I would love to see myself as a body positive person however, I don’t know if I have ever been positive about anything in my life. By nature, I’m a super Negative Nelly and especially when it comes to loving myself, I lean towards being an Abysmal Annie. In general, I think I’m more of a Self-Loathing Susan.

via GIPHY

Lately I have been thinking a lot about body positivity and what that even means. I think when we hear the phrase “body positive” we think we have a good idea of what it might mean. However the more I learn, this is an incredibly multifaceted, complex and dynamic thing that is fraught with sensitive pain points.

Honestly I hesitated even writing this because I recognized that my own experiences come from a place of privilege (I have had a couple of major weight loss successes and consider myself mostly recovered from some eating issues and disordered behaviors) , and I would never want to unintentionally be an asshole.

What is Body Positivity Anyways?

When I think Body Positive, I think being happy in your skin, being comfortable with yourself regardless of what magazines are telling us is sexy and not putting all your confidence eggs in the skinny basket.

Sounds great right? And I want to be that. I want it so bad.

But I’m not.

I have struggled for years with my body image. I have gone on crazy out of control binges that have caused me to gain massive amounts of weight in short periods of time. I have starved myself into having abnormal bloodwork. I have been on waitlists for eating disorder treatments, stuffed myself with diet pills and supplements that were total chemical bullshit and even once had to “sleep on it” before politely declining being prescribed medication that would likely make me shit my britches.

All in the chase of the skinny.

The problem with this messy and complicated relationship with food and weight is that for me, the quest for body positivity looks a lot like Sisyphus rolling that rock up the hill- minus the cardio, leaving only the struggle.

via GIPHY

Riding the Body Positivity Emotional Shame Train

In order to recover from my issues I had to learn to feed myself properly, and let go of my emotional stake in my appearance.

At the same time, I want to be more fit. I want to fit my old clothes. I currently want to lose some weight that I have gained.

And how can you reconcile that? I feel like I am constantly caught between wanting to shape up and trying my damnedest to not give a fuck what I weigh/look like. And its not just the scale- I can tell when I am not eating the way I want to, I can tell when I am not as active as I want to be, I can tell when my clothes are tight.

This ends up looking like a lot of self sabotage, conflicting internal messages and feeling guilt about my health goals and the messages I communicate online. I find that I cycle between feeling really great about myself, and feeling guilty about my desire to lose weight.

I got to thinking about these things after seeing a Twitter thread about the body positive community and weight loss surgery (for more on the complexities of weight loss and WLS in the body positive community, this is an interesting read). People were sharing their feelings about loving themselves and the potential for feeling betrayal for losing weight (or wanting to lose weight), and as a person who has gotten past a lot of issues in that regard I realized that I could identify with this somewhat.

Last Summer I had this moment where I wore a bathing suit and instead of tearing myself up for my large swinging thighs, the vicious pattern of my stretch marks, and the multiple other glaring “errors” I could see written all over my body, I took a deep breath and chose to feel proud of my body and how far it has come.

But that was after a large weightloss. I’m heavier now and would like to have that feeling again… but is that a betrayal of my mental progress?

“Booodiiess! Get yer summer bodies here!”

Stop the ride- I want off

I would love for this post to be a hilarious or helpful look at some of this shit, but sadly it’s not. I have zero resolution to this issue. I think this is just another complicated life thing to make up as you go.

Ultimately we all have the right to be happy and to be healthy. Both of those things don’t come easy, so we’re left to really plug away the best way we see fit.

I know for myself, a goal moving forward is to take the next step in untangling emotions from my weight– this is to realize that I am not betraying my own progress by wanting to improve my health and physical fitness. I don’t really desire to be a certain size anymore, its more about wanting to feel better and stronger.

Ok, and a little bit of wanting to fit my existing clothes because FUCK MALLS.

I think for me it is about intention. I want to love my body by treating it in a healthy way. Sometimes that means walking more and jiggling less and that is ok. Sometimes that’s resting and eating what the fuck I want because I’m awesome and deserve to just be sometimes.

Mostly it’s me learning what things are important to my overall physical and mental well being and DOING THOSE THINGS.

This post probably wont be the last on this topic- I was just thinking about how its not as simple as it seems and figured that I’d share because it’s 2018 and are you truly living if you aren’t oversharing online?

Remember, love the skin you’re in or someone else might love it for you πŸ˜‰

via GIPHY

#badjokesforlife

Do you Struggle with Body Positivity?

Make me feel less alone in the comments!

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37 Comments

  1. Naturally Calamity Jane May 1, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Great post!! I struggle with this too…I managed to get to my “ideal weight and body shape” by working out twice a day and eating salad. As a result, I suffered a stress fracture in my foot and had to stop dead in my tracks. The funny thing is that even though I had the “perfect body” that I had always desired, I wasn’t any happier. In fact, I was less happy and more stressed out because I had to now maintain this, clearly unrealistic, shape and size. We are caught in the middle and I don’t know what the answer is…other than maybe fuck it! You do you. πŸ™‚ Thank you for posting this!

    Reply
    1. Scribbles and Tostitos May 1, 2018 at 8:39 am

      Hi Jane. The fact that you got to your β€œideal weight and body shape” and still weren’t happy with yourself says a lot about the unrealistic expectations women put on ourselves. The models that we see in magazines and other forms of media are sometimes 5 feet 7 in tall and like 130 pounds or less. How is that healthy? The struggle to maintain that is brutal. And all of the exercise and avoiding carbs isn’t really enjoying life. There’s gotta be a healthy balance. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
      1. Naturally Calamity Jane May 1, 2018 at 8:55 am

        Exactly! I was so stressed about what I put in my mouth and what that would do to my “perfect body”. Seriously…I just wanted nachos and beer! It’s such a game…and I don’t know who we are playing it for.

        Reply
  2. floweringink May 1, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I could write a fucking novel about this. I am, without question, a self loathing Susan (literally) and my body image issues have been fucking with me for a lifetime. I am going to be 49 this month, so how goddamn sad is that. I started a post recently with the sentence,” I hate my body”. I haven’t posted it yet.

    Your writing about this is so important; it is something I think most women deal with. The whole idea of body positivity makes me feel like a failure, but your statement about untangling emotions from your weight, is brilliant. I have never heard it put that way before (it’s pretty poetic actually).

    I adore you lady….keep doing what you do in your kick ass glorious way.

    Reply
    1. madmegsblog May 1, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      Write that novel! I’d buy it! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. Scribbles and Tostitos May 1, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I have struggled with loving my body my entire life. When I was a teenager and my body was changing, I was ashamed of what I looked like. Then in college, I thought my stomach was too big. Then, in my 20s, I was unhappy with my body because I wasn’t the same size I was in high school. Now, I’m unhappy because I’m not the same size I was in my 20s. It’s like one neverending journey. Positive body image is such a complex concept and I believe you eloquently discussed it here. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

    Reply
  4. Anna B. May 1, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I’m was in the same boat, and honestly it took a long time for me to reconcile the different messages and wants / needs. But for me, Body Positivity isn’t just accepting your body and understanding that you’re beautiful despite societal beauty norms telling you otherwise… But also actively attempting to be, and wanting to be healthier because… Well, it’s what your body deserves it.

    Loving something doesn’t mean accepting it and never changing it. It means loving it enough to respect it and desire the best for it; if you love something, you should want to take care of it, to preserve it, and to help it become / make it be the best possible version of itself. And your body’s no different in that regard. But the BP movement misses that and too often tries to say that “if you love yourself you should never want to change anything about yourself”. And, IMO at least… That’s not only a damaging message, but one that stifles personal and physical growth and betterment- and encourages feelings of guilt for any attempts at doing so.

    Reply
  5. Sue Anderson May 1, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Love this so much. After dealing with (haha) binge eating for 41 years, I never thought I’d break free… but it’s possible, and I did it! I went through Lydia Knight’s Beat the Binge coaching program right before turning 50. I was terrified that it wouldn’t work “for me” (turns out pretty much all of the grads thought the same thing) – but it did.

    While I have not lost weight, that was not the goal. Freedom from constant obsession was, and to be able to eat like a normal person (instead of feeling like some sneaky villain hiding away to seek solace in the pantry).

    In this freedom, I’ve been learning a lot about body neutrality – the same way I don’t give my left elbow a thought, there’s just no real emotional energy about my body. There are even days I feel downright positive about my curvy bod. Mostly, it’s been following the logic… dieting only resulted in craziness and the inevitable impossibility of maintaining a loss, the real reason behind that drive to manipulate (er, torture) my body was to become “acceptable” and eliminate the risk of being shunned by the in-crowd (what is this, high school STILL???). And ultimately, the drive for perfection, I saw, was nothing more than some faulty talisman that was supposed to protect me and my loved ones from anything bad happening. Seen in that light, it does sound kinda silly, right?

    Now, my goals are different (and still taking shape). I want to be strong and healthy and to have the energy I need for my life. I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m mine.

    Reply
  6. RNplusmommy May 1, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Love it!

    Reply
  7. overthehillontheyellowbrickroad May 1, 2018 at 9:42 am

    There are number of things I won’t get myself to do in life, just because I carry an extra fifteen pounds I’m not happy with. I wonder if not losing the weight is a way to avoid doing something that feels scary. I also love, love, love, love food. Is it worth it to constantly think about what I can and can’t eat, just to keep off the 15 pounds? I don’t think so.

    Reply
  8. Mishqueen May 1, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Yeah, I remember my mom telling her girlfriends when they wanted to burn their photos, “today’s fat picture is tomorrow’s skinny picture, I promise you will regret destroying it”. They did thank her later. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  9. Mishqueen May 1, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Yep. I remember my mom telling her girlfriends who wanted to burn their photos, “today’s fat picture is tomorrow’s skinny picture. I think you would regret destroying that.” They did thank her later. I’m so grateful to my mom for her completely neutral discussion of bodies. I didn’t understand how things are passed down for generations until I grew up. I try to do for others now what she did for me.

    Reply
  10. Mishqueen May 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    There’s an error message that pops up, making it look like my comment didn’t post on Scribbles’ comment. Also, it didn’t post it in that order anyway. You can delete all these messes if ya want. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  11. Mishqueen May 1, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    But don’t delete this one!

    Why do you think this post isn’t helpful AND hilarious? It’s both!

    The more we get people to look at the true feelings behind the feelings, the more they can begin the real path to healing. We need to understand that we are not alone, that we can lean on each other for support. The worst thing about the lying messages we receive is that they also turn us against each other, in the belief that we are protecting ourselves. I’m happy you are facing these hard issues head on.

    And for the record? The memes? The meme labeling? The SKIN joke?
    Perfect. You are an arteest! *french accent* Humor is a great way to take in some heavy stuff and not collapse under the weight. (see what I did there?) You are the perfect person to get this message out there. I’m proud of you!

    Reply
  12. madmegsblog May 1, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Great post! Honestly, I think we are all destined to struggle with body issues. Especially as females. I am definitely a Negative Nelly but I do like to change it up a bit and call myself Randi Realness but I end up sounding like a mediocre stripper on a Tuesday night. Which comes with it’s own bag of body issues. They want us to be positive about so many things in life!? How do we get to body positivity truthfully? Maybe we aren’t supposed to ever really know? Also, congrats on conquering the eating disorder. That’s a huge accomplishment. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  13. Adie // The Cupcake Witch May 1, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Girl, I relate to this so hard! I don’t really want to get into the specifics, but I have some pretty messed up issues around food and constantly find myself going back-and-forth between “I need to love my body as it is” and “I want to lose weight.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any real resolution to these issues. I think they’re things we’ll always need to work on on some level, because they’re so deeply ingrained and reinforced by society and the media (and basically everyone). I hope that your struggle becomes smaller and more manageable. <3

    Reply
  14. Sarah May 2, 2018 at 6:49 am

    I so relate! I spent my 20s having babies, and I didn’t start with a fit & healthy body. And now, staring 35 in the face, I struggle with the desire to put the effort in to figure out how to change this (finding the time???) and just giving up and .. settling. Not acceptkng, more resignation.

    Not sure how this one will work out. Or if I will.

    Reply
  15. DGGYST May 2, 2018 at 11:41 am

    I am pretty sure in real life, I am hot stuff, but (ultimate first world problem alert) I struggle with not being photogenic. Yea. I warned you. But really, i go through my day totally fine, then BAM someone posts a photo of me on facebook, and I am like….oh dear god no!

    Reply
  16. Tom Being Tom May 3, 2018 at 7:51 am

    I go through the same thing, kinda, honestly. I like to be under 180 for the comfort fit of my pants and I love the feeling of energy I have when I exercise and avoid overindulgence (in food AND drink). But I also love to sit and write a little longer (instead of walking) and when my wife says “I’m going to make enchiladas tonight!” I never say “Please stick to fish or chicken!” because … well … enchiladas. πŸ™‚

    And then when she says “Should I make margaritas, too?” I never say anything but “HELL yes!”

    In fact, I’m famous for saying, to my friends, my two favorite feelings in the world are an evening of drinking and a morning after not drinking in the evening. πŸ˜‰

    So, it’s hard. It’s a damned compromise. A fucking balance. Sometimes I’m really good at it and sometimes I’m not.

    But enough about me. Fabulous, honest, powerful, and humorous entry, Mandi Melancholy! 😊

    Reply
  17. Dylan Andersen May 5, 2018 at 7:01 am

    I can relate. Thank you for sharing and being so honest. I was having a mild breakdown myself last night. Fed up with my ridiculous eating habits. Pissed at myself for gaining almost all of the 40lbs I worked so hard to lose. Being in pain and miserable all of the time for reasons I’m solely responsible for. All while licking nacho cheese off my t-shirt before the dog had a chance to find it first. Sigh…today is a new day with new opportunities, right?

    Reply
  18. Healthy Hot Mess May 7, 2018 at 10:21 am

    It’s such a hard thing. I found I am better at being β€œhealthy” when I’m not restricting anything. Then I have nothing to rebel against. But on the other hand I would eat nothing but nachos and canned margaritas if left to my own devices. The struggle continues πŸ™ƒ

    Reply
  19. Healthy Hot Mess May 7, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I’d read the fuck out of that novel. I think we are all misguided that at certain ages we will have it all figured out and it’s simply not true. You are so fantastic ❀

    Reply
  20. Healthy Hot Mess May 7, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I completely agree. Part of loving something is taking car of it… while also loving it for what it is. Thanks for sharing I can really identify with this comment ❀❀

    Reply
  21. Healthy Hot Mess May 7, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Your experience sounds very similar to mine. Feel free to post your link here to your post about it ❀❀ it might really help someone

    Reply
  22. Healthy Hot Mess May 7, 2018 at 10:30 am

    I’d watch randi realness any day of the week! Thank you so much

    Reply
  23. Healthy Hot Mess May 7, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Hahaha I hate photos of myself. I’m like oh dear surely I don’t look like that πŸ™ƒ

    Reply
  24. Healthy Hot Mess May 7, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Thanks tom! That is very funny by the way about the night of drinking and morning after not drinking. This sums up my feelings towards alcohol as an adult person. My husband I often lament that a rare night out ends up eating up about 3 days πŸ˜‚

    Reply
  25. Healthy Hot Mess May 7, 2018 at 10:36 am

    My health changed once I made every minute is a new minute my new mantra. I used to try every day, fail, and say oh well tomorrow. But now even in the moment I try and scream through the fog “this is your moment! Who’s boss here!” And I find it gives me ownership nack. Most of the time 🀷

    Reply

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