Body

Fitspo/diet culture versus body positivity

This is definitely going to be my most controversial post to date and I am not going to lie I am shit scared, not because I don’t believe in what I am about to say but because I don’t want to offend anyone with what I am saying and because you know, trolls.

So before you read this I ask that you go easy on me because I am just a woman who has found her passion and is trying to learn everything there is to it. This post is by no means an attempt to shame anyone but rather to get a conversation going.

I would also like to put a trigger warning on this. If you have or do suffer with eating disorders then you might want to skip this post. I don’t go into too much detail but this post discusses weight loss.

I have noticed lately, although I am sure it’s nothing new, that many fitness and diet bloggers/influencers are starting to include body positivity in the mix.

Now where I want the conversation to start is here, because I am not quite sure if it’s because they’ve lost weight or gotten fit enough to the point that they now feel comfortable in their bodies or if it’s because body positivity is appealing to a lot more people so they want to go with the flow or get on the bandwagon.

I have spoken about my views on others wanting to lose weight previously and what I said was something along the lines of this – your journey with your body is personal so if you want to lose weight it is your choice and you shouldn’t be shamed for that and you also shouldn’t have to justify it and I still agree with this however it is a complex subject and I have since been educated by a few ladies who have a strong point of view on this topic and who I respect such as Megan Kelly and Courtney Morgan and I have personally been triggered by weight loss promotion so I have a bit more to say about it now.

I will admit that I was quite against other body advocates shaming others for dieting because again, I don’t believe in shaming ANYONE but the thing is that they weren’t shaming the actual “dieter” they were shaming diet culture. And I hate diet culture too.

As said by Glenys (A health at every size dietician) “Diet and weight loss culture is rooted in the belief that fat bodies, bodies that do not conform to the very narrow beauty standards are wrong, unattractive and/or unhealthy. Diet and weight loss culture simply does not respect the broad diversity of body weights and sizes that exist”.

So I ask, can you promote fitspo/diet AND body positivity?

Can you say that you are body positive while promoting a protein shake and other substances of that nature?

Can you post a picture on your Instagram feed today of your body and say that you genuinely love it but then post a picture of your “lose weight now, ask me how” tablets?

My opinion is no. If you are choosing to be an advocate then you need to really believe in your message and can you really say you love your body completely while trying to change it? I understand that for some weight loss is part of their body positivity journey but when you are still trying to change something can you say you love it? And body positivity is about loving your body.

Let’s look at it in a different context, if you were redecorating your house. You will probably love the progress, you will love seeing the changes but ultimately you are waiting for it to be finished and then you will be 100% happy. It’s the same with a weight loss journey, you are waiting for an after picture while body positives are promoting their present picture as the one they are 100% happy with.

The biggest issue for me is the promotion of diet culture which is a trigger to so many and is also not the ideal message to be sending to our younger generation.

Being healthy and wanting a thigh gap are two completely different things. Eating the right, nutritional food versus drinking magical tablets every morning are worlds apart. Weight loss and body positivity are two completely separate societal issues (even though most people lose weight to become body positive) and I don’t think the two should become one if you are promoting diet culture.

As someone who has taken drastic measures to lose weight to fit into societies standards I know firsthand what a slippery slope diets can be. And I will never ever feed off of or buy into that culture again. I also don’t want anyone to ever feel like the answer to loving yourself is in weight loss.

Again, I need to add that my issue is not what anyone is choosing to do with their body, the issue is what is being promoted.

I know that we are all a bit lost in this crazy world and I know that our bodies are such a big part of our struggles so we’re all just trying and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that but we have to be careful of the traps we fall into and we have to know that the answer is not in magical pills, it’s not even necessarily in weight loss.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this?

 

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About Kerry Heathfield-Sharper

I speak my truth. 🙌Body positivity ❤️Self love 👗Budget plus size fashion 🎬 Real life 💼 Fashion Merchandiser 9-5. Wannabe helper of women 2
View all posts by Kerry Heathfield-Sharper →

8 thoughts on “Fitspo/diet culture versus body positivity

  1. I love this post Kerry! I grew up in a family full of women who competed with each other based on weight, and was even told early on in life which diet pills were best for me to take. It’s a scary thought that this is common practice amongst women, being constantly told by older women, our very role models, that pills are the way to a healthy and happy body. So glad that you’re inspiring a different conversation to dispel this poisonous culture.

    1. I am so, so glad you enjoyed it! That is such a toxic environment and unfortunately it is quite a norm 🙁
      It is almost impossible to take on a whole industry such as the diet industry BUT what we can do is keep bringing up these conversations and educating ourselves and others as much as possible.
      And this post was referring to exactly what you have said – role models (influencers/bloggers) are using their status or platforms to sell products that are not good for us but then also acting like they are body positive. It just irks me.

  2. Enjoyed your post Kerry! I think for me it’s been a combined journey of being celebrating and loving My body, and also learning about the types of foods that help my body to feel “better”- I used to struggle a lot with eating foods that left bloated, lethargic etc. so eating healthy and learning to love my body has been a journey… not sure if this makes sense.. but for me I had to learn how to nourish my body and also show that love by eating properly.. I really don’t know where I’m going with this train of thought, but enjoyed this article, thanks ❤️❤️

    1. I totally know where you were going with this. I am so glad that you have found your happy medium. The whole body positive thing is SUCH a journey but there is such a freedom that comes with it which is so worth all the work we put in to get to a place where we are happy.
      Of course, we all have our days and that’s totally okay.

  3. Love it. Thanks for quoting me! I don’t try to convince others not to diet but people should know there’s an alternative to the “health from the outside in” of weight focused dieting. Eating well, enjoyable movement, and general self-care ARE health-supporting behaviors; and pursuing weight loss has not been shown to provide a sustainable benefit for most people. Thanks for the lovely post!

    1. Wow – thank you so much for reading. I believe in what you do because the answer is not always in weight loss which is exactly why I have an issue with someone promoting both weight loss and body positivity because the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand but vulnerable women will think they do when someone on a large platform says they finally found happiness in themselves after dieting.

  4. The relationship we have with our bodies is a long and complicated one. We are taught from a very young age to be critical on ourselves and often it’s a “flaw” others don’t even see or notice. I enjoyed this post! I also wondered about all the fitspo models/celebs posting about body positivity but then promoting some magic pill to help you lose weight.

    1. Thanks for reading Carina. Exactly, it’s a complicated AND confusing one so we don’t need all the noise of unhealthy habits when we are so vulnerable already.

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