Love Yourself As You Are – the Super Secret Blog Project

Reader Hedda sent me this video (Warning:  triggering in every possible way).  It seems that the theme for The Biggest Loser Australia is “Love Yourself”. Of course, they mean love yourself after/because you lose weight.  I found the video and its message absolutely sickening – I had to do something.  I decided to recreate the Biggest Loser video but instead of “love yourself after you lose weight” the theme would be “love yourself as you are”.  I put the word out on Facebook that I had a super secret blog project and the responses started pouring in.

Below is the result.  My undying gratitude to Patricia Washburn (who also set up my hatemail page) who took all the stuff I sent her and created an amazing video,  Darci Monet who let me not only use her beautiful song, but cut it up and rework it to accompany the video, and to everyone who participated.

No matter what you want to do with your body, there is just no reason that you can’t love and appreciate it, as it is, in every moment.  Your body will change over time and if you base your ability to love your body, love someone else, or be loved on achieving and maintaining a specific weight, then what happens when time changes the superficial? You are the only person who is in charge of how you feel about yourself, and you can choose to love yourself as you are.

This blog is supported by its readers rather than corporate ads.  If you feel that you get value out of the blog, can afford it, and want to support my work and activism, please consider a paid subscription or a one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free.   Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on January 10, 2012 at 9:50 am  Comments (78)  

78 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m in Australia (Sydney) and I’m glad you’re focusing on this ad. Every time it comes on TV I get so angry. And it’s on a LOT too. To top it off, earlier this evening when it came on TV, I changed the channel and got ANOTHER ad that’s been running on another TV channel for the last couple of weeks *see here: http://www.popsugar.com.au/Video-Preview-Channel-Nines-2012-Weight-Loss-Show-Excess-Baggage-20841986). TV here at the moment is practically saturated with these ads over the last few weeks. There’s a whole series of (some very lengthy) ads for the second show (Excess Baggage) and believe me some of them are about as bad as the Biggest Losers ads.

    • I’m glad I don’t watch TV. We were over at my parents place at Christmas and were watching TV. The ad came on and I walked out of the room. I didn’t know it was an ad for biggest loser, I just knew it was going to be an ad I didn’t want to see.

      • And I hate that Ajay Rochester is on that Excess Baggage show. If anyone knows about the cycle of weight it should be her.

    • Sydneyite here too and I know EXACTLY what you mean, both those adds make me completely furious!

  2. Ok, why is it raining on my face?

    • That happened to me when I saw the final version (and I had already seen all of the parts). Someone should alert the weather channel!

      ~Ragen

    • After viewing, it rained here, too!

      I’ve read some pretty horrendous reports about TBL (that they use laxatives and deny contestants water in order to get weights down, that they are incredibly abusive to contestants, that they force people to exercise with severe injuries and on and on and on) and a couple years ago made the commitment NEVER to support that show by watching or by buying anything endorsed by the show or its “trainers.”

      Thanks so much Regan, this totally made my day!

    • Glad I wasn’t the only one!

  3. I am so freakin’ honored to be a part of this and to have my music used in such a positive way. Praisaluiah! Can’t wait to splash this all over my social networks tomorrow. :-)

  4. (P.S. I held it together till Miriam and her sign language…then it was all over lol).

    • Darci – what an amazingly sweet thing to say, thank you.

      • I agree-It was about that point that I lost it too. This was sooo well done y’ll. Thank you for doing this.

    • thats my name:) sorry I just had to tell you that :P

  5. Beautiful :-)

  6. This was beautiful. I am working towards that. Thank-you ladies.

  7. Amazing!!!!!

  8. Great response, I too, get angry when I see it because of the message that fat people don’t deserve love. They won’t be getting my viewing of that show, and everytime the advert comes on, I switch channels. Stuff them.

  9. Oh, that turned out AWESOME! I’m so glad I could be a part of it! Going to go share the crap out of it now! :D

  10. I adore it…just wish i could have been a part of it too! Everyone needs to see that!

  11. I am so very thrilled that we figured out how I could be involved in this project. This video is truly awesome!

    • I had some interesting experiences today relating to having posted this video to my own own facebook – the most interesting reaction I got was from a woman I would call a very dear friend – she was angry that her overweight friends make her feel despised because she is thin, and spoke about how there seems to be a movement to tell curvy girls that they are perfect as they are – but no one ever makes a big deal about telling a girl who is a size 6 that she’s perfect.

      It made me very sad (and frustrated) that no amount of talking to her about how things like this video are trying to tell EVERYONE regardless of how tall, short, fat or thin they are that they are worthy of love and respect just the way they are.

      • I understand that. As a woman, who happens to be fat, I get totally frustrated with so much emphasis overall being placed on how we are supposed to be. It’s now spreading to little boys. We all need to just learn to accept each other as we are. I work with a woman who most would find gorgeous, plus she is smart and very kind. She has everything. But, she obsesses over what might be an extra 30 pounds. I tell her my body acceptance thoughts over and over, but and she can only say that she wishes she could be more like me. What a waste of her thoughts, energy and efforts with the constant diets.

      • …but no one ever makes a big deal about telling a girl who is a size 6 that she’s perfect.

        Wait, what? Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but I don’t get your friend’s thinking. Our society praises and rewards thinness every single day in myriad ways. There doesn’t need to be a special campaign to tell thin people they are perfect as they are – life as we know it is that campaign!* By contrast, we rarely see positive depictions of fat people, and more to the point, fat people are relentlessly shamed and denigrated. There needs to be a targeted push-back against that. I think it’s great that this video is meant to speak to everyone, but I also cannot imagine why anyone would have a problem with it being more specific in its message. As a thin person, I can get validation for my body type in a million other ways. A movement just for the curvy girls is but a small step towards trying to level a very uneven playing field.

        *I understand thin people can be on the receiving end of negative comments about their bodies. I have gotten a fair share of “eat a sammich” type comments, and that’s wrong. But even acknowledging that, I have a zillion other sources of positive validation for my body type that more than balance out those rare negative comments. That matters.

      • I was that size six woman. I refused to diet. I found it useless. Still, I thought myself unworthy, not able to be loved. I thought this because people used ‘fat’ as an insult. I was called fat by family, friends, etc. It didn’t matter if technically I wasn’t fat. I felt ashamed of my body. I wore dumpy clothes, I had no self-respect. I couldn’t find a job. I didn’t believe that any boy wanted to date me. I truly thought that men that approach me were mocking me. They didn’t want to date the fat girl, only laugh at her. It took time to learn that I was wrong.

  12. You are so right when you describe how one’s body changes over time. It happens to all of us! As much as we might think we can control it, we can’t! Unfortunately, I think too many of us (and I’m including myself in this group) grew up believing that our worthiness, especially worthiness of love, was mostly based on our appearance and specifically, our ability to conform to whatever the prevailing standard of beauty might be. Please continue to do the great job you’re doing to change this!

  13. My jaw dropped watching the original ad; appalling.

    Your video brought a lump to my throat; thank you so much for a dose of calm, happy, confident, beautiful women to start my day.

  14. That. Was. Beautiful.

  15. Do shows like the biggest loser only pick people who over eat and under exercise – if not do they do a proper medical and psychological evaluation of all contestants and deal with any underlying conditions or issues?

    I’m wondering what the real cost to the health (physical and mental) of the participants is.

  16. I hate that ad SO MUCH. Even more so when I realised they were using John Lennon’s “Real Love” as a back drop of their hate and fat shaming.

    But your video, gah, I started blubbing not even half way through. Thank you to you and all the wonderful, confident, lovely ladies who participated in making this.

  17. Great stuff — great, great stuff!!

  18. perfectly beautiful. thank you for your courage and creativity!

  19. I absolutely love your video! You and all of the other ladies in the video inspire me! The Biggest Loser video was a dumpster full of awfulness! It reminded me about a conversation I had with a friend the other day where I stated that fat people don’t owe it to him or anyone to lose weight. His response was “No they don’t owe it to me, they owe it to themselves.” *Facepalm* That’s what pisses me off about that conversation and that video. “Don’t you owe it to yourself to make lose weight and (probably not) keep it off so that you can be acceptable to others? Barf.

  20. Love the video, I’m confidence, healthy and loved I don’t need to change. Love my self and own it. Xoxo
    Dary-Lee Lander
    Curvilicious Fashionista

  21. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, you brilliant, generous beautiful people, for this video and this message and for allowing me to participate!

  22. That first girl in the promo, who’s never kissed a boy? She’s adorable. Her weight is not the problem, but her perception of her weight IS.

    I somewhat agree with the last woman that not being able to look at one’s self in the mirror hampers one’s ability to be in a loving, fulfilling relationship. But, again, the problem is not being fat–this is just what these (and so many other) people are focusing on, and allowing to undermine their confidence and define their self-worth. It makes me sad that so many people feel this way, and angry that this feeling is being exploited, but I don’t see it as being told we need to be thin to find love.

    I really enjoyed your video response, though, and I admit I teared up a little. I am fat, confident, and loved–more so now than when I starved myself and weighed ninety pounds less. There’s no point in putting one’s life on hold for weight loss. It’s just an excuse to avoid living.

    • That’s just what I think too, that younger girl is so pretty! And the older woman looks fine too. This isn’t the first TBL ad like this either. I remember several years ago when TBL first started up here in Australia there was one male contestant who appeared in the ads saying that he wanted to be the best dad he could be to his kids – by losing weight. It made me just as angry as this ad does now.

  23. aww, love it!

  24. This is absolutely awesome!! Thanks so much for making this video. I wish everyone would watch it because the fat hatred needs to stop! Just fantastic!

  25. Thanks for taking on this project. It’s a message I hope to share with quite a few lovely people who need to hear it.

  26. That was a beautiful video, ladies! I have the same frame of mind when it comes to people who resort to getting cosmetic surgery to enhance or change their looks. I share my story about how I became confident even though I am not 5’10 with big boobs. I think women don’t have to change to feel good about themselves, but I respect the ones who understand that and still feel like it is their way of becoming happier. There will always be people who think, “If you don’t like something, change it” and I would be no one to say that way of thinking is wrong, but I am always appreciative of people who realize they don’t *have* to change to become happy. They can be happy as they are.

    • so true about the cosmetic surgery – its so rampant these days, could you imagine the causes that could be furthered if money went to charity instead of dieting and plastic surgery?

    • Being 5’10″ doesn’t come with guaranteed happiness either; in the real world (e.g. not in front of a professional camera) I am a lot taller than those around me. My height/body is commented on by friends & strangers regularly, and many of the comments are not helpful or confidence building.

      It took YEARS to get comfortable at my height (after years of being made to feel huge, conspicuous & unfeminine), and body-loving blogs like this one helped a lot.

  27. Wow ladies! Bravo! I was debating whether to watch the original ad but then I realized I’ve probably seem it and its kind many many times… and I didn’t want to see John Lennon’s music used in that way! So, I skipped straight to your version and just, thank you. I needed that. I am having issues with my hubby about my diabetes, weight, health and pregnancy today and I was wondering if standing up for myself was worth the tension that results. IT IS. I am a worthwhile person, worthy of love and I don’t have to let shaming comments or “jokes” pass by to keep the peace. that is not real peace! Okay, off to share! :)
    Allison

    • HUGS allison – there is a special place in my hearts for plus size moms to be!

  28. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting this together! I was all blubbery by the end. Everyone who participated, I just want to say, “YOU ALL ARE FREAKING AMAZING!”

  29. You inspired me to leave a message on the original video on YouTube that I’m so glad I have a bf who loves me the way I am rather than desperately trying to change myself to please someone who wasn’t right for me.

  30. I am in tears over this. How beautiful you all are. I give each one of you a standing ovation, and an extra one for Ragen for putting it all together. You – WE – are beautiful, strong, loveable, and worthy JUST AS WE ARE. Thank you.

  31. BEAUTIFUL! Brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for this.

  32. I am good enough just as I am! So lovely to see women recognizing this.

  33. I was so proud to be part of this. I want to shout the message over and over that you don’t have to be “less” in order to be “more” .

    I will carry on saying that over and over – f*** the diets, there’s no need to try to “improve” anything. We are all different shapes and sizes and I like the world like that. It’s beautiful as it naturally is.

  34. Wonderful message. I work for a major supermarket here in the UK. They have an online diet service which people can subscribe to. They are advertising it in the staff canteen with the headline “Lose weight, love life.”

    I have emailed them to tell them that you don’t need to lose weight to love your life and that weight loss does not equal a perfect life.

  35. My husband and I both lost it at the end. Such a great video and I am so happy to have been able to be a part of it! I had no idea how to respond (other than outright rage) when I first saw this ad and Ragen, you did it better than I ever could. Thank you :)

  36. This makes me want to upload my own “I am confident, loved, and DARN CUTE” video!

    (now where’s that darn camera)

  37. I am in a very dark place today. Such a beautiful video. Just what I needed to see. Thank you Ragen. Thank you, all of you, for making it. It gives me hope.

  38. A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!! Please keep making these counter culture videos! I love the chance to actually fight back by turning the tables on these insulting ads. Much better than just screaming at the tv. May this video go viral! The only way it could possibly have been any better would be if there were a greater range of sizes shown(more skinny people) and more men. But I loved it.

  39. Oh. My. GOD! I don’t know if this is really germane to the “Love Yourself” discussion, but I had to share this somewhere. Actually, if anyone is a member of a HAES or Size Acceptance forum, please reply to this so I can head on over and sign up.

    I sometimes post stuff that I’m cooking on my facebook status. I’m a kitchen witch and throw things together well. Today I posted what I was cooking and I got the usual “That’s Yummy!” responses.

    Then I got a response from a friend who is a self-described gym rat. “That’ll make you spend extra time at the gym!”

    Say what, now?

    I don’t know if this is his way of saying “that sounds really good, therefore it must be bad and you must work out extra hard to atone for eating something delicious and obviously ‘fattening’.”

    Or what but, really dude?

    For the record it was boneless/skinless chicken thighs wrapped in black forest ham and braised in vermouth with herbs. Hardly “fattening” and so what if it was.

    Really dude?

    This is someone’s dinner you’re attaching all that guilt and food shame to. And, ostensibly, someone’s body.

    • Ugh! I would either let it go or say “I exercise to make myself feel good, not because I feel bad about what I eat :)”

      • I said, “Nah, I’ll be too busy sitting on the couch rubbing my contented belly.”

    • loved your response (wont let me leave a comment below)

  40. Not only is the video absolutely beautiful (and needed!), I love how it’s a PROACTIVE and POSITIVE MESSAGE to counter all the negative messages out there. It’s nice to see that you took the initiative to DO something (instead of just screaming at the TV/producers), and it came out great! More of things like this by as many people as possible please! :)

  41. That was soooo very awesome! I loved it and wish I could have participated. What an amazing and awesome collaboration. Thanks for putting this very important message out into the world! I have already shared and shared.

  42. That was awesome!!!! Also loved the resources listed at the end. Everyone looked and sounded great!!

    ~ManDee
    http://www.chubbygirlcomics.com

  43. One of my Facebook friends posted this link, and I LOVE IT! I had some “bangin” curves, but had to lose weight due to high blood pressure. I miss my fabulous curves, they looked beautiful, and I felt SEXY. Some of the most amazing, self confident, funny, beautiful, and well loved women I know are NOT Cosmo twigs, but are real women with curves. Don’t hide, flaunt your figure with pride! :)

    • Hi Diana,

      Thanks for your comment. I understand where you’re going with this but I do have to speak up against using body snarking against thin women. I’m against doing to someone else the exact thing I don’t want done to me. Thin women don’t like to be called twigs, or told that they aren’t “real”. Women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful.

      ~Ragen

  44. I’m a guy with a round-figured wife, and I’d just like to say:

    Chubby can be good. Chubby can be good…

  45. This is absolutely beautiful.

  46. Thanks for letting me have a small part in this video, I’m in fabulous company!

  47. Thanks for putting this together guys. Its beautiful and I love it! (especially Hedda’s contribution – that’s where I nearly lost it!)

  48. That was great! Much more uplifting than having to see those ads that are constantly on TV here in Australia! Effectively the ads are giving the message that people will be more lovable, confident etc once they’ve lost weight. Such a detrimental message!

  49. I’m in Australia, and I’m not watching any channel with The Biggest Loser or Excess Baggage, because I saw the ads once, and that was enough.

    One of my happiest moments in life was thanks to The Biggest Loser, though. I ran the 2009 Gold Coast Marathon, and as all finishers do, I got a tasteful shirt with MARATHON FINISHER written on it. I returned in 2010 to run the half marathon (I was training for a trail marathon later that month), and wore the shirt to the running expo. I ended up buying sports gels at the same time as Michelle Bridges (Australia’s Gillian). So, there I was, fat, happy and preparing for my next race, wearing my MARATHON FINISHER shirt next to a trainer for The Biggest Loser. (I don’t think she knew where to look. I grinned at her a lot.)

    I love your video. Thank you.

  50. I just discovered yesterday that my gym, Planet Fitness, promotes The Biggest Loser. At the gym! Stickers and window clings everywhere! I’m going to write to their corporate office. Planet Fitness’ mission statement is basically “YOU BELONG”, but they’re marginalizing a large number of their clients by promoting a show whose very premise is “you’re a loser until you lose weight.”

    • I commented on their facebook page about how sad that alliance makes me

      • Awesome! I was up till 5 am working and I’m running on two hours of sleep… maybe when my head isn’t so foggy I’ll start that letter!

  51. I just wanted to thank you for this. I really needed it today; all the constant dieting everywhere around me this January has really been getting to me. I know it doesn’t work and yet when it’s everywhere, it’s so very hard not to think, “Well, maybe this time…” And even harder not to feel guilty for eating normally when everyone else is dieting. So thanks! You are an inspiration and I really appreciate all that you do.

  52. I am in tears. How I wish someone had shown me this years ago! But I am so very grateful it is out there now, and the next generation of young women have an even better chance of growing with a healthy and sane attitude towards themselves. Thank you, all of you, for making this happen.

  53. Thanks for making this. I am big and beautiful and loved. When a child at my work tells me I am big, I say out loud, “Yes I am and that is the way I am made.” We are all great just the way we are!
    Just from a child’s mouth, “If you lose to much then there will not be enough to cuttle with!”

  54. I work in the fitness field and The Biggest Loser absolutely sickens me from a professional standpoint. The verbal beat downs and screaming would get a normal trainer at any gym terminated immediately. You should love yourself as you are and love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle REGARDLESS of how you look.

  55. What a beautiful video; made me cry a bit. Wish we never forgot.:We are enought now! Just as simple as that.

    Completely inspiring. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.


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