Many of you know I love music, and have a memory bank of a ridiculous amount of song lyrics. So when I felt inspired to write a blog on bodes, I suddenly could not get the title Tove Lo song out of my head.
The lyrics go like this… “Now if you’re talking body. You’ve get a perfect one…”
Stop. Rewind. A perfect one. Take a second to capture the image that popped into your head when you read that lyric. The perfect body.
Now, most of us have been around long enough to know that the “perfect” images that are given to us through magazines and social media are often airbrushed and/or filtered. We can intellectually understand that these standards of perfection are not realistic.
But, can we understand that we don’t need to feel anything about these images other than consider if we want to buy what they are selling or watch the movie they will star in? Being okay with not reaching societal considerations of perfection is a good place to start. Now I want to urge you to consider that what we have been taught about our standards of health, beauty, and fat to be sadly skewed as well.
One of the things I hear most often when people spectate an Ironman triathlon is how they cannot believe the body shape diversity amongst the athletes. There are people with more fat and people with less fat. The thin people are not always winning or have the most or the least muscle. People find this surprising and inspiring. And, they often assume that the athletes in bigger bodies are on a mission to lose weight or have lost several pounds already.
What if I told you that many of these athletes in bigger bodies are healthy? That what we assume is generally wrong?
Can you believe that you truly can be healthy at any size?
If you currently take care of your body (not talking about perfect care), feel good, are illness free, and can do the things you want to do that there is absolutely no reason to diet another day or to lose another pound. If you are connected to your body and trust that you will know when something indicates unhealthiness, disease, or illness then you can continue on, as is. And when you experience symptoms or any red flags you can and should receive respectful care, at any size. That the work doesn’t need to be done to make excuses for or even accept your size. The work needs to be done to rewire how you look at yourself and others. We need to look at how and what we see as truth.
The scientific truth is that fat is not an indicator of having disease or being unhealthy just like yellow teeth aren’t an indicator of being a smoker. But, we have been taught to believe that it is– by a $61 billion diet industry.
Please fight the urge to discount this coming from me— someone who you see as thin. I know our conditioning has taught us to be skeptical of thin people spreading this message. I urge you to consider why this may make you feel angry or just plain irritated. And if it does, that’s okay— just still please read on. These facts have nothing to do with my personal experience in my body. You can rest assured that I have and will struggle with my own body confidence and that I was duped for many years as well. It makes me very mad to think that I was taught at any time of my life that in order to be worthy I should be thin. Or that others who are not thin are not healthy. That we all need to fear having more fat on our bodies or make excuses when we do.
It is mentally and emotionally damaging. It is divisive and cruel. It is also complete and utter bullshit.
I LOVE my body. And not because it is thin. I love my body because it carried, birthed, and fed three amazing humans. I love my body because it does freaking amazing things. I love my body because it gives me cues of when things aren’t operating well. I love my body because it is an amazing creation.
I love my body because it is mine and I can choose to love it. And yes, you can love yours too. And we can all do freaking amazing things with our bodies, no matter how much or little fat we have on them.
The message that we are in an “obesity epidemic” comes from the adoption of BMI (Body Mass Index) as a tool for insurance companies to decide price structuring. BMI was a formula first created in the early 19th century by a Belgian mathematician, not a physician. When it was adopted as the number to create overweight and obesity parameters in the mid-80s millions of Americans became too fat overnight. This formula was never intended for this use, is not scientifically sound, is physiologically wrong, illogical, and truly total nonsense. It is basically the best they could come up with. And, it is still used in the US. It not only informs our healthcare, but these messages filter into our minds and bodies— telling us that we need to diet and lower our number in order to be healthy.
The fact is that you could feel completely healthy, go in to the doctor for a routine physical, and be told that you are too fat via an inaccurate and misused math formula. And how you look at and feel about yourself can change in that moment. Suddenly you align with the media’s message on how people in certain bodies act, feel, look, and eat. You feel that the is something wrong with your choices, your appearance, and your (lack of) care and motivation. You start to believe there is something wrong with you.
This importance of this message runs through my veins and my soul. I believed early on that the “problem” in the health and wellness industry wasn’t and isn’t fat. The real epidemic is the lack of self connection, awareness, love, and care. This not only leaves us empty, but leads us to bitterly turn on each other. To adopt victim mentalities to feel important and validated. To live in a constant state of insecurity, comparison, and judgment of ourselves and others. To always feel like we are not good enough or if we are that we should be afraid that someday we won’t be. And when we are repressed and empty we cannot love and wholly serve others.
I hope I have you fired up and considering how you look at yourself and other people. This is not an excuse to overlook disease or deny yourself being able to live authentically live in your body. It gives you permission to settle in to a weight and body that truly works for you— not one that you need to strive for to reach cultural standards.
If you are connected to yourself and know it to be true you can trust today that you are healthy. At any size.
Tune in next week and I will offer some tips for you to do this and also many resources that back up these claims.
Yours in body positivity solidarity,