My Problem with the Body Positive Movement

I’m plus-size, and I like to think I’m body positive. The term, which in my understanding refers to those of us who love ourselves and others even though we’re overweight, seems like a good thing. I believe it’s important to love and accept ourselves, but I’ve never been “accepted” by this particular movement.

Sure, I champion the rights of plus-size people whenever possible. I’ve spoken at national conferences, opined on the topic for every major TV network in the US and sat across from CEO’s and executives in the hopes of creating a more accepting, respectful society, and I’ve seen some major change over the years due to my willingness to be a positive part of change.

I weigh about 350 pounds, and I have the audacity to believe that I’m pretty great. Society tells me that I shouldn’t feel that way, which is why the Body Positive movement needs to exist. They just need to get a grip because right now it seems that so many are focused on fat acceptance that they simply don’t accept my desire to be accepted if I pursue better health.

This isn’t a new issue. A few years ago I faced incredible amounts of opposition from the most notable fat acceptance organization in the US because I didn’t necessarily want to stay fat. I’m seeing the same sentiment again on Facebook and Twitter, and I think it’s judgmental and ridiculous to believe that someone must stay obese (and potentially unhealthy) simply to be accepted.

Losing weight has been challenging for me, but I’m determined to make healthy strides regardless of what shows on the scale. Let me be very clear for a moment – the only thing that has been more daunting than losing 200 + pounds is learning to love and accept myself. I did that, and now I’d like to see my body restored as well because I just don’t feel as good at 350 pounds as I did at 300 pounds.

I currently weigh less than I did at 27, but y blood pressure is higher now than it was at that time. My size affects me more than it did 7 years ago, and I feel a bit achy these days due to skin issues that wouldn’t exist if I were not obese. I also know that I’m wearing out my body more quickly than I should be because my body has to work harder because of the extra weight.

These are things I’ve known as long as I’ve been overweight, and there’s nothing wrong with changing them. And changing them shouldn’t mean that I’m no longer acceptable to a movement that allegedly exists to combat intolerance.

Here’s the reality. It’s been a long time since I required validation from society. Society sucks, and I don’t need to be accepted by this movement. I just think that it could be such a positive force if the leaders would come together and truly understand tolerance rather than being tolerant of people who are just like them and no one else. (This is a problem inย every major movement in the media right now.)

I love my life and myself more than I ever have before, which is all the more reason for me to spend a little time tracking my food intake and exercising. Fueling my body with healthy things (at least sometimes) is a good thing, and regardless of whether a person or an entire movement takes issue with it I’ll still be happy in the long run because I did what was best for me.

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Karen Scott
    July 26, 2016 at 8:40 am

    AMEN !!!! This is your life, the only one you get ! Don’t live it to fit any group or persons expectation or definition. You are intelligent, well spoken and gorgeous . I often say we all fight our battles in life. Some battles are never seen, others are out there for everyone to judge and critique. You and I have the obvious ones while others battle things unseen. Always take care of you and what makes you happy.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 26, 2016 at 10:57 am

      I think we battle with things that are seen and unseen, but this weight issue seems to be something that gives everyone free reign to judge. It’s weird, but hey, so is the world we live in…

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  • Reply
    Connie Bartlett
    July 26, 2016 at 10:09 am

    AMEN!!!

    And that all I got to say about that…..

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 26, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Hahah, yep!

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  • Reply
    Pamela Barber
    July 26, 2016 at 10:32 am

    That’s the problem I have with me supposed to be loving me as I am. I really don’t want to. To me that implies that there is nothing wrong with an unhealthy weight and thus no reason to change I disagree. I don’t want to be so comfortable with myself that I no longer try to improve my health by losing weight.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 26, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Oh gosh, Pam. I’m so sorry you feel that way. I love myself just as I am, and I respect myself enough to try to better myself. Loving yourself and being comfortable (complacent in obesity) are two very different things from my point of view.

      I sincerely hope you learn to love yourself because if you’re always looking to be better before it happens, it never will.

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  • Reply
    Steelers6
    July 26, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    So much irony in this post as far as being accepted. I guess I didn’t realize WL would be viewed that way by size acceptance groups. Very curious.
    I’m just so proud and awed a bit I think, by the manner in which your perspectives and all around mental outlook has evolved over the time of this blog. To be able to say such positive things about oneself while working to improve in various areas seems so..mature, admirable, healthy? Well done, my friend. So much progress.
    xo Chrissy

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  • Reply
    Michele Friedman
    July 27, 2016 at 7:48 am

    I’m so glad you said this. I hear so many women say, over and over, that just because you’re overweight, it doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy, and this is their reason for accepting their bodies, and not trying to improve their health. While this may be true for them right now, chances are, down the road, they’re going to be diagnosed with some pretty awful things. I myself was totally healthy until my mid-40s, when I found myself 4 months away from being diagnosed with Diabetes. This weekend I met up with a friend in her mid-30s who has been diagnosed with Diabetes, and who made it clear she preferred to eat all the foods that gave her the disease than reverse it, because she’s happy with who she is. That’s not accepting oneself, that’s resigning oneself, because one doesn’t want to do the work involved with staying healthy. It makes me so sad.

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  • Reply
    kristen
    July 31, 2016 at 3:25 am

    Exactly!!! You need to take care of yourself and do what is best for you!! You are you’re own best friend. We are only given 1 body and one life and we need to take care of it. Period. We all support you. Here’s to health and happiness for all of us striving towards self acceptance and healthy choices! Perfection is not our goal but health and longevity.

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  • Reply
    ahancockwvu
    August 2, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I identify completely with this post. I also weigh about 350 pounds and have been trying to make better choices for myself- walking, eating healthier, drinking plenty of water. It’s difficult day to day, but I am really happy with myself for being more disciplined and kind to myself. I haven’t been beating myself up this go-round and I have tried hard to remain positive and patient, and it’s the most successful stab at it that I’ve taken in years. I have lost 18 pounds so far.

    I have found that there are people who are unhappy or critical of me no matter what; some are critical that I am overweight, others are critical because I’m losing weight, because of the reasons you mentioned. I have to do the right thing for me, and that means eating the salads and walking and drinking the water.

    I celebrate you and your independent, strong voice, and your strong commitment to loving yourself and acceptance. ๐Ÿ™‚

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