Just recently, Yahoo Health released the results of their body positivity survey and sadly only one in seven Americans feels “body positive”. The online survey, conducted on a nationally representative sample of 2,000 people between the ages of 13 and 64 found that women were more often than not body negative.
This time of year can be such a downer, as advertisers and media step up their body-shaming games, telling women and girls (alike) that we can be the “new” and “improved” and “better” us. With results like the ones from Yahoo Health being released out into the world, it can be hard to stay positive, but it’s not impossible.
The hardest thing to combat is that: being body positive does not mean that one necessarily needs to lose weight. Being body positive means that one wants to feel positive and live healthy – be it mental health, physical health or however you want to interpret it. As women, when we hear the word ‘health’ or ‘fit’ we automatically assume that it means to lose weight. In our society, we’ve been conditioned to live and die by the numbers on the scale. Hell, I kept a book documenting every single item I would eat (seen in video below) and how many pounds I was loosing. It also becomes compulsive and destructive.
This is where the ‘health at every size’ approach comes in. This principle helps us find peace in our body but also acknowledges that good health can best be realized independent from considerations of size. Yep, you read that correctly: fighting fat hasn’t made the fat go away. All of the compulsive dieting, exercising, and food rules basically just puts more shame, guilt and sadness over not being the size or shape you’ve always wanted to be. It’s a brutal realization but the big picture is that as many as two-thirds of us end up regaining more weight than we lose while dieting. Why not try something new: remember that your fat body is not an indicator of being unhealthy and remember that you are perfect and lovely just the way you are.
So this doesn’t mean that you have to be anti-gym or anti-healthy – it just means that instead of focusing on fixing yourself, do something that will help you love yourself more. For example: I’ve been working out at the gym for the last eight months with my trainer Marcia. I work out at a grungy old boxing gym near my house, but it’s awesome and to be honest, I really love my trainer. She’s super supportive of me and she makes me laugh. The very first time I met Marcia, she made me feel comfortable and when I told her, “I’m not here to lose weight, I’m here to work on my Kardashian booty.” – she understood and let me work at my own pace. I find myself visiting Marcia twice a week (three times, if I’m lucky) where we’re doing anything and everything.
Also recently, my partner and I have started going for 20-30 minute walks around our neighbourhood each night. We will pick a destination, like a coffee shop, and then it’s our treat to go there. It seems simple and easy enough but it’s been fun. My partner has been challenging me to try this whole Couch to 5K thing but I don’t know if I’m quite ready yet. We’ll see! Remember, it may not be easy to a fat girl in a fit world but you can strive to live authenticity rather than perfectly and that’s what matters most.