Even after 7 days of blogging how honestly happy I am to finally be speaking my mind, how great I feel to be on top of my workout game, how good I feel to be eating better food, I still get people saying I am an “embarrassment” and “disappointment.” Sigh.
I thought I was pretty clear about why I wanted to share all my goals publicly (this blog is my diary and my readers are my accountability partners). I have never seen anyone so heavily in the public eye do this before. Maybe that’s why it’s such a shocker?
For example: Do you know exactly what actors do to lean down for a role? Do you know what Beyoncé ate or did everyday to lose all the baby weight and prepare her body for her Coachella performance? No, you just saw her bangin’ body afterwards. And by that time, all the people who probably would have complained about her diet are probably asking HOW DID SHE DO IT?
Look, I am no Beyoncé (no one is and we shall all bow down to the queen!!!) so I don’t need to go as hard as her. Does her diet make me feel bad about myself? No. So my diet and my goals should not make you feel bad about yourself. My goals have nothing to do with your goals because our bodies are different. Our DNA is different. Our lifestyles are different. Our careers are different! My goals are for me and your goals are for you. You know the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy”? Repeat that to yourself and STOP COMPARING.
Which now brings me to a topic I think we all need to discuss.
What is Body Positivity, and where did it come from?
I’ve seen people say that I’m not being body positive or that I am misusing the term itself. To be honest with you, I have never actually looked up the origin of the word. I just thought if I am loving my body, then I am being positive with my body. But maybe it’s more complicated than that. And if I’m wrong, good! I’d love to know why.
After doing hours of research, here’s what I learned:
“The Body Positive” was first trademarked in the 1996 by Connie Sobczak, a psychotherapist, and Elizabeth Scott, a woman who overcame an eating disorder and her sister’s death due to an ED, and has made it her life mission to help improve people’s self image.
In their book, Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice), they describe being Body Positive as…”a way of living that gives you permission to love, care for, and take pleasure in your body throughout your lifespan. Struggles will inevitably occur, especially during times of transition or imbalance.” Practicing true body positivity…”allows you to find what you need to live with as much self-love and balanced self-care as possible. Experiences of conflict and suffering become opportunities to learn what is required to further your growth so you can find greater contentment and peace.”
Wow, that is a whole mouthful!
But what I am reading is that being Body Positive, in it’s ORIGINAL definition, means to love and care for your body, while allowing yourself to grow in order to find happiness.
I then wanted to hear from someone who would willingly describe themselves as fat. What would her take on body positivity be? I came across young adult writer Kelly deVos, the author of Fat Girl on a Plane. In her opinion piece for The New York Times, she says, “I’ve come to feel that loving yourself and desiring to change yourself are two sentiments that should be able to peacefully coexist.”
There was another part of the article that I found super interesting. Kelly said, “It’s worth noting that body positivity is the convergence of a few movements. The fat acceptance movement was pioneered in the 1960s by black and queer women to fight discrimination in public spaces, the workplace and doctors’ offices. Fat positivity, which is more of a reaction to fat shaming, and body positivity, which is a more commercial self-esteem movement, came later.”
I decided to look into Fat Acceptance first. According to NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, founded in 1969, their mission is “To eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and support.” From what I read, fat people are less likely to be hired for a job when compared to their thinner peers.
In Googling further, I found a TIME Magazine article talking about the first fat activists. In the 1960s they “…staged their own event in New York City’s Central Park, dubbed it a “Fat-In” and ate ice cream while burning posters of über-thin model Twiggy.”
So…why the backlash on my 90 Day Journey?
I always want to know when I am doing something wrong and how I can fix it. So I went searching for viewpoints that differed from my own.
VICE did an article featuring Fat Positive Activists in 2017 and I was super interested in hearing their thoughts.
Jessica Hinkle, the owner of Proud Mary, a plus sized fashion site said, “If people want to work out and eat only salad, go for it. Do what makes you feel good. The problem comes when people are posting “before and after” images, which inherently champions being smaller as better. If that’s how you feel, fine, but do not call yourself body-positive. In order to be body-positive, you have to acknowledge that people truly deserve respect and autonomy over their bodies without judgement. Fat people aren’t “before” photos. We need to stop centering conversations about body-positivity around health in general.”
Okay, I can understand how before and after photos can make looking smaller seem better. But when she says that in order to be body positive, we have to acknowledge that people “deserve respect and autonomy over their bodies without judgement” – I definitely feel like there are people who are not not being body positive with me and my body AT ALL. Telling me that I am already small, or that I shouldn’t blog about my journey, or that I am an “embarrassment” and “disappointment” really does not respect my right to self govern my body, now does it?
There’s a very strongly-written article called “Here’s Why the Definition of Body Positivity Isn’t Up for Debate” published on everydayfeminism.com saying that, “The actual intention of body positivity is not any action that makes you feel positive about your body. The intention is size acceptance.”
Okay, so body positivity is supposed to mean accepting the size you are at.
The writer goes on to say, “Body positivity is about reducing potential disordered eating and distorted body image triggers, while reducing the oppressive language that excludes fat people from access to resources.”
Okay, I can understand how my talk of weight, scales, and diets can be triggers for people with distorted body image, which helps explain why my 90 Day Journey has been upsetting for some people.
But then she goes on to say…
“Let’s make something clear: Having a goal for intentional fat loss is not body positive. Period. That’s literally antithetical to the definition and intention of body positivity. Fat loss goals are about intentionally changing your body weight…Body positivity is about not intentionally changing your body weight. The two things don’t mix.”
Wait, so if fat loss is antithetical to the intention of body positivity in her definition, what about Connie and Elizabeth’s original definition 1996?
So, am I Body Positive or not?
I was hoping that after all this research, I’d either be 100% right or 100% wrong, but I realize that I am neither.
In fact, no one is right or wrong. It seems like Body Positivity in the 2019 sense is an opinionated definition at best.
You literally can’t look it up in the dictionary.
What I think happened is that the definition of the term “Body Positive” changed over time. And me going on a 90 Day Journey while also being known for my “body positive” brand is controversial because no one can agree on the actual definition of Body Positivity.
So what now?
Now, we move on! To…
DAY 6 RECAP:
Here is my day 6 entry in my Fit Journal. In my weightlifting class, the instructor surprised us with 60 burpees at the end. I ALMOST DIED. He said we could add a pushup if we wanted to. To be honest, I didn’t want to, but I had no choice. Hard Core Cassey was like – DO NOT BACK DOWN. Heart rate got up to 166 BPM!
For lunch I ate leftover chicken shawarma with butter lettuce and meal prepped turkey chili. Ha, I am almost done with it – I promise. Will cook something new next week.
Snack. Brie cheese and Thai Chili Almonds. Nothing new here folks. I love that George is just staring at my snack. My the way, he loves plain cashews and peanuts more than he loves traditional dog treats. He truly is my dog :)
Dinner was much more interesting! I bought this bag of frozen zoodles from Costco months ago but never felt like cooking with it. Until last night!
Overall, it was good, but kinda mushy. You can also see that water kept seeping out after I microwaved it, even though I drained it and paper toweled it. Next time, I think I’ll defrost and then put it on the pan. Topped my zoodles with marinara sauce and chicken sausage. YUM!
You guys. I had PIZZA!!!! I used my keto flatbread recipe (egg + almond flour + mozzarella cheese) as the base and then I just added marinara, cheese, and chicken sausage on top! Sam was like, “ummm is that okay for your 90 day challenge?” I was like yeah, taste it!! He tried it and actually liked it. WHOOO!!