Tag Archives: Acceptance

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 in 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.

 

One Year Later…

It has been just over a year since I walked into NOLA Church for the first time, and I cannot believe how different my life and point of view are now.

I have friends who love me without judgment, and I’ve built relationships with people who know everything about me – my deepest regrets and fears and joys – and love me in spite of those imperfections.

My church isn’t perfect.  It is filled with flawed people who are searching for acceptance, seeking to have their questions answered.  We have issues, but I like that.  Jesus spent time with people who needed Him, and we need Him.  I need Him.

I’ve discovered God’s immeasurable grace and unconditional forgiveness, and I have a relationship with Him that I didn’t realize that someone like me – so flawed and imperfect and horrible – could ever have.

My life is different.  I’m different.

I remember writing a post about my feelings on church, the reasons that I was skeptical about going and the reasons that it just wasn’t for me.  I remember wishing that I could have faith in someone that I couldn’t see, and I remember being terrified of being hurt by the church again.

I needed peace and assurance that everything would be okay, but I didn’t find that. Instead I faced gossip, judgment and condescension.  The meanest, most judgmental people I knew were from the church, and I decided that if that’s what church was about, I didn’t want any part of it.

You can read the whole post here.

Now I love Jesus.  Sometimes people find my love for Him obnoxious, but I’m so thankful that I can’t imagine not talking about it.  It defines so much of who I am now, and I don’t want that to change.

Last week I wrote a post that some of you didn’t like.  Someone called me preachy, and another person called me an idiot.  Someone else called me naive.

I get it.  Some people think I’m ridiculous or full of crap for talking about Jesus here.  I understand that you don’t all love Him or believe in Him or have faith in Him, but it’s who I am now.  I still have a lot of other loves and interests, but He’s part of me now.  I’m happier and more at peace than I’ve ever been so it’s not likely to change anytime soon.

I didn’t write about forgiveness recently because I was trying to preach to anyone; I wrote it because I’ve been working through my feelings on forgiveness lately.  As I look back at my past, I’m forced to think about things that I’ve tried to forget for years.

In my late teens and early 20’s, I was an insecure, suicidal, dishonest person who desperately wanted to feel loved and accepted.  I didn’t think it was possible that I could forgive those who hurt me, and I didn’t care who I hurt because I was in so much pain.  I lived crippled by that pain for years, and now I’m free from it.

It’s by God’s grace that I’m not dead.  It’s because of His love that I get to live in freedom now.  I’m loved.  I’m forgiven.  I’m His.  End of story. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s just the beginning…