What is body positivity and why are some people upset about it?

Jenna: Before and After becoming body positive.

Jenna: Before and After becoming body positive.

Body Positivity has been a hot topic lately and generally it's a really exciting thing. Men and women everywhere are starting to accept their bodies and move on from always being focused on attaining that 'perfect' figure through unhealthy eating practices and obsessive exercise. 

The basis of body positivity is that both men and women are sharing the message that you can take care of your body and love it just the way it is no matter what you look like. It's a move away from vanity and towards inner peace and health. There are many body positive personalities out there and they are doing something pretty great; imagine your kids growing up in a world where all they see are Victoria's Secret Models and the Kardashians in the media, is that a healthy perspective on how people look in the world? I sure don't think so. Living in a world where we can see people of all shapes and sizes in the spotlight is extremely refreshing and I believe it will help a lot of people out there to start accepting their bodies and start loving themselves again.

The dieting industry is so huge and we live in a dieting culture that has completely taken over that we forget that skinny does not always equal healthy. Weight is actually not as big of a factor in health as we all once thought. If you have doubts about this I recommend you read Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon, P.H.D. It explains how we really can be healthy at any size and that we can take care of our bodies by eating healthy foods and being active. If you don't lose weight it is still worthwhile. In the past when people decided they wanted to be 'healthier' it really meant they wanted to lose weight so when the weight didn't come off right away they reverted back to their unhealthier tendencies. Now with Health at Every Size and body positivity becoming more popular we can see that taking care of our bodies is so much more than weight, it is showing ourselves we are worthy, and every single one of us is!

This all sounds pretty spectacular given how our society usually focuses on appearance and belittling anything other than 'the norm', so why are some people upset? In all fairness, those that do not agree with body positivity or health at every size are just misinformed, I really don't think there malice behind it in most cases. 

What some people think is that the heavier people who are representing body positivity are a bad influence on others. They believe that these role models are encouraging people to gain weight and not take care of their bodies. They think that because these people of all different shapes and sizes are celebrating their bodies that they are saying to their viewers, " Don't take care of yourself. Be carefree! You are perfect the way you are." This is not at all what it is about. If you look at a lot of what these body positivity activists are actually saying is that we need to take care of our bodies regardless of size. If you look online, most show how they take part in yoga classes and make healthy meals and it's not about weight loss. PS - We cannot judge anyone's health no matter what they look like, their health is only known by them and their doctors. 

I know this is the greatest thing that has happened to the health industry in a long time and I wish that I could get everyone to see it this way too.

For a decade I was an extreme dieter, obsessed with losing weight and my self worth was tied to the number on the scale. Is this what we want for the next generation? I think it is terrifying to think that my future children might think about themselves the way I did in the past. I am so grateful to the men and women putting themselves in a vulnerable position by showing themselves to the world, flaws and all. They are open to ridicule and judgement but they carry on anyways in order to share this important message of self love and self worth. 

I am so happy to be a part of this body positive community and hope to bring many people to understand the value of this movement.  

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