Often a dirty word, connected with “promoting an unhealthy body image”.
Is this really what it means? Quite a superficial statement in my opinion.
When I think about body positivity and especially about my own relationship with my body, I can only see how much I hated it for almost my entire life. According to this standard, I’m too heavy. Look at my legs, they are way too big, I can’t fit into that shirt because of my gigantic boobs.
But was that actually true? Was I really too big?
I cycled to and from school every day, which took me between 45 to 60 minutes each trip. I trained for waterpolo twice a week which was often 1.5 hours per training and in the weekends I still had the match I needed to survive, and trust me, surviving was the right word when it came to the ladies I sometimes had to face. So according to the standard, I was active enough.
I didn’t have any control over the food I ate, but because my dad and I both had the gene for familial hypercholesterolaemia we were actually actively looking out for the types fats that entered our bodies. No chocolate, no butter, no crisps, no fried foods. At that time I was really taking it all seriously. Still, though, I was 10 kilos too heavy before I could be considered “a healthy weight” and I still hated myself for that, because no matter what I did I would always be unhealthy. I would always be scared that I would break someone’s back if they tried to pick me up and someone close to me even joked once that the guy that did pick me up was lifting twice his weight, which was impressive. I don’t think they realized how much a comment like that hurt me at that time. This was also around the time that I just started to give up on my diet, on my waterpolo, on my cycling, I mean… it didn’t matter anyways, right? I was doing everything I could and I still was overweight and I hated myself for that.
But the thing is: it was all superficial. I was always focused on the superficial stuff. My legs are too big, but I forgot that they made it possible for me to cycle to school and walk to the different classes I had. My shoulders were too broad and my arms too heavy, but they did make it possible that I could lift things more easily and with relative less effort. My boobs were too big, but one day they might feed my maybe future children. Heck I even have a brain that knows how to keep everything going smoothly. How rad is that?
I was always so focused on the way it looked that I forgot that it also has a function. My body does it’s job and I can be grateful for that. In my opinion that is what body positivity is about. Being grateful for the body you have and taking care of it when it’s not functioning the way it should be. Would it be healthy for me right now to lose some kilos and work out again? Yes, 100%. But it’s not because my body would look more beautiful, it’s because it would make my body function better. It would make it easier for my legs to get me from point a to point b and it would make it easier to lift things because I don’t have to lift the kilos that I carry myself as well. But it’s because of love for my body that I want to do that now, not because I think that I don’t look perfect.