Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a worrying trend: I’ve seen at least four women apologising for trying to lose weight. All four are plus size bloggers, and seem to feel that wanting to lose weight is betraying the work they and their colleagues have done to advance fat acceptance and body positivity.
This needs addressing. Body positivity is about being happy with the body you have, not carrying on having a body you are unhappy with because you’re worried people will think you’ve ‘sold out’.
I understand all the issues around this, and after chatting on twitter it seemed I wasn’t the only person to notice this. The same couple of things popped up as I chatted more, and it all boiled down to the following;
- It might look as if I think there is something wrong with being fat
- It gives ammunition to people who think underneath our positivity we’re all unhappy with being fat – “I’m scared people will accuse me of not loving myself & my body.”
Neither of these arguments hold weight, and here’s why – being body positive, as we should all know, is nothing to do with what other people think. If we don’t listen to what they say when we’re trying to love our fat bodies, why should we listen to what they say when our body is changing?
If someone puts on weight, I say nothing, and if they lose weight, I say nothing. Giving notice to either of these events means I notice their body, and not them.
A body positive attitude is taking control and ownership of YOUR body, and if you’re not happy with it being above a certain weight, it is actually OK to do something about it. If you’re not allowing yourself to eat in a certain way because you’re concerned about how a group of people will react, then aren’t you just being bullied into looking a certain way by a whole new group of people?
Eight years ago, I lost 8 stone, on purpose, because I wanted to adopt a baby. My goal weight would mean by BMI was still at the top end of average, and my goal clothing size was an 18. I was told I had to lose weight to adopt a baby, and at that time that was what I wanted, so I did it. I didn’t make any apologies about it, and I shared what I was doing a lot, mainly because I was excited about being a mother, and also because I didn’t realise losing weight wasn’t as difficult as I thought.
I didn’t end up adopting a baby, obviously, and I ended up putting back on all the weight. I was kind of annoyed about it, but only because I had some kick-ass size 20 clothes. During the whole weightloss thing, I loved my body for the first time in my whole life. It wasn’t because it was smaller, but because I OWNED it. It was fit, vital, and in perfect working order, as well as being a size 20.
Because of that experience, I know it’s possible to be fat and healthy, and I know I’ll always love my body. I still love it now it’s much fatter, because I know it’s mine, it works, and without it I couldn’t do the things I love.
Recently the doctor told me I need to stop drinking and lose weight, or I’m going to die young. There was a time when he would say that, and I wouldn’t care, but this time I did. I don’t want to die yet, I have loads more stuff to get done. I have to finish that colouring book project for a start… So I stopped drinking, and I’m eating better, because I have to lose weight. It’s not that I want to, but I will, because my weight doesn’t define me.
‘No diet talk’ to me means I don’t want to hear how fat you think you’ve got, even though you still fit into a size 10, because that makes me think you’re judging me for wearing a size 28. Trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to be one of those people who talks about low fat food, but it also doesn’t mean that if you do talk about it you’re perpetuating diet culture. Telling me you found something which tastes really good and is low in fat is about health, not weightloss or size.
I love my body now – and I’ll continue to love it if it expands, and when it contracts. If this is betraying some fat pride logic, so be it
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this too – comment below, or tweet me.