By far one of the most ridiculous things I hear is that we have to “strike a balance” between body acceptance and health. The logic-defying idea here being that if you allow yourself to completely like your body you won’t hate it enough to make healthy choices. That idea is precisely as ludicrous as it sounds. Of course when people are talking about “health” in this context they actually mean thinness. So what they are saying is that if you allow yourself to completely like your body, you won’t hate it enough to try dieting again and again when, like almost everyone, you fail repeatedly at long term weight loss. Or perhaps they think that in the multi-dimensionalityo f health self-hatred is a positive force. In this as in so many other things I think that scales are a bad idea.This “strike a balance” idea is just diet industry manipulation for profit – it’s a way to give lip service to the myriad health professionals and experts who assert that positive body image is crucial to making decisions about our health from a good mental state, while allowing them to keep insisting that we need to buy their product so that we can change our bodies enough that we stop hating them. This idea then gets repeated by people who either didn’t think it through or who actually believe that the key to health is juuuust enough self-hate.
I have consciously opted out of this system. I do not think that hating myself does any good at all – and trust me when I tell you that I gave it the old college try. Hating myself never inspired me to take care of my body and never led to a single positive outcome. In fact, I got so caught up in hating my body for how it looked that I forgot to have even a second’s appreciation for what it does and that was no way for me to live. Like everyone’s experience mine is just for me – it can’t be extrapolated to anybody else so I’m neither trying to tell you what to do or trying to tell you that your experience will be the same as mine. I’m just trying to give an option.
Right now your body is probably breathing and blinking and beating your heart and a million other things without you even asking because your body is just cool like that. And as a way of saying thank you for that you can say “Screw striking a balance” and fully appreciate the body you have now – total, 100% body acceptance. Not because your body is “perfect” (as if there is such a thing) but because it’s your body, the only one you have. You can choose your own health priorities and your own path to get there and you can do it all while loving your body. Health is never fully within our contorl and no amount of healthy habits guarantee health for anyone of any size, but for me everything in my life is better when I work from a platform of loving and appreciating my body. My body does millions of things for me everyday and it deserves nothing less than my love, respect, and full throated support and anything less than that is out of balance.
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I do size acceptance activism full time. A lot what I do, like answering over 5,000 e-mails from readers each month, giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and/or want to support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.
The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is always completely free. If you’re curious or uncomfortable about any of this, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen