visit last week, when the nurse asked me to get on the scale, she asked me “do you want to know?” with a look that meant “I am sure this is very important to you”. I actually laughed and said “I don’t weigh myself, why would I care? ” UGH.

    • GlenysO says:

      I think you’ve always done a great job of talking about health promotion and being clear that you are not pro-intentional-weight loss. I do find it necessary to shout from the rooftops a bit that it’s okay to be fat. People seem to miss that message very easily. 🙂

  2. IonImplant says:

    Why does it have to be that in order to support “Body Positivity” that weight loss has to become a four letter word. It’s OK to feel good about your body but also strive to make it better. As someone who likes to play sports I can assure you weight matters. No matter how fit I think I am I will perform better with less weight to drag around. I am all for accepting who you are regardless of the size but we must remember that we shouldn’t fault those who want to make changes or we are just as guilty as those who shame us for being heavy.

    • GlenysO says:

      The problem with striving for weight loss is that according to all the evidence we have, weight loss is at best temporary – within 3 to 5 years for around 90-95% of people, most, all, or even more weight is regained after the start of a weight loss attempt. Many people end up getting stuck in a cycle of weight loss and regain, only to end up larger than they started years down the road. I’m not shaming anyone for wanting to lose weight – we live in a culture that perpetuates the myth that long-term weight loss is possible for the majority of people to maintain (when clearly the evidence points to the contrary). I’m shaming a culture that insists that “bettering ourselves” involves changing our bodies at all costs. Certainly, you may perform better in sports if you are lighter, but that doesn’t make sustainable weight loss any more possible. In reality, unless we are prepared to dedicate our lives to it, substantially changing our weights is not a statistical likelihood. If you spend some time looking into the science around long-term (>5 years) weight loss, you will see that this is true.

  3. I’ve found some definitions of body positivity to be a disingenuous show of support. Saying “curvy” instead of “fat” doesn’t show support, to me, it shows someone trying to say they are cool with fat people without saying the word fat.

    • GlenysO says:

      I agree, and I have an intense dislike of euphemisms as well. Curvy is one I dislike as a replacement for “fat” – you can be “normal weight” and curvy and fat and curvy. More appropriate euphemisms for me would be lumpy or squishy – but since I hate obscuring language, I just prefer fat as a starting place. I feel we need to use that word in a neutral way as much as possible. Nothing says, “I’m not cool with fat” more than not being able to say the word “fat.”

      • Agreed! Fat activists like Lindy West and “the fat heffalump” (her name is Kath, but I don’t know her last name) both use “fat” regularly to normalize it.

        • GlenysO says:

          Yes, many of us do now, which I appreciate so much. Especially fat fashion bloggers – I love that a lot of them embrace “fat”.

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