The surprisingly harmful aspect of the body positivity movement

SA79
on 2/4/18 4:52 pm

So, the fact is that I'm torn: on the one hand, I'm a feminist and absolutely anti-fatphobic. I see and certainly have experienced that weight is really the last unchallenged bastion of open discrimination. It gets masked as concern for health, yet other health concerns don't get treated the same way, with the same scorn, attachments of character judgement, assumptions of laziness, incompetence, stupidity, etc. Smoking, for instance, is harmful to not only the smoker but also other people, animals, and the environment, yet there's even still a notion of smoking being "sexy". People who find obesity sexy are considered deviants and it's often kept a shameful secret, relegated to very specific dating and porn sites. It's important, therefore, to try to insert some positivity into the entire assessment of overweight people and the validity of their existence in general.

And yet, it's harmful, too. Counting calories gets portrayed as people being enslaved to some notion of beauty and perfection to a level that's almost laughable. You see movies and tv shows where the main character abandons her life of careful eating to "live fully", which usually involves eating a lot of unhealthy food and putting on weight (though: she is normally thin in the first place!). There are ideas attached to food restriction and the lack of quality of life, as though people who limit their caloric intake are somehow NOT living fully, not free from The System, and holding themselves back from living their best lives. This is the aspect I consider truly harmful, because discrimination aside, obesity is a disease. All of us on here know that! And since I started my 1200 calorie/day diet (I'm pre-WLS, probably by over a year) and started losing weight, I've actually found that my quality of life has improved significantly, that I eat better quality food than I did before, and that I enjoy it more. It's only been 3 weeks, but I've lost 15 lbs and already feel better in every way.

I told a close friend about the beginnings of my weight loss journey and the dramatic change in my lifestyle the other day and he responded by telling me that he and his wife got rid of their bathroom scale ten years ago and haven't looked back, and that life without a scale is simply better, that he's actively opposed to dieting. He should probably lose 50 lbs for optimal health. It's not the same as me, who needed to lose about 135 lbs at the start of this, but still! I hear messages like this all the time and it's frustrating. Then again, my weight was never something I spent a lot of time thinking about before my wake-up call over Christmas, so maybe it's simply different for those of us who never did obsessively count calories before this or something.

Anyway, just some thoughts about that. I'd be curious to know what you guys have experienced and felt about this kind of thing!

Erin T.
on 2/4/18 6:09 pm
VSG on 01/17/17

I think it's important to love yourself. That being said, I never did. I also think it's important to be a realist about your health and being fat has real health consequences. Even if you don't own a scale. The end.

VSG: 1/17/17

5'7" HW: 283 SW: 229 CW: 130-ish GW: 145

Pre-op: 53 M1: 22 M2: 12 M3: 12 M4: 8 M5: 10 M6: 11 M7: 5 M8: 6 M9-M13: 15-ish

LBL/BL w/ Fat Transfer 1/29/18

TrendWeight

SA79
on 2/4/18 7:20 pm

I did and do love myself! I don't love everything about my body, but I also don't hate everything about my body. And my self is a lot more than just the body it's in. And all of that said, I've come to realize that my body has a health issue, so I'm addressing it. I get that it's a multi-layered, very nuanced thing (loving yourself, I mean). I'm just commenting on the imbalance between these two things.

Erin T.
on 2/5/18 3:05 am
VSG on 01/17/17

I'm happy you can love yourself. It's important and you should. My comment wasn't meant to be cold - I just never realized that I truly did not love myself when I was MO. Having lost the weight I realize that a lot of that was about how I felt and what I couldn't do, not about how I looked, but it sadly was still the truth for me.

My point of my post was to say that I do indeed think that being body positive can be important at the same time that we acknowledge a health issue.

VSG: 1/17/17

5'7" HW: 283 SW: 229 CW: 130-ish GW: 145

Pre-op: 53 M1: 22 M2: 12 M3: 12 M4: 8 M5: 10 M6: 11 M7: 5 M8: 6 M9-M13: 15-ish

LBL/BL w/ Fat Transfer 1/29/18

TrendWeight

SA79
on 2/5/18 4:26 pm

I didn't find your comment cold at all, don't worry! And yes, I agree again - it's about the physical limitations for me and future health concerns, rather than vanity! :P

VSG on 12/10/13

Make sure you NEVER bring up your WLS among the HAES or body-positivity crowds. They think that people who have bariatric surgery are giving in to societal pressure, that Big Medicine is taking advantage of a vulnurable population, and that it's a needless cosmetic procedure that's riskier than obesity. (And in my experience, they are NOT shy to tell you that.)

I am the master of my own regain.

Professional geek, toddler mom, derby girl, author of the Five-Day Meat Test

SA79
on 2/4/18 7:19 pm

Oh, so I've definitely found. There isn't really a body positivity movement where I live; I just find it online. I have a really good friend who lives in California who was really involved in the "Bo-Po" movement until she got a VSG and they all turned on her. She still feels like a traitor and that having wilfully lost the thing that was causing her marginalization was, despite the needed health benefits for her, an act of betrayal, and she lost most of her friends. It really sucks!!

jenorama
on 2/4/18 7:46 pm - CA
RNY on 10/07/13

Yes. Didn't you realize that you mutilated yourself and had a stomach amputation? I'm sure you would have been just as able to have a healthy and trouble-free pregnancy, ride in El Tour de Tucson and RAGBRAI just as well at 300lbs!

Just because I was carrying around the weight of another fully-grown human had nothing to do with the fact that my knees ached and one wrong move would mean endless days of back pain. The fact that I had shoulder pain all the way down my arm was just a coincidence.

You and I mutilated our bodies only so we would look better and satisfy the patriarchy. We're not really living when we do things like travel, ride bikes, go to the gym, play with children, sit in a theater seat, walk using our own two legs...

Jen

VSG on 12/10/13

Yup, I totally did it so I could prance around in spandex!!

I am the master of my own regain.

Professional geek, toddler mom, derby girl, author of the Five-Day Meat Test

jenorama
on 2/4/18 7:52 pm - CA
RNY on 10/07/13

Don't forget the "in front of men" part!

Jen

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