The Body Positivity Movement: As Positive As Possible?

Disclaimer: This post is going to be less about facts and research and more about my personal opinion. Feel free to disagree.

               Body Positivity is a constant struggle for virtually every individual in the modern world, of every age, gender, and background. If you are reading this post right now, chances are you are exposed to several other social media platforms every day. Luckily, plenty of headway is being made on the body positivity front. Tons of amazing body positive plus sized role models have come forward to post their un-retouched and “unflattering” photos for the entire world to see to help normalize a range of body types. Essentially, we all need a little bit of reverse brainwashing so that we stop comparing every body type we see against the image that we are conditioned to think of as “conventionally attractive” or inherently more appealing.

I love this movement. I love body positivity. I am all for this change.

However…

               I believe that beautiful, healthy people come in all shapes and sizes and I do not support promoting any body type over another, but sometimes the lines blur between promoting a positive body image and promoting self-sabotaging health habits. You should accept yourself as a valuable human being no matter where you are at on the fitness range. Whether you are a marathon runner or someone who struggles to walk from one end of the house to another, you are equally as important and worthy of self-love. This does not necessarily mean that you should accept all of your eating and fitness habits as they are. There are plenty of people who eat well, exercise often, and still have body types that do not fit the typical visual metric of “healthy” or “preferable”. This is absolutely fine and I believe as long as they are taking care of themselves physically and emotionally they should go on living their lives without change.

               There are also people whose diet and activity levels are doing nothing for health or wellness. It is not about size, shape, how well they fit into their clothing, how attractive they are seen by other people, or how high or low the numbers on their scale jump when they step onto it. It is simply about the quality of life they are establishing for themselves, and the fact that they deserve to feel and function better than they are. Many individuals who eat very few nutritious foods and do not exercise anywhere near the recommended amount still have outward appearances that would suggest otherwise. They stand to benefit just as much from a change in lifestyle as their peers who show outward evidence of poor dietary choices.

               The body positivity trend is an amazing and crucial one. Too long have little girls and boys looked at images on screens and billboards and magazine articles and felt shame and disappointment that their own outward appearances did not reflect this quintessential image advertised to them. But, it would be a shame to promote low standards for self care in the name of body positivity. Body positivity should be about celebrating the ability to love your body exactly how it is, and then valuing it enough to constantly be taking steps to keep it healthy. No one is perfect, and everyone deserves to treat themselves every now and then, but in order to love and look after your body you should aim to eat nutritious foods the majority of the time.

To anyone who is struggling with their body image or health/fitness level –

BODY POSITIVITY DOES NOT = SETTLING FOR BAD HEALTH BECAUSE YOU HAVE LEARNED TO ACCEPT HOW YOU LOOK

BODY POSITIVITY = LOVING AND VALUING YOURSELF ENOUGH TO WANT TO MAKE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES AND ADORING WHATEVER APPEARANCE THAT SELF CARE PRODUCES

It’s what’s on the inside that counts! That’s what body positivity is all about.

If you’re looking for body positive, health and fitness positive role models:

Anna Victoria @annavictoria on Instagram

Loey Lane @loeybug on Instagram

Raw Alignment (Alyse Braugitam) @rawalginment@alysebrautigam on Instagram

Kevin Davis @notoriouslydapper on Instagram

Bruce Sturgell @chubstr on Instagram

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