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Body Positive Movement - For or against?

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  • DiscipleOfChrist29DiscipleOfChrist29 Posts: 83Member Member Posts: 83Member Member
    What does this movement mean to you? Do you agree or disagree with it?
    How do you feel about the body positive movement? I haven't given it much thought but recently stumbled onto a few forums on a bodybuilding website where the overall theme was extremely against this movement. One commenter went as far as to say people for the movement are looking to destroy our country (USA) by promoting unhealthy eating habits and laziness.

    What does this movement mean to you? Do you agree or disagree with it?

    When I think about the movement, it just brings to mind people like Tess Holiday and more about what people are calling "Fat Acceptance" I guess. There are parts I agree with for sure..

    I am not sure how I feel about the movement. I understand the sentiment behind it. I grew up in a family of big people in the south that had no issues with their bodies. There was no shame or anything like that from what I could remember. I am assuming the movement came out of "fat-shaming" which seems to happen on social media a lot these days. Shame is awful and it is not a great motivator because it often leads to depression and back to things that cause the shame. I think any movement has potential to be taken too far. Will we start seeing people who promote healthy lifestyles, eating, dieting, and exercise get demonised and called fat-shamers? Or anti-body positive? I hope it does not go that far.

    Good question..
  • DiscipleOfChrist29DiscipleOfChrist29 Posts: 83Member Member Posts: 83Member Member

    I'm in favour of it. Everyone's entitled to feel ok about themselves - to be able to buy clothes that fit if possible, to not be made feel ashamed of how they look. The choice to lose weight/get healthier is a decision only each individual has. I think even the healthiest person has shortcomings/bad habits that other people might not share/endorse - live and let live. I think it's pretty disgusting that people think they have the right to judge someone else for being fat and to tell them that they should lose weight. My decision to lose weight was my own - anyone trying to tell me what to do, would have been hurtful and probably quite counter productive. I don't believe that fatness is being 'glorified'. People make up their own minds about what they think looks beautiful and these days, what is beautiful is wonderfully vast and varied. People also have the information at their fingertips to also know what is healthy and that's a personal choice. I think it would be different if someone tried to force someone else to be overweight.

    But a lot of body positive activists claim that you can be healthy at any size and that being overweight/obese doesn’t actually cause negative health outcomes...

    That’s one of the main problems I have with it.

    That's a different position and that's like dismissing all of Christianity as a religion just because some streams of Christianity are crazy, crackpot extremists. And I say that as an atheist.

    It's like dismissing all vegetarians as annoying and extreme just because there are some extremist, radical annoying ones - and I say that as a meat-eater.

    People focus on narrow, non-representative, extreme groups as an excuse to dismiss an entire movement/position when they don't want to accept that the fundamental premise might have any validity.

    I don't think it's acceptable to fat shame people. I stand by my position that people should not be made to feel bad about themselves and their bodies - live and let live. if they start going out and advocating that others should mimic them or if they start to spout falseheads and damaging statements - then I start to have a problem because that's no longer living and letting live ...



    This is a very good point as well... I am a Christian and I have heard countless times about how people hate Christianity or Christians for some reason or another that has nothing to do with Jesus and if he rose from death..

    So people will reject a movement based on the fringes or how much baggage has become attached to it or how far it has moved from it's fundamental purpose. Same reason some women reject modern feminism because it has moved beyond equal rights in their eyes.
  • healingnurtrerhealingnurtrer Posts: 166Member Member Posts: 166Member Member
    In the conversations I've been a part of with my family and friends I think body positivity talk favors fat acceptance. I don't think all my friends and family and extremists but some have been influenced by that thinking perhaps?

    Some examples: I had some friends talking about body positivity and I was agreeing with everything until someone said- yeah, you can be healthy at any size, etc. I was very startled. That's just false. Obesity increases your risk of many health problems. Also being underweight. When I talked to my sister about my struggles with emotional eating and constant weight gain she was really supportive and "body positive, love yourself, etc." which I appreciated! Then when I told her I'd been losing a pound a week (a healthy, sustainable rate) in a healthy way and was excited for healing my body and behavior she was suddenly "worried" about me and treated me like I had low self-esteem or disordered thinking. It's weird. I've rarely felt bad about my body, I usually felt compassion for myself when I was overeating and obese. I'm still happy and excited for myself now that I'm "getting better."

    This is too bad because I think body positivity and self-compassion are great. I can see how hating your body could lead to crash diets, doomed to fail and more self-loathing. I've been in a place emotionally where I wasn't "ready" to try to lose weight. I'm glad I wasn't hating myself during that time. I wish that for more people in my circle body positivity could include- hey, I'm working on losing weight right now for my health, comfort and appearance and this is "positive" too.
  • bathsheba_cbathsheba_c Posts: 1,862Member Member Posts: 1,862Member Member
    Body positivity is literally why I am here. Weight is only one indicator of health, and it is a poor one at that. Furthermore, it often isn’t clear with many medical conditions whether extra weight makes the condition worse or whether the medical condition causes the extra weight.

    The fact is that they way American society (and western society) thinks about weight and food in general is fundamentally disordered. Instead of wanting to take care of our bodies because we live in them and consider them deserving of respect, we’re taught that our value as people is inversely proportionate to the number on the scale. Is it any wonder so many people live unhealthy lifestyles when exercising is done to punish ourselves for taking up space? When food is a source of guilt rather than nourishment and pleasure? When we look in the mirror and are disgusted by the fat we “need” to lose rather than loving the changes fitness makes to our body?

    I’ve lost and gained weight several times, mostly due to pregnancy. Right now, I’m losing again, but it isn’t my goal. It comes from a conscious decision that, due to little kids and a career change, I’ve fallen into unhealthy habits and I deserve to treat myself better than that.
  • VictorSmashesVictorSmashes Posts: 118Member Member Posts: 118Member Member
    As an obese person, I will say two things:

    1) You have to be kind to yourself and you should be kind to each other because like many have said, you don't know anyone's story. Even if their troubles have nothing to do with their weight, it's icing on the cake when you say rude things. And

    2) Being obese is very unhealthy and I'll say this from personal experience and from everything physiologically that we are told about being fat. I got to my high in May and started to experience severe muscle imbalance and had to go to PT for it. I am but one person and cannot attest to the majority, but I am one person who puts a tally on overweight=unhealthy vs overweight= who knows.

    So I guess in a sense I do not believe in the body positivity movement insofar that obese people shouldn't change to try to lower their weight, but I DO believe in being nice to people. Actually shaming anyone is effed up, and it's the main reason I won't go workout in a gym (that is, on the floor or with the equipment). I hate the fit mentality that they can make comments, stare, or not-so-silently judge you for being overweight. It's hard enough getting there, and then swimming basically naked in front of anyone, but at least my gym's pool is usually empty.

    I will place this caveat and say I'm losing weight and trying to lose a lot of weight so I'm "normal" again, but that makes me one of the "good ones" doesn't it? Still get stares and have gotten comments at the gym!
  • allymaeghanallymaeghan Posts: 3Member, Premium Member Posts: 3Member, Premium Member
    I work at an Eating Disorder Clinic, I personally see it as good and bad. Good because people are embracing their own bodies. However there seems to be more bad than good, the pressure on outward appearance is higher and inattention to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • PWHFPWHF Posts: 213Member, Premium Member Posts: 213Member, Premium Member
    I work at an Eating Disorder Clinic, I personally see it as good and bad. Good because people are embracing their own bodies. However there seems to be more bad than good, the pressure on outward appearance is higher and inattention to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    I've dealt with eating disorders for 22 years (not myself but someone very close to me) and I place the blame squarely on the fashion, advertising and TV/film industries. And refined sugar and fatty foods being addictive and a form of substance abuse. It would be great to see the movement looking for ways to effectively address these industries by boycotting products that are advertised like this and films/TV shows that don't have enough of a representation of regular non-perfect looking 20 something cast.

    One of the things I liked about Game of Thrones was the 'real' cast, maybe that was a contributing factor in why it was so popular. :/
  • ceiswynceiswyn Posts: 2,152Member Member Posts: 2,152Member Member
    I would like to have Words with society generally about the way celebration, commiseration, and social activities are all centred around food. And that if you don't partake, you're pressured and/or seen as a bit weird.

    My issues with binge eating are Not Helped by things like semi-mandatory work 'breakfast socials' with pastries, or being pushed to take part in challenges involving doughnuts strung from the ceiling.
  • ceiswynceiswyn Posts: 2,152Member Member Posts: 2,152Member Member
    wmd1979 wrote: »
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I work at an Eating Disorder Clinic, I personally see it as good and bad. Good because people are embracing their own bodies. However there seems to be more bad than good, the pressure on outward appearance is higher and inattention to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    But that has nothing to do with the BP movement. Obesity is caused by willfully (or in some cases disordered) eating more than we should which often results in moving less than we need. There is an undercurrent of "obese people should just lose weight" in this thread like the solution is that easy. Many people want and try to lose weight but fail to do so in a manner that is sustainable. Unfortunately the real problem is the diet industry makes billions off of schemes that people can't follow and the education that is also out there doesn't get the spotlight because it is not sexy or new. I have chosen to lose weight many times. The willingness was never the problem. The execution was the problem.

    I think you are taking the bolded out of context because I haven't really seen that at all in this thread. For health reasons, it would be ideal for obese people to lose weight, but I haven't seen anyone just flippantly suggesting that it is easy. I also think blaming the diet industry is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. There always have been, and always will be fad diets, but if someone is dedicated to losing weight, then it is up to them to do the research and put in the work to make it happen. I think a lot of the reason people fail repeatedly is because they don't set proper expectations for themselves and they simply don't have the patience to stick with a plan long term. This is why fad diets are so popular: they promise quick results when the truth is, sustained weight loss is a slow process. I think the BP movement is important, because people should feel self worth and nobody should be made to feel like less of a person because of their appearance. I also think it is easier for people to achieve their goals when they feel good about themselves as opposed to feeling like they have to lose weight out of shame.

    That was certainly my experience.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,798Member Member Posts: 12,798Member Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I work at an Eating Disorder Clinic, I personally see it as good and bad. Good because people are embracing their own bodies. However there seems to be more bad than good, the pressure on outward appearance is higher and inattention to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    But that has nothing to do with the BP movement. Obesity is caused by willfully (or in some cases disordered) eating more than we should which often results in moving less than we need. There is an undercurrent of "obese people should just lose weight" in this thread like the solution is that easy. Many people want and try to lose weight but fail to do so in a manner that is sustainable. Unfortunately the real problem is the diet industry makes billions off of schemes that people can't follow and the education that is also out there doesn't get the spotlight because it is not sexy or new. I have chosen to lose weight many times. The willingness was never the problem. The execution was the problem.

    I don't believe in conspiracy theories, at least not large conspiracies, because humans are terrible at conspiring.

    But I think that there could be an argument that it's the diet industry that conspires against people, moreso than Big Food.

    Big Food gives us what we vote with our dollars we want, mostly advertising it as quick, affordable, and delicious (not often as nutritious, and only occasionally as "healthy", though sometimes healthier than the competition).

    The diet industry mostly tries to convince us that we need special secret techniques and extreme and unpleasant solutions - their particular techniques and solutions, specifically - in order to lose weight (with calories as the Oz-style "man behind the curtain").

    In reality, I think it's not a conspiracy at all, of course, but simple greed and self-dealing, playing to people's wish for a quick fix, often (not always) an appearance fix.
    wmd1979 wrote: »
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I work at an Eating Disorder Clinic, I personally see it as good and bad. Good because people are embracing their own bodies. However there seems to be more bad than good, the pressure on outward appearance is higher and inattention to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    But that has nothing to do with the BP movement. Obesity is caused by willfully (or in some cases disordered) eating more than we should which often results in moving less than we need. There is an undercurrent of "obese people should just lose weight" in this thread like the solution is that easy. Many people want and try to lose weight but fail to do so in a manner that is sustainable. Unfortunately the real problem is the diet industry makes billions off of schemes that people can't follow and the education that is also out there doesn't get the spotlight because it is not sexy or new. I have chosen to lose weight many times. The willingness was never the problem. The execution was the problem.

    I think you are taking the bolded out of context because I haven't really seen that at all in this thread. For health reasons, it would be ideal for obese people to lose weight, but I haven't seen anyone just flippantly suggesting that it is easy. I also think blaming the diet industry is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. There always have been, and always will be fad diets, but if someone is dedicated to losing weight, then it is up to them to do the research and put in the work to make it happen. I think a lot of the reason people fail repeatedly is because they don't set proper expectations for themselves and they simply don't have the patience to stick with a plan long term. This is why fad diets are so popular: they promise quick results when the truth is, sustained weight loss is a slow process. I think the BP movement is important, because people should feel self worth and nobody should be made to feel like less of a person because of their appearance. I also think it is easier for people to achieve their goals when they feel good about themselves as opposed to feeling like they have to lose weight out of shame.

    I don't really disagree with you, but I'd point out that most people don't actually have accurate information in their heads.

    In one sense, yes, they could research and find accurate information (despite a chorus of noisy diet-industry voices telling them it's Totally Wrong, as discussed above).

    But a very large fraction of people in general seem only to be aware of (and like) the popular music, the popular books, the popular TV shows and movies, etc. There are many other options in the environment, but my experience is that most people are literally unaware of them (not necessarily that they don't like the alternatives once they're pointed out; sometimes quite the contrary). Why should/would diet strategies be any different?

    When I look at the tabloids when I'm in line at the grocery store, keto and IF are all over the headlines, alongside some generic "lose 20 pounds in 30 days" headlines (that may still be one of the current most popular diets; I don't look). Things like Weight Watchers still have some marketing promotion, and Noom is coming on fairly strong in advertising, in the US at least. When I look around the Getting Started/Intro threads here, I see quite a few people doing those things.

    Humans are very norm-driven, in general. They do - want to do - what other people do (or what they think other people do).

    I had an argument with an acquaintence who knew me as I lost weight, steadily and fairly fast (reality-based definition of fast ;) , 50 in pounds in under a year, obese to healthy). She was doing low carb. She said that that was necessary. She said that over the Winter, she had "read all the books, and they all said you had to do low carb". The fact that I had lost tens of pounds over the Winter, while eating lots of carbs, just would not process for her: She could not accept it. We don't see each other much anymore (coincidence, not because of this), but photos I've seen now and then suggest she's still overweight.

    Yeah, the diet industry preys on things like a wish for instant gratification, and those herd instincts. For most people, weight management is in fact in their hands, but effectively, they don't know it.

    (And just FTR, I'm all for support and be kind to people of all body types; that self-regard and self-respect are more likely to be useful foundations for weight management than self-hatred or the like (a sense of agency, control: Really important, hard to achieve when down on oneself); etc.

    I'll admit to impatience with people who are very excuse-driven or victimization-focused (this is a character fault I have, IMO). I likewise admit to outrage at doctors who (so I'm told) tell people they can't lose weight because of age or hypothyroidism for example - at least not without surgery. I also believe that while some people will live to a ripe old age in reasonable health while overweight, and that other health strategies (exercise, nutrition) are good to pursue even while overweight, only myopia can account for some people insisting that there is no health risk in being overweight in a long term sense.

    (And yes, I know some who do that. Not high fractions, but some. Most quite-overweight friends of mine are either currently healthy (maybe "medication assisted healthy" :grimace: ) and in denial; or are quite unhealthy but believing and doing things that are not going to lead to weight management, even when that's what they're explicitly pursuing.))
  • VerdenalVerdenal Posts: 615Member Member Posts: 615Member Member
    I'm in favour of it. ....

    But a lot of body positive activists claim that you can be healthy at any size and that being overweight/obese doesn’t actually cause negative health outcomes...

    That’s one of the main problems I have with it.

    That's a different position and that's like dismissing all of Christianity as a religion just because some streams of Christianity are crazy, crackpot extremists. And I say that as an atheist.

    Yet that is a position that frequently is associated with supporters of the Body Positive movement.
  • VerdenalVerdenal Posts: 615Member Member Posts: 615Member Member
    ceiswyn wrote: »
    wmd1979 wrote: »
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I I also think it is easier for people to achieve their goals when they feel good about themselves as opposed to feeling like they have to lose weight out of shame.

    That was certainly my experience.

    I think some people respond to both positive and negative motivators. I know I do.
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 3,255Member Member Posts: 3,255Member Member
    Verdenal wrote: »
    I'm in favour of it. ....

    But a lot of body positive activists claim that you can be healthy at any size and that being overweight/obese doesn’t actually cause negative health outcomes...

    That’s one of the main problems I have with it.

    That's a different position and that's like dismissing all of Christianity as a religion just because some streams of Christianity are crazy, crackpot extremists. And I say that as an atheist.

    Yet that is a position that frequently is associated with supporters of the Body Positive movement.

    Can you flesh that out more becuase I'm not sure what you're saying. Is it also fair to assume that by "body positive movement" you mean the healthy at any size "movement"? So people who are focused on just weight as opposed to the multitude of other things that fall into body positivity.
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