Body Positivity Is Great And All But Not When It's Ignoring Health Concerns

Body Positivity Is Great And All But Not When It's Ignoring Health Concerns

The popularity in body positivity affects how we view health and fitness.
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The body positivity movement founded in 1996, has been one of the best movements to help women. The movement encourages women to accept their bodies while improving health and well-being. The movement, growing in popularity, has become an anthem to the plus-sized community. Since the age of super modeling, only slender women have been given the platform. Things have changed, famous plus-size model Ashley Graham has made waves. Graham a body positivity advocate is tearing down the idea of big women cannot be sexy. Women who are full-figured are sexy, they can wear lingerie and bikinis; this is the revolution.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble but, women’s bodies in the media have never been about women’s empowerment. It has been about aesthetics and sexuality. People have killed to be thin. Bigger women are embracing their bodies, wearing whatever they want. These attitudes are challenging the traditional standard of beauty. What had started out as radical love for one’s body has been diluted and reduce to shallowness adopting negative attitudes towards exercise. As a fitness advocate, the body positivity movement isn’t fighting for health or equality it is fighting for the crown of attractiveness.

On Social Media, the body positivity movement has become political. Women are sick of conforming and are sick of the ridicule for not having the perfect body, so they should be. But what about health? The movement is promoting a sedentary lifestyle. Tessa Holiday, the world’s first size 22 model and the founder of #effyourbeautystandards campaign, is well known for her ideas about body confidence. In the past, she has tweeted:

“If you want someone to preach health over self-love, I’m not your girl.”

Tweets and thoughts like these are alarming. What is the end message? Shouldn’t self-love correlate to health? Where is the line between body confidence and obesity? Media plays a power influence in acceptance, normalizing obesity, when in fact obesity is a disease as well as an epidemic. Overweight and obese people are at a higher risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Yes, skinny people can be unhealthy, but their risk is dramatically lower. For one, we have to stop associating skinny as healthy, you can be skinny and have unhealthy eating habits. It seems confidence and this self-love talk is going to people’s heads.

In the US, two-thirds of women are overweight. I have family members struggling with diseases associated with their weight, it’s not pretty. I have seen children in my church struggle to stand while begging for food. Normalizing obesity is a problem! Are advocates of this movement in denial? Are they too focused on peoples’ opinions? The message we are sending to young women and girls are radical. The pressure to be thin has been replaced with “it is okay to be obese.” Neither one is correct. When can healthy be sexy? When will we normalize health?

This new radical ideology from the Body positivity campaign is the result of fat-shaming. Celebrities like Rihanna and Katy Perry have been fat-shamed. Fat shaming is everywhere and it is unnecessary. Skinny and fit people need to back off for a minute with chastisement and encourage those that aren’t fit. People know what they look like, let’s leave it to the doctors and medical professionals to criticize. Our bodies are complex, some people cannot lose or gain weight. At the end of the day, if you love you- you will love others.

Unconditional love for yourself will result in living life in the best condition. I’m not saying women in the body positivity movement aren’t healthy, some are. I’m saying we should have people in the movement telling you healthy is better than sexy. We don’t need people giving the finger towards health! As we get older, our bodies slow down. Excessive weight puts unwanted pressure on our heart and internal organs, causing pain and joint immobility. Role models in the movement are responsible for bringing awareness to health, because what woman wearing over a size 10 wants to hear a woman who is a size 6 telling her about health.

SEE ALSO: Let's Put A Warning Label On The 'Body Positivity' Movement

Let’s get one thing straight, beauty standards are a fantasy. Women bodies are distorted images playing on the insecurities of women. We are constantly focusing on the society, how society sees me, will society accept me. Fuck that and focus on health and yourself. I have struggled with body issues too. My body frame is large and muscular; I have strong thighs and a wide back. I have overcome my struggles with tons emphasize on ton of self-help, eating healthy, and focusing on how I feel when I eat.

Even though I am athletic, I have been called fat plenty of times in my life. What I would like to see is the body positive movement be accessible to everyone having a struggle. Diversify the moment include women of color, men, burned victims, trans women. After all the goal is intersectionality. I want to see full-figured women wearing bikinis in commercials playing sports. I want to see big women on BuzzFeed being active and eating heathy. I want to see clothing stores have clothes for those who are awkward and in between small and plus-sized. Can we normalize health please! I want to see positive body positive images. Our bodies are strong and healthy. The message is you can achieve confidence while striving for your health.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Explaining Eating Disorders To the average person

It is both a blessing and a curse that you will never understand.

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When I was first diagnosed with anorexia, my dad could not wrap his mind around why I wouldn't eat. In fact, over a year into my recovery battle, he still doesn't understand. My therapist at my treatment center said once, "It is both a blessing and a curse that our families will never understand. It sucks because they don't understand what is going on, why it is going on, or how to help. But it is a huge blessing because eating disorders come with such an immense amount of pain that we would not wish upon anyone, so we are glad they don't understand."

That conversation sits in the back of my mind whenever I discuss my eating disorder with someone who has never had one. It seems that even to the most understanding and eager to learn individual, I cannot truly express why I cannot "just eat." Or rather, why every day I have to make the conscious choice TO eat.

I keep very detailed journals of my experiences with anorexia. I have journals that show the early onset, the rock bottom, the recovery, the relapse, and so on. And I'm not sure even those would be able to explain to a person why I have this particular affliction. I am going to do my best here, to briefly explain some of the deeper aspects of my eating disorder.

First off, let me explain that eating disorders are NOT about food. That is what literally every single person who works with eating disorders screams from the rooftops daily. I can understand why one might think that it is about food and weight or just an extreme diet or even just something vain. However, the behaviors of an eating disorder, serve a much deeper, emotional purpose.

Like I said before, people with eating disorders experience an immense amount of pain. It's the type of pain that consumes all of your being. You feel it both physically and emotionally. By doing a particular eating disorder behavior, that pain is lessened. Where it gets you is while that deep pain is pushed away, the eating disorder replaces it with a different pain. A pain that is equally painful but one that you can understand.

The eating disorder explains why you hate yourself. It is a sort of cyclical thought pattern: hating yourself so giving in to the eating disorder which makes you hate yourself more so you give in more to the eating disorder. It follows that downward spiral. And if you are so focused on the eating disorder and its pain, you don't have to deal with all the other stuff.

And then it becomes an addiction. Just like a drug addict, you crave the "high" you get from doing a behavior. You essentially rewire your brain so you get pleasure from the behaviors and anxiety around food.

If I had to condense this all into a few sentences, it would be this: Eating disorders are the human's way of adapting to pain. It goes against the laws of nature, but it is a survival mechanism. A coping mechanism. And it is one that will make no sense to you unless you have had one yourself.

Rereading all of that, none of it makes sense. Logically, none of it makes any sense. And if you find that frustrating, its ok, I find it frustrating too. I just wish there was a way for me to put it in writing that would allow you to understand why this is a daily battle.

So if you have gotten to the end and are feeling a lack of closure, me too. Let me end with this: you will never understand what is going on inside our heads. The only thing you can do is love us. Let us know you are there if we need to talk or need support. But please, do not try to shove food down our throats or ask if we know what we are doing to ourselves. Please just be kind. That is really all that can be done, and while that may not sound like a good enough solution, it is all that you can do as a loved one.

Accept that you do not understand and that you cannot change us. Change is on us. That's our responsibility.

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