There’s been much debate this week on whether or not it’s offensive to posit that women can live a healthy lifestyle that is driven by body positivity, rather than a desire to lose weight and change their bodies.
You asked me what I think about whether body positivity and weight loss can coexist:
@melcwood: “I'm interested to know, do you believe body positivity and weight loss can coexist though? I feel like I have a similar past relationship with my body and exercise as you do, and I had to come to the same conclusion. But I also want to lose weight; to regain mobility, so I can do things like buckle my own heels and fit on the roller coaster with my son. Ironically when I stopped counting calories and just exercised portion control of anything I wanted, and exercised only because adulting, and without expectation, that is when I dropped a couple sizes. I have no idea what I weigh right now! It's liberating. I don't hate my body or even have a "goal body" anymore, but I want to lose weight. And even though weight loss is not the core reason, I know exercise is a part of that and I think that's ok. I don't care if I never have a flat stomach, but I want to go to a theme park with my son and ride every ride with him. That is my motivation.”
This is what it is ALL about, @melcwood.
When I encourage women to do things like break up with dieting, embrace their bodies as they are, and show their bodies love through movement, I am NOT saying sit on the couch, eat cheetos and watch Netflix for the rest of your natural born days.
QUITE the opposite.
I am saying that you shouldn’t move your body in order to lose weight--not that you shouldn’t exercise, or that weight loss is bad, but that weight loss shouldn’t be your sole motivation. Showing your body love through movement is a better reason to get moving. And in the long run, it will be easier to sustain this habit and support a lifetime of better health if you decouple your weight loss goals and the ways you show your body love through movement.
I am saying that you don’t need to be on a diet--not that you should eat mindlessly or without any consideration for how what you’re eating affects your body. Eat vibrant, nourishing, and energizing foods in the right amounts, and at the right frequency, in order to be the woman that you want to be. You don’t have to be living on the “yo-yo” diet cycle, constantly vacillating between extreme deprivation and binge-eating, in order to be “enough” for the life of your dreams.
I am saying that even if you have health problems, or lifestyle issues that you want to address through weight loss, your body is still an inherently perfect thing just as it is. And that if you treat it this way, and stop holding yourself to a ridiculous standard of body perfection, you’ve got a much better shot at becoming the woman you want to be and living at full amplitude.
A MUCH better chance than if you spend the rest of your life buying into the diet myth, believing that you’ll never be worthy of all the things you want to do with your life until you lose weight and achieve body perfection.
@melcwood, you have exactly the right idea about how to live a healthy lifestyle, and take amazing care of your body, regardless of your size.
Rosie Mercado is another great example of a woman who has lost a significant amount of weight for all the right reasons, and remains a proudly plus size, body-positive woman.
Don’t let anyone (including me) tell you what’s best for your body, or how to take care of yourself. But do look for resources and groups of supportive, body positive women like those in the #healthyatanysize community to help you along the way. And do tune into Body Love TV every Friday on my Facebook page to discuss this and other issues related to loving your body, and living a healthy lifestyle at any size!