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Body Love

Shut Down Body Shamers with this One Line

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Shut Down Body Shamers with this One Line

Originally published February 23, 2017 on the Huffington Post.

“Spending your money on shoes and handbags is irresponsible.”

“Those spiritual meditation classes you go to are stupid.”

“Your kid is a whiny brat because you don’t discipline him.”

Even reading these comments may feel like a punch in the stomach. And for good reason: they are completely out-of-line.

We've all been taught the golden rule--do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is the principle behind the saying, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

This is one of the most basic principles that our society operates on. You probably learned it before you learned to tie your shoes.

But when it comes to plus size women's bodies, their health, and their choices, it seems like our society has completely brain-dumped this rule. People feel entitled to make really intrusive comments, and to provide unsolicited opinions, when it comes to our bodies.

And frankly, it's rude.

We can all acknowledge that it’s inappropriate to comment bluntly on someone else’s finances, religion, or parenting style. Why, then, do some people still find it appropriate to make very blunt, pointed statements about the bodies of plus size women?

“You have joint pain because you’re overweight.”

“You should spend your time differently and put your health first.”

“Those clothes don’t flatter your body, you should cover up more.”

These statements are also out-of-line, and feel like a punch in the stomach when made to plus size women.

People might mean well when they comment on your body, your health, and your choices. But the truth is that making comments like the ones listed above is rude, intrusive, and disrespectful. Plus size women have a right to be treated better.

I’ve dealt with this personally, and I’ve figured out how to politely but firmly shut down people who feel the need to make remarks like this. It’s not complicated, it’s not scathing, it’s not witty. But when you say it firmly, with respect for yourself and for the one who needs to hear it, it’s extremely powerful:

“It’s my body, my health, my choices ― and those are none of your business.”

Sometimes it’s our family members that need to hear this. Sometimes it’s our romantic partners or spouses, which is heartbreaking to even consider. Sometimes it’s our friends, or coworkers, or yoga instructors.

The bottom line is that unless you explicitly ask someone for their opinion, they shouldn’t be giving it to you.

And just like when your friend shows you her heinous kitchen remodel that she just dropped $50,000.00 on, even then it is sometimes more polite and respectful for people to consider your feelings, and your humanity, before responding too bluntly or honestly.

You deserve that. And if you’re not getting it, all you have to do is ask for it.

Body Love TV happens every week. Sign up for the #healthyatanysize community and never miss an episode!

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Read this Before You Buy Another Diet Product

Originally published February 13, 2017 on the Huffington Post.

I have this picture of myself in a pink dress from my sister’s college graduation. It was my #bodygoals go-to photo for years.

Weight Loss for Women

SOURCE: PERSONAL PHOTO

In this photo, I’m at the lowest weight I have ever achieved in my adult life, post-college. Especially in the months leading up to my wedding, I would look back at this picture of myself and practically salivate.

“To be her again,” I would look at this photo and think.

Have you ever had this experience? You look back at an old photo of yourself and think, “I was so skinny then!” But when you think about it, you don’t remember ever feeling very skinny at the time.

It’s normal. We live in a diet-obsessed culture where we’re all taught to be constantly striving for a thinner, more “perfect” body. This mania has a way of robbing us of our joy, and our ability to be present in our lives.

The girl in the pink dress is thinking, “God I hope I’m sucking in my stomach enough,” and plotting optimal arm placement to avoid the “lunch lady” effect. She’s not really thinking about her baby sister and the joy that she and her family are experiencing that day.

How sad, right? But odds are, you’ve been there too. This tendency to check out of big moments because of my obsession with my body came to a head around the time of my wedding.

A few nights before my wedding, I had an epiphany. I was lying in the bathtub, crying, wishing I had been able to make myself lose more weight before the big day and get closer to the version of myself in that picture, in the pink dress.

But, then my fiancé came into the room and took my hand. He told me he thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world, and that he was excited to marry me.

“At what point are you going to get over feeling like you aren’t enough and start enjoying your life?” screamed a voice in my head. That was the moment that changed everything for me.

Today, just under 3 years later, I love my body harder than ever before. I am living my dream of becoming a plus size model. I haven’t been on a diet in years, the scale is collecting dust on a shelf somewhere, and my life has never been better.

Life happens. The weight comes on, comes off, and comes on again. That’s natural for every woman to experience. When we gain weight it can feel like the worst thing in the world, and we reach for the nearest weight loss “solution” being thrust at us by television, social media, or network marketing.

But the worst thing you could sign yourself up for is a lifetime of missing out on what’s happening around you by wishing you were someone else, or in a different body, for those experiences.

Before you spend another dime, or drop of your precious energy, on a diet product or program, think: are you trying to turn the clock back to a “better” version of yourself? Before you had the baby, or got divorced, or married, or promoted, or moved to Michigan?

Because odds are the woman that you were then didn’t love her body either. The way out of feeling badly about your body isn’t weight loss or changing your body in any way. It’s choosing to love the body that you have right now, so that you can get on with becoming the woman you want to be in this lifetime.

Want to love your body harder than ever before? Sign up for a weekly dose of Body Love with Melinda Parrish, and check out Body Love TV every Friday at Noon ET on Facebook Live.

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