The term “Body Positivity,” and the cultural shifts that have happened as a result of this movement are ubiquitous. The movement has also brought lots of different body types to the forefront of the media. From Ashley Graham to "Street Size" models — we are lucky to be living in a world where a variety of body types are considered attractive.
For the most part, the body positivity movement is a good thing. It’s changed the way we think about ourselves as well as others. We all know that hating our imperfections or perceived imperfections doesn’t serve us. Staring at our love handles or feeling bad because our skinny jeans are too tight isn’t good for our overall wellbeing. The body positivity movement has told us you don’t need to be a size zero or have perfect abs to be worthy of love. You can look good no matter what size you are. And for the most part, this is entirely true.
The body positivity movement has told us you don’t need to be a size zero or have perfect abs to be worthy of love.
But having a healthy body is entirely separate from the way we feel about how we look.
This is where the body positivity movement fails to empower women. We can love ourselves so much we end up ignoring warning signs that our bodies are unhealthy. Feelings don’t change facts. And the truth is obesity can lead to diabetes and other major health problems.
We can love ourselves so much we end up ignoring warning signs that our bodies are unhealthy.
According to the CDC, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the US in 2015. The same report stated that nearly one in four adults are living with diabetes, which is a total of 7.2 million Americans, were unaware of their condition. Furthermore, only 11.6 percent of adults with pre-diabetes knew they had it.
Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease, is caused by several factors, which includes both a genetic predisposition and specific lifestyle choices. People who are overweight and less physically active are more likely to develop diabetes.
Only 11.6 percent of adults with pre-diabetes knew they had it.
So, here lies the problem. As it is right now, body positivity is beneficial for our emotional health, but not necessarily our physical health. Just because you’re overweight doesn’t mean you will automatically develop diabetes. There’s a spectrum. If you’re ten or fifteen pounds heavier than a doctor says you should be, you’re probably not at risk for any significant health issues as long as you don’t keep gaining weight. If a little extra weight gives you sexy curves—love your body, girl!
Loving your body doesn’t mean you’re treating it well.
Everyone needs physical activity at every size. You don’t have to push yourself three days a week at boot camp. Unless you want to, then by all means—do it. If Pilates is your jam, then go for it!
Being body positive also means not feeling guilty for having a cupcake or dark chocolate bar the day before your period. But you probably shouldn’t have one or both of those things every single day.
Being body positive should also embrace treating our bodies positively.
It is not as if the body movement is negative. But it’s missing a major component, which is focusing on staying healthy and well nourished. Being body positive should also embrace treating our bodies positively. It should not (necessarily) mean trying to lose weight. But we can’t change the fact that when we allow ourselves to become obese, it can have dire consequences. After all, if you love your body and yourself—don’t you want to be as healthy as you can be?