I've talked a little bit in previous blog posts about fat shaming and skinny shaming but I wanted to go deeper into it.
I love body positivity and I love the fundamental message to love who you are for you.
It's such a simple thing but so difficult to apply. So I love to see things on social media about how we should embrace ourselves, flaws included, and I mean that.
It can be so difficult to love yourself for so many reasons. Most of which being that we don't look our best 100% of the time. Be it because of hormonal changes due to time of the month causing breakouts, pale skin, dark circles, bloating and just feeling a bit "meh" about yourself in general. Or pregnancy, swollen ankles, stretch marks, gaining weight. Sciatica, varicose veins etc. Or sometimes it's due to feeling off our game, over working, not allowing enough time to properly take care of yourself due to juggling so much.
It could be to do with poor mental health, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc.
Sometimes it is so refreshing to be reminded that we are worthy, more than adequate and deserving of love, and respect.
That said, I feel like there are extremes to everything in life.
In this body positivity movement there are essentially the "Skinny Shamers" and the "Fat Shamers".
I find both sides extremely depressing and draining.
What both sides have in common is that neither are healthy in the long term.
Sure most people will lose and gain weight in a lifetime. But to continue to stay in one state or the other will have an impact on your health and well being in the future.
A lot of people will say that "Just because someone is larger doesn't mean that they aren't healthy. Doesn't necessarily mean that they will have diabetes, hypertension etc. Don't judge a book by it's cover." Which is fair, to a point. People who are overweight aren't necessarily going to automatically have heart disease. But being overweight is a contributing factor for developing it. That's the thing. These conditions don't just appear over night. They accumulate. Your body compensates. It isn't healthy in the long run. There are plenty of studies that provide evidence that being overweight increases your risk of developing co-morbidities such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. It isn't fat shaming when your doctor says that your blood pressure is higher than the average person and that to try and combat this it would be best to attempt to lose some weight, then with your consent refer you to a dietician. That is helpful. What would be considered fat shaming would be if you attended your GP and they said in a less than tactful way "You need to lose weight, you'll get a heart attack at this rate". I've seen people use this approach and it's less than productive in helping people achieve a healthier lifestyle.
On the other side of the coin, being underweight or being obsessed with being skinny or losing weight, over exercising and envisioning yourself to look like Naomi Campbell or Kate Moss can be also just as detrimental to your own health and well being. If you're a female, and you reduce your calorie intake enough you can suffer from what's called Amenorrhea; which is when you're body tries to compensate for the fact that it isn't getting any nutrients so it stops your reproductive organs from working in order to help your body to survive. It literally goes into survival mode. Muscle wastage can occur as a result of having burned so much fat. Obsession can occur no matter what stage you're at, to the point that you can think of nothing else, having a detrimental effect on your mental well being. There are studies that suggest that you mightn't have any body dissatisfaction but there is a link between reduced mental health and being underweight. These aren't things that can happen over night but things that accumulate over time.
There are health reasons on both sides of the argument that can contribute to weight gain or weight loss. Certain medications can contribute to weight gain such as steroids. Hormone conditions such as PCOS or Thyroid conditions can contribute to weight gain. Stress for some people can be a contributing factor in relation to stress and comfort eating.
Digestive conditions such as coelic disease can contribute to weight loss. Stress can result in people losing their appetite and thus induce weight loss and so on and so forth.
So yes there are contributing factors that might cause weight gain/loss. I'm totally understanding towards this fact.
It also depends on a persons body shape and anatomy as to why they might look like they carry more weight or less weight than the next person.
Neither extreme side of this body positivity movement is healthy in the long run. It should be about balance.
(Photo credit below: https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/size-doesnt-matter-chart-proves/)
The image above perfectly depicts that body shape can have an impact of how you carry weight. Just because you're skinny at 4" 9 doesn't mean you'll look exactly like Kate Moss at 5" 5.
"OK, but body positivity is about accepting you for you, right? So live and let live"
Well, sure, accepting yourself for you is perfectly healthy from a mental health stand point. However like I mentioned before, neither case of being too skinny or too large is healthy in the long run and is known to run into further health complications in the future.
There's nothing to say that someone large or skinny can be strong, flexible, confident and sexy. But there will be a higher risk of developing health issues in the future.
References worth looking at:
Being overweight can lead to health problems:
Being underweight can lead to health problems:
I feel like weight gain and loss is such a controversial topic. Over the years I've noticed the pendulum like effect of fat shaming, then skinny shaming etc.
I had something happen to me about a month ago that made me rethink a lot of stuff.
I am a pretty average framed, size 12 woman. With a little bit of pudge in certain places like anyone else.
I want to be fitter and stronger.
I've always loved being fit and strong looking and feeling.
So when I put weight on last year it knocked me for six, because I wasn't used to having a bit of extra weight in places that I wasn't used to.
So I lost most of it. Then after the wedding put some of it on again. And am now a pound lighter than I was when I got married.
I've noticed that weight loss or weight gain depending on your life and experiences will always be a personal journey. But there will ALWAYS be people there to try and knock you down a peg. Regardless of what it is that you're trying to achieving in relation to your weight.
I had mentioned in work one time that I had taken caffeine tablets to help my weight loss (I still feel the need to justify my actions even here) (I was sensible with them and didn't abuse them in the slightest)
Someone in the same room told me that I didn't need to lose weight. To which I corrected what I said; that I had got to a pretty heavy weight last year and did need to lose weight in order to be healthy. (I wasn't healthy at that stage with my eating habits hence why I put weight on)
I had made a small joke about something that really impacted me about how when I was in Debenhams last year I didn't fit into a size 14 pair of jeans, but in actual fact this really upset me.
Someone made a remark about how they'd love to be able to fit into a size 14 and then made a passive aggressive point about whether with this new information about size 14 being "fat" that maybe they should consider losing weight.
This want what I was getting at when I was having this conversation. I wasn't implying that a size 14 is "fat". I understand that some people will naturally have bigger or smaller frames than others meaning some will carry more weight than others.
For my height, size 14 wasn't ideal for optimum health.
I just brushed it off because I don't have to justify myself to them. This is a personal journey for me.
But it did annoy me. How dare they try and twist my words to insinuate that I am losing weight unenessarily, borderline eating disorder and making something personal to me, about them.
Back track a few years and I remember a close family member disclosing to me that she was depressed, she sought help but along the way she regressed into rekindling an eating disorder she had from a young age.
I remember her saying in the hallway of my house that she felt fat and would pull at different parts of her body.
She indeed wasn't fat in the slightest.
I remember saying to her "if you think you're fat then what am I??"
I have been on both ends of this spectrum.
I have been the person making someone's struggle/journey about me. And have been on the receiving end of the same thing.
I feel bad for doing this. However I was 18, maybe 19 at the time and was relatively niave about people's thought processes. I know better now and am more sensitive and open to how other people don't always see things as I do and will have different life events and circumstances that have provided them with a different view point on life.
Weight loss is a personal journey. It isn't anyone elses business if you want to lose/gain weight for your own health (excluding eating disorders desire to lose weight from this)
People will always be there to critisise and poke holes in your reasoning. You don't need to justify yourself to anyone but yourself.
People will critisise for many reasons. I've found the most common one is because they see you're trying to better yourself in some way. (not exclusive to losing weight.) And see that as a personal attack on them because they haven't done anything similar to what you're doing in order to better themselves.
See it as a personal battle that they are facing, and move on with your life making your own decisions.
It took me the longest time to learn to love my body. I never felt good enough. Hated my thick thighs. Wished my boobs were bigger, hips were bigger etc.
We all have things we sometimes feel a bit insecure about and that's ok.
I learned to accept that someday I'd love my body and other days, not so much. But I'd get on with my day regardless. I learned not to compare myself with others and to do something about anything I wasn't happy with, if it was within my power to change.
I've really been struggling with my weight the last couple of years. More so the last year.
I pulled on a stone when I worked in my last job due to comfort eating.
I realised this because I went into debenhams one day last March and couldn't fit into a size 14 pair of jeans.
I felt awful.
I made a point to lose weight because I didn't feel healthy and wasn't happy with my body. That was my choice. There will be some people who say "love yourself for you. Not as a body type" and I agree. To a point. I do love myself for me. But I also love myself enough to know when the way I was eating isn't healthy. So I made a conscious decision to change that. I hit the gym, went to pole, did my yoga. And lost nearly 2 stone in time for my wedding in November.
Then I put on a little weight again. Not to the point I had let myself get to before. But I decided I wanted to get fitter, slimmer and healthier. And there isn't anything wrong with that either.
Today I saw someone I know, wedding photos and I felt like such an inadequate bride in comparison. I felt like a short arse with big hips, tum and boobage going on. Meanwhile this bride was a slender gorgeous sexy mother trucker.
I know logically in my head that everyone has different body types and frames.
I also know that in my wedding photos I was the lightest I had been in about 3 or 4 years! (Not underweight by the way)
I loved everything about my wedding(s)
I loved how we did things that worked for us and made us happy. I won't ever regret that. But in relation to me. I feel like I was clumsy looking and just not what I could have been.
Even something as innocent as a Facebook comment someone left on a wedding photo recently saying that my smile was so cheeky looking despite looking so beautiful. They meant no harm or malice with their comment but it making me think that I look immature, clumsy and like stupid when I was a bride.
At the same time that's just who I am. I am a bit clumsy sometimes. I'm not all "airs and graces" and if I had of tried to be, it wouldn't have been me. And I probably would have spent the day emotional and sentimental about various things.
So at the moment, these thoughts are kind of at war in my head battling it out. I also have the flu so I can help but think that perhaps it is the sickness that is making me think and feel like this?
I definitely want to jump back on the fitness band wagon once I'm over this flu fully. Since starting this job I've only been going to pole once a week and doing a feeble attempt at yoga maybe 2 times a week. I know I can do better. I want to do better.
I'm not setting my hopes and dreams of being happy on a goal I have set for myself in how I want to look physique wise. But I'm also looking forward to having a six pack!
I am a 25 year old nurse, who is trying to find herself. This blog will contain epiphanies I have, my yoga progress and other such things. Enjoy. :)