“Going to work so hard this time, this is it! Going to sort my diet out, have no bad food. This time next year we’re going to be so skinny. Can’t wait to post my transformation pic!”
This is the type of conversation we would have earlier this year, when we joined the gym determined that this would finally be the time we would stick to our diet and exercise regularly. This time we will lose weight and become happy with our bodies. But we now think FUCK THAT. We spend our whole lives hating our bodies, constantly striving for perfection and hoping to be a ‘better version of ourselves’. Our question now is, how did we become to believe that we weren’t perfect exactly how we are right now? At what point in our life did we begin convincing ourselves that how we look is not okay; that we have to punish our bodies with strict diets and painful exercise routines
Courtney – All my life I have been that ‘chubby kid’. I began dieting at a young age, constantly weighing myself and comparing my body to my friends. I was never severely bullied but there would always be snide comments being said behind my back or shouted at me as I walked down the school corridor. Words hurt and it would always get me down but I would never let it show because we’ve always been taught to ignore bullies until they get bored. Even if I did speak out I would be told the solution is to go on a diet to lose weight. A moment in my life that have stuck with me; when I was 12 I was admitted to hospital and being weighed/measured is protocol. They had written my weight down and labelled me obese, the nurse was surprised and said “Oh you carry it well.” Although being labelled obese upset me and lowered my self-esteem, I took the nurses comment as a compliment.
Savannah – One of my first memories of believing I was fat and therefore ugly was when I was 10 years old. In primary school I was part of an athletics club that went on a sports trip; which I didn’t feel like I should have been able to go on because I was too fat. As a ten year old I saw myself as far too large to possibly go on an athletics trip that I thought should only be for ‘fit and thin’ children. I don’t remember a time in my life before I began telling myself this and believing that I should constantly have negative thoughts about my body because it was not the ‘ideal’ body type.
I’m sure most of you have experienced similar situations and had the same thoughts. Please know, this is not our fault. All our lives we have been shown an idealistic body type and taught that looking a certain way should be our main goal in life. Becoming this ideal is sold to you as the only way to truly be happy and successful in life. When we were younger there were no plus size celebrities or body positive activists to look up to. We were surrounded by magazines full of pictures of women with big circles pointing out their flaws and a new diet plan every week. In films only the slim, pretty girls would have a happy ending and fat characters were only there for comedic value or to be made fun of. On television, adverts show us what we need to change about our bodies and what products we should buy to make us feel better about our bodies.
What better way to generate money than to make people feel ugly and unhappy with their bodies and then sell them the solution. Anti-aging creams, tummy toners, weight loss programmes, hair removal products, workout DVDs, and exercise machines that claim to solve all your life problems. Sending you the message that if you don’t buy these products you will be ugly and socially unacceptable.
WHAT A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS!
So much of your time is wasted dieting and worrying about a number on the scales, what foods you should or shouldn’t eat and feeling guilty for having a ‘cheat day’. Guilt should have no place in your eating world, food is food. Eat that cake if you want it! Eat intuitively, your body will tell you what food you need. It might be a chocolate bar or a salad and you shouldn’t associate your emotions with what you eat. You could write an entire book on how fucked up diet culture is, but just know it’s really fucked up. Here’s a blog post focusing on how diet culture is bad for your health: Exposing the Scary Truth About Diet Culture
Why are we so scared of being or getting fat? Fat is just a word, a descriptive word. Megan (bodyposipanda) says in her book Body Positive Power, “Fat is not a bad word, it’s just a way of describing bodies. It should hold no more negativity than ‘brunette’ or ‘blue-eyed’, and it definitely shouldn’t be something that has the power to destroy our entire sense of self and leave us living in fear of our own bodies.” Being fat is not the worst thing in the world.
We’re not here to promote obesity, the idea is that every body is perfect. No matter your shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender or ability. The exact way your body looks right now is fab and you do not need to change it. Adjusting yourself to fit the ideal body type created by the media will not be the answer to all your troubles. If a diet was the secret to happiness, wouldn’t we all be happy. You should accept and admire your body no matter what it looks like and what flaws you have been led to believe you have. Don’t look for flaws, look for the reason you were made to believe you had them in the first place.
Our top tips to become more body positive
- Unfollow all those accounts on social media that promote the idea that you should change how you look – the fitness Instagram account, the person who posts all about their new diet, all of it,
- Tell yourself how beautiful you are – stare at yourself in the mirror and no matter how silly it feels or how much you don’t believe it, remind yourself how important, beautiful and worthy you are and admire the way you look,
- Surround yourself with other body positive people – you can leave or change conversations surrounding diet culture that make you feel less valued, be around people who accept you for you and support your goals,
- Be your own best friend – you wouldn’t insult your friends the way you may do yourself, compliment yourself, take care of yourself first, practice self-care
- Don’t’ compare yourself to others – you can appreciate the beauty and life of others without having to question your own, don’t worry about what other people think,
- Take yourself out of your comfort zone – do that thing you were scared of doing before, wear those clothes you were told not to wear,
- Speak out about things that make you feel uncomfortable – educate others on how their words make you feel and could affect someone,
- Here’s some inspirational people to follow on Instagram & YouTube – Gracie Francesca, Body Posi Panda, Callie Thorpe, Love From Danica, Choose Life Warrior, Felicity Hayward.
Caira Lee said in her Ted Talk that we should try “Looking in the mirror once a week and saying; I am the most important person in the world, to me. I accept that person, I admire that person and I will do everything in my power to see that persons dreams come true”.
Loving your body or just accepting it for what it is, is a revolutionary act. It is totally contrarian to believe that nothing is wrong with your body, it’s not just about changing your own mind set, you’re going against everything that women have been taught to believe and that’s powerful. You will have days where you feel stuck in your old ways and that’s okay. Eventually you will internalise all of the beliefs about how important, valuable and worthy you are, regardless of your body.
All our love, CP and SJ