Curb Your ‘Body Positive’ Enthusiasm

No person should feel like s/he is less of a valued human being because of their body composition. You should be O.K. with who you are, at the moment, without attaching your self-worth to your weight or physical appearance. This is not what the ‘body positive’ movement has become. There’s a fine line between refusing to hold your weight against yourself while working on your fitness and accepting a poor state of health as normal, acceptable, or worse, something to celebrate.

Suppose you believe that an individual should be motivated to turn around other potentially preventable or controllable self-harms, like substance abuse. Why change your perspective for issues that cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic disorders, and even cancer? Can you imagine telling a person who has lost their job and can’t support their family that ‘it’s O.K., you’re fine the way you are! Being broke is amazing. Even though you can’t afford to feed yourself or pay your rent, you shouldn’t work on that resume or build any new work skills.’ Or would you say to an alcoholic, ‘you’re fine the way you are, don’t let anyone tell you that drinking vodka at 7 AM or forgetting where you were last night is a problem. You keep doing you, girl!’

Whether it is drugs, alcohol, gambling, or food causing a person to self-destruct, you should never make a person feel shame or worthlessness where s/he is struggling- but you sure as hell don’t normalize or encourage the result of the behaviour either. The ‘body positive’ movement often blurs these lines. Not always, but often enough that I see it as an issue.

Accept your self without shame, but don’t accept your problematic state. Understand where you can improve and get to work. Please don’t attach your worth to your problems, but don’t pretend it’s O.K. to be unwell. Normalizing disease states is not acceptable.

Healthy comes in many forms, but obesity, diabetes, and metabolic disorder aren’t any of them.

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