I have been giving a lot of thought recently to the relationship between body positivity and weight loss. The all knowing internet seems so divided on this issue and it often times looks to be fairly toxic. So what is the deal? Can you be body positive and try to lose weight? Are they at odds with each other? Or maybe, the truth is in the middle.
I find this debate to fall prey to the false dilemma fallacy, meaning we perceive it to be one extreme or the other when, in fact, there are other possible outcomes. This is not to discount individuals who believe very strongly one way or the other. We are talking about our bodies, our emotions, and how we relate them to the world around us. This becomes a deeply personal and sensitive topic. But what I argue is that, like most things, the truth does not have to be at the extreme. It can be in the middle. I recently read a great article which complimented my thoughts quite well. The author of this article refers to this false dilemma as the body-positive divide and delves into some issues with this. It is a great read and you should check it out.
I have noted I think you can be both. I firmly believe that and try to push a message of both when I think about my own life and how I am seeking to better myself. We have come to such a divided place because we have forgotten that we ultimately support each other out of love and respect, not judgement and condescension. It has become too easy to tell others what to do to affirm our own prejudices, rather than to try and aid their efforts. So I want you to think about this. The last time you scrolled by that person on instagram, or saw that guy down the street, or told a loved one what they need to change. What was the motivation? Was it frustration, judgement, or cruelty? Was it love and desire to see them happy? Did you think thoughts to make yourself feel better?
my building principles on the matter –
We have to do it all out of a place of love.
You can lose weight and be body positive if your motivations come from a place of love. You can gain weight and be body positive as long as it comes from a place of love. It is not healthy for you or anybody else if your motivations are for different reasons. I never succeeded in changing my weight when it was out of self loathing or because somebody told me to. I knew that I needed to lose for my health. But what caused a real change in me was when I recognized my self worth, started loving myself more, and decided to make changes because I love who I am and love what I want to become. Not because I hate who I am or because somebody else judges who I am.
Loving yourself also means recognizing what you need.
We are not meant to be stagnant and stationary people. Change is the most constant aspect of our lives. So as we grow, change, and aspire, we need to accomplish things to get to where we want to go. It is okay to recognize you need to change, if you are doing it to get better. I like to think of it as running towards something instead of running away from something. Running towards a good goal, that is right for you, and that you came up with from a place of love… that is it.
Recognizing what you need means respecting what you value and what you prioritize.
Loving ourselves also requires a recognition of what we value most and how we choose top prioritize based on those values. If spending time with friends/family is better for you than exercising alone, then I think the choice is simple. By loving ourselves we look at ourselves holistically. This can allow us to make decisions and to make priorities based on our better understanding of personal needs. I find that this can often be where others find it easy to judge. They only see how we are treating one aspect of our being, not understanding the whole picture. Understanding all of this, we can find that loving ourselves means prioritizing a loss of weight and therefore, it is okay.
Loving and respecting others means you will contribute (or not!) in a way that is respectful of them and their goals. It is important to remember that we do not know other’s goals, we do not know other’s priorities, and we most likely do not understand the complex nature as to how somebody came up with their priorities.
My take on the weight loss and body positivity issue is quite simple. If you care about somebody, care about them enough to trust their priorities. If they need help, help them. But helping somebody is not judging. We cannot help until we know the hole story. If you disagree with somebody else’s life choices, and they do not want your help, then it would be best for you to keep your mouth shut and go about your business. 🙂
Please let me know your thoughts on this matter? Do you agree, disagree, want to go further?