Is the body-image movement going too far? Are we ALL really as beautiful as the media is telling us we are?
Hi, I’m Jenn. I’m in my early 30’s, I have a loving husband, two kids… and I’m a fatty. Yep, I can say that because it’s my body and I can name it whatever I want. I choose fatty-fat-fat but fatty for short is fine. It kind of has a nice ring to it, no? I don’t have a skewed body image. I don’t need to embrace my “beauty” and learn to love myself the way I am. Because this is not the way I was meant to look. This is not genetics. This is not post-baby body. THIS, (picture me standing in front of you doing the motions up and down the sides of my body) is pure, 100% lazy.
I’m all for the women’s body image movement. I think the Dove campaigns and all the other “love your body” articles, commercials and advertisements are a positive message. I think teaching our daughters these values is also great… to a point! While I want to teach my daughter that people come in all shapes and sizes, I do NOT want to teach her that what I have let my body become is okay.
Because it’s not.
We can call ourselves “big and beautiful” all we want, but if we are not healthy then we are not doing ourselves any favours. I’m not saying we need to look as thin as those two moms who recently posted their awesome post-baby pictures. I am also not saying that everyone who is bigger than me is “fat” or “unhealthy”. I know women who are much bigger than me who eat better, exercise more and are much healthier & happier in their bodies than I am. I also know what healthy looks and feels like on me and I’m not even close.
There is a point we reach when we surpass all the other factors. Sure, maybe it’s genetics or “big bones” or a medical condition, and for some this can make it impossible… but the reality is that for the rest of us, those issues doesn’t account for 100% of our health and size.
I am proof that for some, it is absolutely sheer laziness. We can hide behind excuses but in reality, if we are not healthy, it’s up to us to change that. You have the right to choose not to, I’m not here to tell you what to do. However, telling our daughters that this is okay is NOT a positive message.
Body image works both ways. Not only do you have to learn to love what we were given, we also need to learn how to take care of it.
I know that losing weight takes work. It takes commitments and promises to ourselves. It takes will-power and an acceptance that there is no “miracle” cure or pill. It takes setting time aside from everything else to make health a priority.
A few years ago, I managed to lose my post-baby weight (through good ‘ol diet & exercise) and I was back to a size that made me really feel good about myself and was within a healthy range. I had more energy, I was eating really well and my doctor was very happy with what I did. It wasn’t what you would call “skinny” and I still wouldn’t have been caught in a bikini – not even close. However, I was healthy, curvy and what my natural body type expected of me based on an average amount of effort.
Then something happened. I know exactly when it started. I could blame stress or poor time management or injuries but really, it was a mix of that and well, just being lazy.
I simply stopped actively taking care of myself.
I’ve been gaining lb after lb and now, 2 years later, I find myself at the heaviest I have ever been. Ever. Heavier than I was even during my pregnancies.
I have no one to blame but myself.
I went through a sort of denial. I actually eat fairly healthy, balanced meals. This is true and I hid behind that. I buy organic, shop the outer-rim of the store and I spend a lot of time looking at the products I feed my family. What I was in denial about is my own snacking and absolute lack of any consistent exercise.
The fat hanging off my belly, my thighs, my back, my neck, my arms… the water weight I retain in my fingers and ankles – all my fault.
The straw that broke the camels back and gave me the motivation to write this – when my 5 year old daughter asked me when the baby in my tummy was coming out.
No, I’m not pregnant.
That’s when I realized, she notices my size. She sees the growing bulge that I’ve been trying to hide behind baggy t-shirts, sweaters and uncomfortable fat-sucking-in undergarments. I am not a healthy size. I am not taking care of myself. I am setting a bad example for her.
I can be a hypocrite no longer. It’s time for me to fess up, get off the couch and throw out the chips. I want to look in the mirror and see ME again. It will be tough but I know that I have to want it.
So here I am. Today. It’s not pretty. I am NOT healthy. I am not active. I am not eating right. I am ashamed. While I may joke about my “fatty-fat-fat” name for myself right now (yes, I realize I am not really that funny), one thing is absolutely clear: I do not want my daughter to grow up thinking that THIS (again with the hands) is okay.
xo – J
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