Body Positivity: Health at Every Size

Body positivity (BP) is a social movement that encourages people to have an attitude of acceptance for their bodies, no matter their shape, size, or the way they look in clothes.  The goal of this movement is to encourage self-acceptance and the belief that we all deserve respect.  It also challenges society’s beauty standards and attempts to combat body shaming and low self-esteem due to body image issues.

The Body Positivity movement is also especially important for those who are overweight in that it helps individuals who face discrimination or stigma due to being overweight.

Shifting the narrative about weight from appearance to overall health and well-being, the Body Positivity movement’s goal is to break the vicious cycle of dieting, which is harmful and perpetuates unrealistic body ideals while encouraging weight loss at the cost of mental and physical health. Its overall goal is health at every size.

The following points are important to remember when considering Body Positivity:

1.      Acceptance and Respect: Everyone deserves to feel confident and comfortable in their body, and we should reject the idea that some bodies are more deserving of respect than others.

2.      Health At Every Size also focuses on overall well-being rather than weight and advocates for balanced eating, joyful movement, and self-care such as reasonable exercise.

3.      BP tries to dismantle societal stigma and discrimination faced by overweight people not only in the workplace but also by little children in the classroom.

4.      BP also encourages the representation of diverse body types in media and fashion, eventually changing society’s views of what is handsome or pretty.

5.      Feeling positive about your body can improve mental health and increase self-esteem.  Focusing on being healthy instead of thin can also lead to improved self-image. By embracing and loving their bodies, people may experience less anxiety, depression, and body dissatisfaction.

There is controversy and criticism about the Body Positivity movement because some are concerned about promoting acceptance of larger bodies leading to unhealthy behaviors.  Proponents of BP argue that it encourages people to make choices that are healthier without fixating on unrealistic beauty ideals.

I used to shop at a wonderful boutique that had a picture in the dressing room of a rather chunky woman dancing.  The caption said, “I love my body!  I love ALL of my body!!”  As I tried on clothes it reminded me not to focus on flaws but on how I looked and felt in the clothes.

Samantha Irby, a talented writer and comedian, is known for being candid and funny about body image and self-acceptance.  However, she has commented that she thinks she is too old for the Body Positivity movement.  I do not agree with her.  I believe that we can all learn to feel better about ourselves at any age.  So if you struggle with poor body image and wish you felt better about yourself, please let me know how you feel about working on your Body Positivity!