What It Means to Be Body Positive

Photo credit: Bustle.com

I’m going to preface this article by saying that it’s been brewing for a long time.

One of the best and worst things about being on social media so often is that I get to interact with so many women who are at different places in their food and body image journey.

Like many of the other coaches, dietitians and body positive enthusiasts, we are often in the front lines and receive a lot of negative feedback from haters who believe that the body positive movement is about promoting obesity.

I can just hear the haters now.

Why is she posting so many pictures of fat women?

Doesn’t she realize that no one wants to see fat woman wearing a bikini?

Isn’t she just promoting obesity?

Actually, no, it isn’t. What I’m trying to show is that body diversity is okay. Whatever your feelings may be about fat, you’re entitled to them. However, I believe that women of all sizes need to be represented in social media. You know why? Because that IS a representation of what our society really looks like. We’re brainwashed to believe that thinner women are the only women that look acceptable and social media worthy and I don’t believe this is true. My goal is to show that all types of women (and men) have a place in social media and in the world. So, fat, thin, gray hair, short hair, black, Asian, Caucasian, disabled, middle aged, senior, young, etc. are all okay in my book because they represent what we see in the REAL world.

I believe that the sooner we retrain our brains to become accustomed to seeing diverse body types in social media, the better off we are. It gives us more space to be who we are without apologizing or feeling shameful because we think we’re “inadequate” or “less than” due to our own bodies. The belief that all bodies are good bodies is what the body positive movement is all about. It really doesn’t have anything to do with a person’s weight or size. The weight and size is a subset of it, but it’s not at the core. What is at the core is that there is no “right” or “acceptable” way to look. We are all different and we’re supposed to look differently from each other. However, with those differences, we’re also all entitled to be accepted and respected as humans simply because we are humans without being ridiculed or shamed.

I understand that what I’ve written may make some people uncomfortable, and I’m okay with that. I think that this discomfort is actually a good sign, that it’s touching you in some way. If this discomfort makes you question why you believe that people who look differently than what social media spews out daily, then that’s a good thing. But keep in mind that it’s also retraining your eyes to see that other shapes, sizes, colors, etc. exist and don’t have to be hidden or covered up. That’s a good thing in my book.

For more posts and body positive inspiration, join my No-Diet Sisterhood Facebook page. Also, for more writing about food and body image, check out my blog.

Michelle Vina-Baltsas is a Food & Body Relationship Specialist. Her passion is to help women shift their mindset so that they can finally live without the constant preoccupation with food and their bodies. She was imprisoned by chronic dieting and body hatred for decades but now has a thriving relationship with both food and body. Michelle enjoys all foods including kale salads, green juice, ice cream and cake! She believes that all foods and bodies can fit in our lives and that happiness is never found in a number on the scale or our clothing size. Michelle is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Certified Holistic Health Coach and an Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Practitioner. She teaches her clients how to cultivate healthy lifestyle behaviors instead of worrying about weight and size using the intuitive eating model.