It’s hard to talk about body acceptance when you are on the curvy or fat side without being told you are encouraging obesity.
When you’re fat and don’t like it, the world says loose weight. And when you’re fat and happen to love your body anyway, then the world says stop glorifying obesity!
Reading through comments on a Facebook article can alter your day when you see what people really think about curvy or fat persons.
I followed an exchange between a fitness advocate friend of mine and her friend on Facebook. The subject was women should stop wearing corsets to hide the extra flesh and go to the gym and eat healthy. Hiding behind corsets is being fake and lazy. Her friend commented saying , she is not allowed to judge others because people have a lot of issues going on and body types differ. What works for one may not work for the other, so it shouldn’t be some sort of standard of beauty.
Then I realized many people have a wrong understanding of what body love or body positivism is.
People make assumptions about fat people that they’d never make about someone who is slim. A lot of “normal” people seem to think that being fat is this conscious and deliberate choice we all set out to make everyday.
To much, if not most of the world, fat people are bad when they love themselves despite being fat. And they’re bad when they struggle with self-hatred too.
Plus, everyone wants to give fat people advice on how to stop being fat. Go keto! Start exercising! Stop eating!
Strangers begin throwing out suggestions without even knowing anything about what they do, have done, or where they’ve been.
What is Body Acceptance / Positivism
Body acceptance isn’t about celebrating obesity or making anyone fat.
If you care enough once you start talking about the health problems related to obesity, you would also care about the way your words and attitude contribute to another’s poor mental health.
Body positivism simply supports better mental health and hygiene, which in turn supports better physical health as well. People who feel bad about themselves and their bodies have a harder time making consistently healthy choices.
Have you ever experienced depression? Often, you don’t even want to take a shower even though you know it would make you feel better. Depression changes the way you feel about yourself.
So if we want people to be good to themselves and their bodies, if we want them to build healthy habits, then we’ve got to quit sending out toxic messages about being fat.
The truth about Obesity…
Many who struggle with obesity, poor body image, and mental health issues have already been through every cycle imaginable. They’ve starved to get thin, exercised for hours to burn off one extra bite of food, called their bodies ugly and worthless and they’ve accused themselves of taking up too much space.
And even when they know firsthand just how hard they’re working to not be fat, they still end up feeling like it’s not enough. Like none of their efforts will ever be enough.
You don’t know exhaustion until you’ve been through the fatigue and self-loathing of battling body weight. Or what it’s like to be at war with your body for years.
So bear with us, if for a moment we realize that we need to deal with our mental health and quit counting every kilo-calorie or pushing our bodies to exercise 14 hours a week. Excuse us for having families that wear us out and need us. Don’t judge us for not being able to afford gym memberships and trainers, personal chefs or any of the most effective weight loss programs.
We all know about the dangers of obesity. In fact, most of us are able to talk to professionals and determine what’s the more pressing focus — our weight or our mental health.
So instead of pointing out the unhealthiness of being fat, you could try helping people see that they’re already valuable and worthy of love regardless of their body size or shape. Building healthy habits is much easier when we feel good about ourselves already. You could even learn more about the kind of support fat people need to make healthy changes. And then, you know, actually be supportive.
Is it really so hard to stop judging and treat everyone like… people?
We all have a right to exist in this world without ridicule for simply being there. We have a right to wrestle our demons and pursue happiness just as much as anyone else. And we don’t owe you any apologies for existing or taking up space.
If we owe anyone an apology, it’s ourselves. For believing we could only have worth if our bodies got small enough. We deserve to take the time we need to care about our whole selves–body, mind, and spirit.