Today we’re talking about body positivity and weight loss. Can you be body positive and want to lose weight?
Whether it’s the election or TV shows, there’s been an explosion of stories about weight stigma, self acceptance in the news and social media. We think it’s great that this conversation is growing so we’re diving right into this timely topic today.
Here's what we talked about:
What is body positivity? There’s not a singular approved definition. It’s a way of life and philosophy of respecting our bodies and treating them well that had its origins in the fat acceptance community. Body positivity is trending so much that I’m nervous it may jump the shark. There is growing chatter about mixing weight loss diet culture messages with body positivity messages and it’s making some people angry. Those who started the body positivity movement are moving to terms like “fat activism” and “fat positive” to ensure there are safe spaces where you can be fat, not just a fat person trying to lose weight. We talked about the tendency to “give credit” to weight loss when we achieve goals. For example if you make lifestyle changes and happen to lose some weight and have less knee pain, you attribute that to the weight loss rather than your actions. This associates knee problems with weight when people of all sizes have knee problems! There’s a lot of nuance there, but if we need to understand that weight loss may not be a helpful conversation in a body positivity space. My view is you can't control your honest desires and "wants" - they are thoughts and feelings - but you can accept you feel that way, acknowledge that diet culture and society plays a role in creating them, but focus on the actions you would take - losing a certain amount of weight is not an action. So you can be body positive, reject dieting (and want to lose weight at the same time) and focus on a healthy approach to habits. If you lose weight you're not kicked out of the body positive club. We discussed our mixed feelings about the new show This Is Us which has a fat character Kate. I was disappointed that Kate’s weight battle was such a part of her story, when it looked like she is buying foods to binge eat - not healthy at any size! Bernie hated that her fridge was full of junk food and felt it was extreme and cliched. I loved that her family does not judge her based on her weight. When she asked her brother to tell her to lose the weight, he did not. Kate’s own voice is the loudest that her weight is a problem. I would like to see the real problems get addressed - her mental health. If you Google “Trump weight stigma” there are 340,000 results with articles on fat shaming, weight bias and weight stigma from major media outlets. I’d never have predicted that this election would put these topics on the agenda. These issues go beyond partisan politics and I’m grateful they’re getting attention and entering our conversations as we need to be aware of the harm of weight bias and stigma. Links mentioned
My Facebook live chat http://bit.ly/2dHSmWz An Imperfect Human’s Guide To Body Positivity http://bzfd.it/2eal5ai This is Us actors discuss "Kate" weight and habit concerns http://bit.ly/2eakRzJ Fat Girl Flow’s video http://bit.ly/2dHS1TP For more links visit http://bit.ly/2eam4Hw ---
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