4 Myths About Being Body Positive
Are you Body Positive?
In the process of researching and then writing my book, I’ve come to find that there are some misconceptions about the use of the word “Body-Positivity.”
The term goes hand-in-hand with the Health at Every Size movement, and in conjunction with the belief that every body is a worthy body. There is definitely some controversy about the term too. Even I, who is very well-versed on the topic and have been extensively trained in it, received some sobering feedback recently from a body-positive colleague about the ways that I too still have perceptions that may be faulty and deserving of more exploration. And that is ok.
Let me take the opportunity to clear up some of the most common myths about being on a body positive journey. And journey it is. You are allowed to be on a path towards body-positivity and be stymied in different places. Accept where you are and keep learning and growing in the process.
Myth # 1 You have to accept everything about you and never so much as even get a haircut or use a product to get rid of acne.
Body positivity is not about never changing elements of your appearance. I know many body-positive women and men who change their hairstyles monthly, get tattoos, use beauty products and get facials. It’s about divorcing the idea that your sense of self-worth is intimately connected with your outward beauty and appearance. Being body positive is about making changes that make you feel good in your skin and doing the behaviors that make you feel healthy and alive. Not doing them solely because you feel you won’t be loved, accepted and worthy UNLESS you make these changes. It’s a subtle but important difference.
Myth #2 It’s a term used only for curvy women
Wrong! All women (and men) can be body-positive. You can be very thin and still have self-loathing, eating disorders or body-dysmorphia. Body-shaming comes in all shapes, sizes and forms. Body positivity is weight neutral and it also means that ALL bodies are meant to be revered….bodies of every color, size, shape, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ability or disability.
Myth #3 It’s a cover-up term that is just an excuse for not taking care of yourself, not eating right and not exercising.
This is the myth that most often needs to be debunked. Let me be very clear. Being body-positive does not mean one doesn’t strive to be healthy. It does mean that a woman or man can start with the premise that they are ok just the way they are. From that place, amazing things can happen. Because when we just let ourselves be, we can strip away the shame, the bullying and the noise and focus and zone in on the very foods, movement and behaviors that set us up for a lifetime of health and feeling incredible in our skin.
Myth # 4 That it’s either/or
Nope. Being body-positive is a path to pursue. It is most certainly not an either/or. Look, we’ve had our whole lives being indoctrinated into dieting culture and being swayed in profound ways by societal dictums about what beautiful is and is not. So of course there are going to be times where you feel like it’s black or white. Let me assure you that you can be body-positive and still have setbacks. This is normal. This is ok. What is important is noticing when we fall back to self-loathing, judgement in ourselves and others and be ulta-aware of where those thoughts and beliefs stem from so we can acknowledge it, feel it and then continue on our path.
I hope this was valuable. I am always learning too. Is there anything you would add to this list of myths? Sound off below!
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