Health And Body Positivity Are Both Equally Important

Health And Body Positivity Are Equally As Important As Each Other

The battle between the health and fitness community and the body positivity community needs to end.


As body positivity and "fat acceptance" have been on the rise within the past couple years, there has been an inordinate amount of backlash from both the health and fitness communities and, dare I say, the right wing. These are people who can not understand why you would love your body if you're overweight because it's unhealthy. Some people go as far to say we should fat shame people in order to get them to start worrying about their health and losing weight.

The body positivity movement strives to express to men and women alike that they don't have to be the picture of conventional beauty to love themselves and be beautiful. However, with this comes overweight men and women who seek to love their bodies and accept their weight as it is. This has caused many people to chime in and say overweight and obese people shouldn't love their bodies because it is extremely unhealthy to have so much excess body fat.

I don't really understand why there is such a barrier between body positive and health. I don't understand why people think you have to be one or the other. Why can't the communities diverge?

To me, taking care of your body and your health should be an act of self-love. As someone who has battled disordered eating and body image issues for a long time now, I know firsthand that trying to lose weight because you hate how you look can very well lead to self-destructive behavior that will only make you more unhealthy, both physically and mentally.

It is important to treat yourself with compassion and love, even when you are trying to transform your lifestyle and push yourself to lose weight. This should be the main message of body positivity, along with loving yourself even with an unconventional body. The health community should enhance this, by professing health and fitness in a way that emphasizes the importance of taking care of your body for your own personal quality of life.

You should want to eat healthily and exercise because you love yourself and want to improve how you feel and what you are able to do every day. A body positive journey should be a health journey. You should love your body no matter what it looks like, but that doesn't mean you become complacent and surrender to obesity.

It should be noted that body positivity is for EVERYONE, including transgender bodies, disabled bodies, and bodies of color. A primary goal of the community is to encourage love and acceptance for these bodies and to erase discrimination based on physical appearance. This includes obese and overweight people.

I acknowledge that not everyone in each of these communities is completely polarized. Not all fitness advocates think obese people should hate themselves and not all body positive people see no need for obese people to lose weight. However, there are countless videos and articles online on toxic opinions from both ends, and this is what angers me.

Yes, people should love their bodies. Yes, people should want to be healthy. But these two things do not have to be separate. You can and should love your body while worrying about your own health. More emphasis needs to be put on healthy transformation driven by self-love and self-compassion.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.


Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.

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Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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