Hello Darling,You are smiley, funny, intelligent, go-getting, doing you and so much more than just your body size. So why then are we so fixated on not getting fat?! Ever noticed if you quit smoking often one of the first pieces of advice you get given is how to not put on weight as a result of stopping a habit which is surely more like to kill you than a few pounds. Ever noticed how our language around food categorises it as good and bad, how we label ourselves as naughty FOR EATING. Yeah, sure some foods are more and less helpful nutritionally, but do we always eat for nutrition? hell no, we eat because Haagen Dazs is bloody beautiful.
So what is all of this body positivity chatter, well imagine being able to feel amazing about yourself in your own mind, to enjoy sashaying those hips and enjoying those ‘show a belly tops’ (crop tops) without care. Now you’re getting close and my friend you deserve this because your brain has more important things to do (like changing the world) than worrying about how many calories or carbs you have eaten.
Also if one day you are lucky enough to have some of your own little Darlings do you want them to be carrying all of this baggage around? Do you want them to hear you talking about how good you’ve been because you’ve stuck to chicken and salad all week and how you feel much better because you got in those jeans? Is that what should make us ‘feel’ better? Should our example not be that we have put energy into being our best goddam moral selves rather than reading the latest diet book? And as we know little ones are like sponges, they soak up everything.
And anyway nobody cares what you look like, they are to busy worrying about themselves, in the words of Matt Haig, from Notes on a Nervous Planet;
Quite aptly put don’t you think? Another psychological element to the body positivity argument is when we stop saying no to food, we generally become more intuitive eaters because we know we can have what we want when we want. We tend to ‘rebel’ less and go all out because we have nothing to rebel against. This being the key reason diets do not work and why popular diet clubs earn so much cash because we put the weight on and go back. Less than 5% of people keep weight off after dieting – just let that soak in.
The other issue we face is how our body biologically works; if you starve yourself you go into an innate biological response where your body utilises stored energy therefore when you re-introduce food you will gain excess weight. Ironically, working in mental health has given me the unique opportunity of seeing those who actively engage with therapy and let go of the diet mantra, start to reach a healthy weight naturally. This isn’t rocket science when you stop overthinking about eating, you eat what your body wants and needs.
Imagine Darling a world without mirrors or photography, who would you be then? What would you be celebrated for? Your hard-working ethic, your conversation skills, your nurturing presence and all the other goodness you bring to the world. We are never viewed by others as we see ourselves in the mirror, we are multi-faceted, we hold ourselves in ways that are symbolic to how we feel, interestingly how do you think your hold yourself when your body positive vs when you are not?
So how do we go about making the change in this increasingly self-obsessed digital world? Some top tips:
- Ditch the diet, it hasn’t worked for you yet.
- Ask yourself the five whys whenever you do something motivated by your image.
- Surround yourself with body-positive social media, a really good example is Megan Crabbe aka @bodyposipanda
- Start to listen to what your body wants through intuitive eating and stop saying NO
Think back to when you were a child and how refreshing it was not to worry about all this shit Darling, let go of the monster and do you.
All my love,