We live in a culture that looks down on people if they do not look a certain way. Some parts of the world are more accepting of various shapes, sizes, genders and religions, and others are critical of these various topics.
Growing up in Los Angeles, CA (to be more exact Beverly Hills, CA) I have seen the judgment and stigma that has evolved from diet culture.
Certainly Hollywood and the media have played significant roles in the unrealistic expectations that people have pertaining to their body.
People forget that our genetics, age, gender, and dieting history all contribute to the body shape that we have.
It is more and more apparent to me that this is a conversation that we need to have. Little girls starting at the age of 10 want to go on a diet, due to being told they are not perfect or something is wrong with them.
The fear of being fat is so real that kids are worrying about their weight instead of getting to be kids.
When I was 10 years old I remember being nervous about playing older kids in tennis matches as I was a competitive tennis player.
The idea of diets, food rules, changing our bodies was never a thought that entered my mind as a little girl.
Size acceptance is being able to accept that we all have a specific body shape. As I mentioned above there are various factors that contribute to how our body will evolve as we become adults.
Sadly many people are not satisfied with the way their body has turned out and this has resulted in various diets, disordered eating, food rules and unhappiness in their body.
Research shows that the more we “diet” and “weight cycle” (having our weight go up and down) the more weight we gain.
Have you considered accepting your body? I know that sounds like a scary thought. It’s true that many people accept their body especially when they have developed a peaceful relationship with food, movement, and their body.
A person does not have to love their body but being to recognize and accept all the wonderful things your body is capable to do.
It’s normal to have days that we do not feel confident in our body or like our body, learning how to accept it and the size that you are genetically is important to have a normal relationship with your whole self.
When it comes to body size, there are so many areas in which size acceptance overlaps with other movements meant to empower those who have been marginalized.
I recognize that I come from a place of being a cis-gender Caucasian female with thin privilege. I do not have the lived experience that many of my clients, friends, and peers have had. I am able to over support and a safe space to share one’s feelings about their body in a judgment-free environment.
We don’t think of other races or genders when it comes to our bodies. Everyone is impacted by size discrimination and weight stigma through the media, diet culture and the medical community does not help.
I strive to help clients learn how to accept their bodies, accept it no matter what size they are. There is nothing wrong with being “fat” just like there is nothing wrong with being “thin”.
When people speak from a place of judgment that’s when we feel poorly about ourselves. Have you ever considered that?
Some people may be genetically fat? Just like they are genetically thin? Being able to embrace our size, and not be afraid to call our-self “fat” in an accepting and loving way.
Fat is not to be feared- it keeps people in their disorders. When we speak in a judgmental and critical manner our guilt, shame and biases toward various bodies occur. If you think of two different dogs, let’s say a poodle and a mastiff.
A poodle will never look like a mastiff and a mastiff will never look like a poodle. Genetically they have different shapes, and changing their shapes does not alter their health status, in fact, it could hinder it.
The more we go through unnatural and extreme measures to change an appearance that a body is not meant to be then we find ourselves constantly obsessing about what we will and will not eat.
We become afraid of various food groups, food options and become more fixated on our “external” shape instead of honoring and respecting how all of our bodies are different. Sadly we are all born in a culture that views one body type to be acceptable.
When we do not genetically resemble that body type we perceive that we “are not eating correctly”, “exercising hard enough” instead of recognizing that the more we restrict, and compulsively exercise the more disordered we become around food.
Learning how to work on body acceptance is a goal to be able to learn how to maneuver through the world of diet culture.
The more are resistant to understanding this movement and embracing it, then the longer a person will be at war with their body and food.
Think about how you will not compare, body check or analyze your size and work on being present when eating, moving and living life.
The more present we can be then one will find it is normal to have days that we feel less comfortable in our bodies and days that we feel more comfortable. Stop being at war with your body!
For more information on size acceptance, I would recommend reading Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, Ph.D. (www.haescommunity.com) and going onto the website Association for Size Diversity (ASDAH) www.sizedivesityandhealth.org.