One Mom in the Middle…
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Body positive?

Published 10.13.2016
Can you be "body positive" and still want to lose weight? Some say no. I call nonsense, and I'm not alone. I will say that I am body positive if I'm attempting to lose weight, no matter what anyone else thinks. Losing weight was part of my effort during and after menopause to become a healthier, happier me. I've written a number of times how I changed my diet and daily movement, so I won't go through it again here, readers can check the archive if they are interested.

Body positive does not mean you have the attitude that, "you do you" and "I'll do me." Watching this video made me think again, "How exhausting it must be to live this way." The following is a quote from the video:

Do not look me in the eye, tell me you are on Weight Watchers and then tell me that you are body positive


She welcome to that opinion and has every right to state and promote it. However, people try to change their habits for lots of reasons and in lots of ways. If Weight Watchers is one person's way of doing it and they are happy with that, then why can't they be body positive? Bodies change all the time. What if someone is gaining weight to change their body? Is that body positive? Is only choosing to decrease your body size that is "self-harming."

This makes no sense.

Per her video apparently you're supposed to think critically… but limit your speech in numerous ways? Well, except for calling out those who won't follow your rules. Hmm… I think I can tell her why her "body pos" movement is "stagnating."

There was a lot of backlash to the video, and the woman was asked to explain herself a bit more. Most of her explanation boils down to "Diet culture" is harmful to people (mostly women, but it applies to men as well). I don't defend fad dieting or any particular way of eating, it comes down to the energy balance and adherence. I share what works for me, but I accept that there are other ways to accomplish this— if that's your goal. I accept that some have no interest in losing weight. Both can be "body positive" if the person making the decision is happy.

Reality check

Shaunta Grimes was one of the writers (same links as above) who contributed to Fierce Free Thinking Fatties, which is now defunct. She was one of my favorite authors from the site, and I've been reading her writing whenever I come across it. Grimes is a supporter of health at every size (HAES)— though that community no longer see her as part of it because she chose to have bariatric surgery to lose weight and regain her health and mobility. Indeed, the linked article is about how choosing to have the surgery was, for her, a body positive decision.

The woman was in pain and unable to sleep at night due to weight induced sleep apnea— that is how Grimes described her sleep disturbance, a result of the excess weight. When she started losing weight, she stopped needing to sleep without a C-PAP machine. Her body, her decision, and her life is better for it.

As noted above, I've read a lot of Shaunta Grimes writings about her health journey, but I'm choosing not to link to them here because they were written principally for the HAES crowd. Although not detailed in the article linked, in other writings, Grimes has noted that she made the decision to have the surgery, in part, because she felt her youngest daughter's life was passing before her eyes too quickly and that's why she wanted a quicker way to lose weight.

Prior to choosing bariatric surgery, she did try to lose weight by changing her habits, but couldn't stick to it. After the surgery, once of the most interesting observations she made was that the experience forced her to realize just how much she'd been eating. And she really was surprised by the fact.

Saying that fat people eat more than they think they do (I wish I had a dollar for every overweight/obese person who claimed they eat only 1200 calories each day) is very often denounced as shaming or invoking the sin of gluttony. But every time it's studied, the same fact emerges. People eat more than they think they do. The corollary is that they expend less doing exercise than they think they do. The combination of those two facts (and they are facts) is all you need to explain the obesity epidemic.

People eat too much and move too little, thus they get fat. It really is that simple almost all of the time.*

*I realize that there are rare exceptions (related to medications or disease) to this rule.
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