Guest Post: Body Positivity
I’m really excited to share my first ever guest post with you guys! I don’t normally like to hand over the reigns to anyone else on my blog, my content is always written by me, but I literally couldn’t wait for this lovely lady to write me a post about body positivity!
Today’s guest post is written by Vicky, she is an intersectional feminist, body positive activist and one of the funniest and loveliest people I know. We made friends through Twitter, and are yet to meet IRL, but hopefully we will later on this year*
I’ve been wanting to write a post about body positivity for ages, but had loads of trouble putting my thoughts down when it came to it. In the last year I have dramatically changed my attitude towards my body, including the reasons why I exercise and the way that I approach nutrition. I still really struggle with self-acceptance and I find it hard to love my flaws, but I find the body positive movement really inspiring and I hope that I can be fully confident in my own skin in the future.
After a conversation with Vicky, we decided to collaborate and she kindly offered to write me a guest post about body positivity. When I read the final post I couldn’t be happier because it sums up exactly what I’ve been wanting to say for a long time.
Check out Vicky’s blog and be sure to follow her on twitter @Vickatronic hope you enjoy the post!
What do you do when there’s nowhere left to run?
In our appearance obsessed society where we are conditioned to believe that certain bodies are attractive and others are not, it’s easy to become consumed by a desire to fit this ideal. For many people that involves embarking on an excessive exercise regime usually coupled with extreme “healthy” eating.
The focus on appearance, reaching goals and the notion that you’ll feel better when you see a particular number on the scale or when you can run a certain distance is a tool that so many people use to escape from problems or unhappiness so what happens when you reach the goals and nothing has changed? You’re thinner, you fit into smaller clothes, you can run further or lift heavier than ever but your problems haven’t disappeared. Where do you go from there?
Namely it’s time to accept that your body is perfect no matter its shape or size and that nothing is going to be fundamentally different in your life because you wear a certain dress size. Your life will however, be fundamentally different once you accept yourself. It’s impossible to explain just how much of a relief letting go of the pressure to look and live a certain way will influence your life.
Being able to enjoy yourself without the constant worry of calories and nutritional information, putting on an outfit that isn’t “flattering” but you feel fantastic in it, buying clothes in a size that’s actually comfortable rather than squeezing yourself into a size that you think is more “acceptable” all feel fantastic. So many people talk about getting fit so they can wear nice clothes not realising that you can wear nice clothes at every size – plus size ranges are getting better and more varied all the time.
There’s nothing more stifling to a social life than constantly dieting, stressing about food and feeling self conscious about your weight. When you stop those behaviours, if anyone judges you you don’t need them in your life, but from personal experience people see such a positive difference in you. When you’re losing weight people often think they’re complimenting you by commenting on it. Society has taught them it’s the right thing to do, but when you embrace yourself as you are, their complements are so much more genuine and heartfelt. Things I’ve been told since I recovered include “I’ve never seen you look so happy in yourself” and “you look so happy”. No one cares that I’ve gained back all the weight I lost (plus a little bit more), why would they?!
If you are using dieting and exercise as a means of escaping other problems in your life it might be time to face those problems head on. I know for a fact that many people look at those of us who eat what we want and live the way we want and think that we are lazy/uncommitted etc. What they often don’t realise is how challenging it is to actually deal with our insecurities by working through them mentally and emotionally rather than attempting to change our bodies to distract from or “solve the problem”.
Having body positive role models around you can really help as well as having people to talk to about how you’re feeling about yourself. This could be a close friend or relative or even a counsellor. Remember on your low self esteem days that your body is never the problem.
Sadly for many people thin is seen as a sign of success, of “having one’s shit together” if you will, but for most of us being thin will not equate to all our problems being solved. Maybe we could argue that to a point it does represent a certain level of “self control” but at what cost? It’s time to let go of the pressure to live up to this. Self control can mean not giving into the societal pressure to diet or staying late in the office to clear your email inbox on a Friday.
Your strength of character and desire to succeed has nothing to do with the size of your waist.
*We did meet and she was as lovely and funny in person as on twitter!