The Duality of Body Positivity

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope you are eating lots of hot dogs and apple pies and making merry while I am at home, coughing up a lung and obsessively cleaning my kitchen. Being sick in the Summer is a big, fat bummer. But, I get to go to the beach on Friday so I’m keeping that silver lining firmly in my mind!

Anyway, getting to the subject at hand, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “body positivity.” It’s a weird topic for me, as a bigger girl, because there are a lot of things that go on in my mind when I think about being “body positive.” I follow a few really badass and awesome gals on Instagram that are great proponents of body positivity and are big girls, and they flaunt what they got and totally own who they are. I think that’s amazing. And while I totally love their message and cheer on their amazing confidence, I have a lot of internal conflicts over “body positivity.”

On the one hand, as a human, as a yoga teacher and a woman, I am 100% behind the idea of being proud of and loving your body. I think it’s important that we all learn to love and appreciate the bodies we’ve been given, because if we can’t do it now, we never will. We’ll keep chasing and chasing an ideal that doesn’t exist. And, I do love my body. I’m proud of it. I am strong and flexible. I can balance on my hands and I can run a 5k (if I have to). I can care for other people. I can wrap the people I love in big bear hugs. I can cry and laugh and share stories. My body supports all of that. It gives me the ability to achieve things I never dreamed possible. So, yes, I am proud of and love my body.

But, that doesn’t mean I’m happy with it’s size right now. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to change it. And that’s kind of a strange rub. A lot of Body Positive advocates get flustered when you talk about wanting to lose weight, as if wanting to lose weight is somehow a slap in the face of the whole idea. As if, by not being happy with my size, I can’t love my body. But the two are not mutually exclusive. I can love my body and also hope to change it. Because, in all honesty, my biggest problem with my size at this point is not vanity, it’s discomfort.

I’m not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes by saying this, because, I can freely admit, that vanity and wanting to look good in a cute little dress matter to me, and yes ego comes into play all the time, but discomfort is a real thing for me as a big girl and it’s starting to drive me insane. My clothes that once fit loosely now do not fit at all or are so tight they dig into my skin and it hurts. Working out and doing yoga suddenly feel totally different, and not in a good way. I have to find new ways of doing things to accommodate the change in my figure. Packing for trips gives me so much anxiety, not only because I suck at it, but because it’s so difficult getting all the things I want to take in my carry-on because of the simple fact that, my clothes and shoes are big and take up a pretty decent amount of space. I also hate wearing shorts, because they either make them in a cut that totally does not work on my frame and ride up or fold down, or they are so long I look like someone’s long lost 1970’s wilderness camp counselor. And don’t even get me started on bathing suits.

And let’s not forget, that there are a whole lot of fun new body/health issues that can and do crop up when you carry extra weight. Mentioning this to a lot of body positive advocates also tends to draw ire, and the fervent refrain of, “Just because you are big, doesn’t mean you are unhealthy.” I totally agree with this, but the fact remains that there are a lot of health issues that are more likely if you are overweight or obese, and I simply hope to avoid those things. There’s nothing wrong with being concerned about the effect of my weight on my health. I’m allowed to want to lose weight to lessen the likelihood of weight-related illnesses.

So, it’s hard, because while I am so proud of who I am and the way my body serves me and my life and allows me to do so many fun things, I have some real struggles with wanting to lose weight and feeling like I have to defend that desire. I’m body positive AND I want to lose weight! And that’s ok!

Let’s just be proud of who we are and still support one another in our endeavors. And be proud of who you are and fight for what you want. We can do all the things, guys and gals! All the things!!

Lots of love and keep fighting!



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