Body Positivity Helps Me Lose Weight

Image found HERE. Quote by Lauren Zuniga
I get very frustrated at the kind of gap in understanding that seems to spring up around the concept of Body Positivity. It's often miscommunicated as promoting laziness, encouraging obesity and allowing people to live unhealthy lives.
It's all fat girls with bright hair and big smiles wearing skimpy clothes because they love what they look like and that's a bad thing, of course, because if you're fat you're unhealthy. If you're unhealthy you should absolutely hate that about yourself.

So I'm here to debunk three things about that sentiment:
  1. Body Positivity is just about fat girls.

  2. You have to hate yourself in order to strive for health.

  3. Someone else's body is any of your business in the first damn place.

Number One

Photo of the "deliciously disabled" Andrew Morrison Guzra via NowToronto
So Body Positivity is literally the Ronseal™ of Social Media movements (i.e: does what it says on the tin). It is purely that: being positive about one's body and the bodies of others, be that in your speech, your treatment of them, the language you use about yourself and others. All of that is included. It's most closely connected with overweight people and public figures like Tess Holiday and the #EffYourBeautyStandards hashtag. But in actuality, when we're talking about body positivity we mean all bodies. Fat, skinny, dark, pale, covered in tattoos, covered in hair, bodies with disabilities, bodies with skin conditions or disfigurements, and all other bodies in between. At its core, the concept is about love for yourself and others, and taking all the things that don't fit the normal standards of beauty or attractiveness and embracing them.

Number Two

Comfort Slut II
"Comfort Slut II" by rupeegroupie via Flickr
It's not about encouraging obesity. For a lot of people, like myself, it does the opposite. The easiest way of explaining it is: if you learn to love your body, love how it looks and how it functions, you'll be encouraged to take care of it. Wanting to achieve a certain weight goal or shape doesn't have to stem from hating the way you look as of right now, and it can absolutely stem from wanting to keep yourself fit and healthy because you want your body to feel as good as possible. You just have to understand that health isn't a one-size-fits-all concept. There are plenty of people that run, do yoga, lift weights, go to the gym three times a week and still don't have a toned or even slim body. There are equally people that eat nothing but junk food, don't exercise, don't have an active lifestyle, and have a slim physique. The first type of person is healthy, the second is not, and size has nothing really to do with it.
Photo of Jessamyn Stanley for SLINK Jeans, Via her Facebook

I haven't been as driven to exercise in my life as I have post-discovering the idea of Body  Positivity. I've lost some weight although my weight has fluctuated over the past few years, but I'm eating better and walking more, and I'm slowly cutting the things that end up making me feel sluggish and unwilling to move out of my diet. More importantly, I'm cutting words like "too big"and "unattractive" out of my diet too.
Today's outfit, with skirt courtesy of @eastendthriftstore and their last pound sale! #ootd #southbank #london #vintage #flowercrown #melanin #blackgirls #denim #redlips On my old blog I remember having a post ranting about what fat girls should and shouldn't wear, and now I wear crop tops and short shorts. If it fits and it makes me look good to myself, I can wear it, and I can look cute in it too. It's difficult when you grow up with this feeling of looking the wrong way and not being "enough" (thin enough, pretty enough, light enough, cute enough...) you get stuck in that world of self-hate. The thing is, that can fester in a person's soul and make them stagnate. Or, worse still, make them approach change in an unhealthy way.
"Maybe all I can be is fat and useless."
"Maybe I'll never be attractive to anyone."
"Maybe I should just not try."
"Maybe I should fix myself as fast as possible, damn the consequences."
I've thought every single one of those things at one point or another in my life, and so have many others. But what if we all just started off knowing that, honestly, we are good enough. Better than that even. What if we didn't subscribe to this idea that health and beauty are narrow slots we all have to jam ourselves into tirelessly until we hurt ourselves or give up on everything?

Number Three

Via ModClothBlog
Honestly, if someone doesn't want to live their life in a way that we find acceptable, that's none of our business unless they happen to be hurting themselves or anyone else. You don't live and die by my approval, and vice versa. If the shape, colour, or workings of someone else's body has such a profound effect on your emotions, maybe assess why it is you care so much before you begin to assess their lifestyle and choices. Because honestly, if you have the time to be so utterly preoccupied with my fat ass on the internet and how much you think it's wrong, you're probably not focusing enough on bettering your own self. I don't think that hate for the body of someone else comes from a place of care, I really don't, and people tend to mask their fatphobia and other prejudices as concern for a person's health/lifestyle.
Take it from me: don't worry. I am perfectly capable of being in charge of the health and wellbeing of my fat self, my skinny friends don't need you to tell them to eat a sandwich, my friends with skin conditions don't need to cover up, my hairy friends don't need to shave, and my muscular friends don't need to "tone it down".
We're all managing just fine on our own, thanks.

Still from new H&M Advert 2016

Jacqueline Atta-Hayford