I’m getting pretty sick of the fat shaming; negative body image endorsing posts by those in fitness masquerading as concern. Today, I read a post shared by Cassie Young regarding a fitness trainer reaching out to her via Twitter, after she announced her engagement, to offer his services to help her lose weight for her big day. When she declined he sent her a barrage of messages about how wedding photos are forever and she can’t possibly be happy with her current state of being.
Last week I read a post by a fitness blogger calling out a woman online for daring to be “obese” and yet promote body positivity, responding to a fans rude comment that “#effyoubeautystandards” should be replaced with “#effyourhealthstandards” by saying it was funny.
I was bullied as a child, I was bullied as a teen, and I’ve been bullied as an adult, and I take great objection to bullying in all its forms. It seems an acceptable form of bullying today is to call someone out based on nothing more than their physical representation. These bloggers and “fitspos” use national obesity rates to justify their rude and judgmental stances, while several of them having admitted to suffering from disordered eating at some point in the life, and often following extreme diets that do not represent health or balance. One blogger spoke about taking a bite of a cookie instead of eating the entire thing so she could experience the flavor without the fat. This sounds completely balanced and healthy to me (not!)
Health is not an image, and unless you are standing in front of a person’s medical records, you have no right to make any kind of judgment on their health. Rather than lashing out at a stranger for not fitting your perception of beauty, look inwardly and challenge the poor state of mental health that would make you project your insecurities unto a stranger.
Fitness models do not represent the epitome of health and fitness. Besides the fact that magazine photos are often Photoshopped, models train and diet down for a photo shoots, often cutting out carbs (an essential source of energy) and following extreme behaviors weeks prior to look “photo-shoot ready”, many admitting that the final image is not representative of their everyday life. There are many models that share images from a single photo-shoot throughout the year.
Research has shown time and time again that negative reinforcement does not work. Those that exercise to achieve an aesthetic often do not stick to their life change on a long term basis because it is not motivating, and often not sustainable. Exercising and eating solely for your physique can lead to extreme and unhealthy behaviors. What works is exercising and eating for your health, and that can only be achieved if you like yourself.
I’ve seen many negative things lately regarding the body positivity movement, and how it encourages “fat people” to love their bodies, because let’s face it, when basing an opinion of someone on a picture, it’s not about health but about appearance. Skinny people can be unhealthy too you know; have you heard of anorexia nervosa and disordered eating? Besides the many other ailments that may affect a person not seen by the naked eye. “Fit” looking people can be unhealthy too. It is not uncommon for bodybuilders to die of heart attacks or even struggle with bulimia.
The body positivity movement is about accepting yourself as you are, because only when you can love yourself in your current state can you be motivated to make choices that are better for your health so that you can exist longer. Someone who does not like themselves is not concerned about prolonging a miserable life.
My mother told me my entire life I was beautiful, but yet I grew up feeling ugly. It was not her words or the words of strangers that molded my image of myself, it was the words I repeated to myself internally time and time again. It was only when I was able to see my own beauty that I felt beautiful. My experience has shown me that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you, it’s only when you can think better of yourself that you can make positive changes in your life.
What I want to say to these fitspos and trainers so concerned with the rate of obesity in our society is to focus on promoting good health habits rather than calling out people who do not physically appeal to you. If you are so offended by someone else loving themselves I have to wonder what the heck is happening in your life to make you so miserable that you would feel the need to project that unto others? Figure yourself out, and deal with the insecurities you feed, before turning a finger and projecting that hatred unto a stranger. That is not health or fitness.