Tag Archives: Fat

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.

 

Fat Photos

I’m heavier than most women I know, but I don’t shy away from the camera. If we’re connected through social media you know that I take selfies by myself and with friends. I share full body shots, and I’ve been known to rock photos in my swimsuit too. (See my Instagram account.)

Yesterday my long time friend, Tammy, posted about our favorite author’s article in Good Housekeeping. Jennifer Weiner and I have never met (life goal,) but the woman understands the inner workings of my mind. She’s been writing books that make me laugh, cry, dream and hope for years, and she opened up about avoiding the camera in first year of her daughter’s life.

I have beautiful friends who avoid the camera because they don’t like how they look, and I know women who will take 20 photos of themselves before they find one that they don’t despise. (I’ve been guilty of that countless times as well.) It’s hard to be happy with oursevles when we’re engulfed in a culture that says we shouldn’t be.

I’m obese…blah, bah, blah…I know. It’s hard to forget, as I have to live in my own skin everyday, but I refuse to allow my size to have bearing on whether or not I choose to live my life or take a photograph.

I went back to school at 30 years old to pursue a career about which I am passionate. I moved across the country and thrived in the biggest, most intimidating cities in America, I sang a solo in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and I took on an entire industry in the hopes of making a positive impact for myself and others. I don’t back down from things that scare me, and I will not back down from capturing memories with loved ones.

I think it’s important to recognize our own value. I’ve learned that the hard way, and that learning process never stops. I put effort into how I look, what I wear, etc. I take pictures from flattering angles, and I pose with my big, cheesy grin.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about how we represent ourselves; I’m saying that I don’t want to live as a slave to this unrealistic ideal that we measure ourselves and our happiness against.

I love myself whether you think I should or not, and I’m going to continue to make memories and photograph them when I feel like it because I love looking back at the little moments that make life so special.

Do you shy away from photos because of your weight?

Can We Really Be Fat and Happy?

I rarely refer to myself or others as ‘fat’ even though I am. The word has such a negative connotation, and I choose to focus on my positive attributes more than my negative ones. I’m smart, thoughtful and caring, and I’m not afraid to admit it when I screw up. I don’t mind being the first to say that I’m sorry after an argument, and I’m not afraid to chase the goals in my life that haunted me for years. I can be a great girlfriend (when I have a significant other,) and I ampassionate about helping people.

I could go on and on about my positive qualities. (Don’t act surprised. Bloggers are narcissistic!) I know what I’m good at, and there is no shortage of reasons to love myself. I have experienced the kind of joy and peace that has changed my life over the last couple of years, but I’m not as focused on my health as I used to be.

I exercise more than the average person, but it’s not the priority that it once was. Healthy food still makes its way into my meals almost daily, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as it once was. I have to admit that I miss that feeling of control that I once had, but in most other areas I’m happier now than I was when I was losing weight.

It feels great to make goals and to stick to them, and it feels awesome to achieve the desired results after hard work. On the flip side, the driving force behind my weight loss goals came from a desire to feel loved and validated by myself and others, and I’ve experienced those feelings more since living in New Orleans that ever before.

I feel content in almost every area of my life, and I wake up happy and refreshed almost everyday. These are the feelings that I was fighting so hard to gain as I lost weight, and now I have them. People love and accept me just as I am. I love and accept me just as I am.

It’s hard to believe that I ever looked in the mirror and hated the woman staring back at me. I love her now, and I want what’s best for her. It’s just not as black and white as it was before. I don’t subscribe to the thought that reaching a certain number on the scale will fulfill me.

I do think it’s important to get to what feels like a healthy weight for myself, but I don’t know what that number is. I don’t dream about hitting a particular number. I dream of meeting someone who loves and desires me even though my clothing size isn’t made up of single digits like many of my BFF’s. I dream of living in a in a that society doesn’t think that being a size 24 is the most offensive thing that a person can ever be.

Leslie
Being obese makes life harder than it should be sometimes, and I know that somewhere within me is the power to change it. My personal experience showed me how good it feels to experience significant weight-loss, but the same experience helped me see the value in enjoying life without the constant stress and restrictions of counting points or counting calories or saying no.
I’m searching for a balance (and have been for months,) and I seem to be feel the best when I’m mindful of what I’m consuming. I also feel good when I exercise regularly because endorphins are awesome.

Often times we strive to lose weight because we think it’s what we need to be happy, but the truth is that most of us are looking for the same things everyday – love, peace, grace and acceptance. Having those things makes me happy, and those truths aren’t going to change even if my body does.