Body Positivity Photos Surely It Applies to all Shapes And Sizes

There is a movement on social media all about body positivity. I think this is wonderful and I am all for feeling good about yourself, and feeling good about your body whatever your shape or size. After all it’s your right as a human being to be exactly who you want to be. I will never argue with anybody that says they are happy exactly the way they are and I will take it at face value that they genuinely mean they are happy with themselves. Why would I doubt it? I’ve no reason too.

I believe there are two camps in this body positivity movement. There is the camp that is happy to post an image of being overweight and happy, which I might say I think takes a lot of courage. Then there is the camp that shows before and after photos of themselves where they have reduced their weight to a healthy level.

My problem with all of this body positivity posting is the effect it could be having on our children in regard to obesity.

Obesity is a major problem in the UK and it has health implications that perhaps are not apparent straight away, but as you get older this could become very serious.

I will admit that in some cases some people are overweight because of an underlying health issue, but a large majority are overweight because they consume too much and don’t exercise enough which then becomes a lifestyle choice. If you are continually eating, and quite often this is comfort food like chocolate etc, and then you’re not doing any form of exercise, it’s not rocket science to work out what is going to happen to your body. You will get fat. You can’t blame that on fast food outlets even if they are everywhere. You have a choice. You don’t have to go into a KFC or McDonalds. You have a choice. You could go to the supermarket and buy healthy food and start eating healthy food and doing some exercise.

There is talk of making obesity a disease, and this for me is total nonsense. If you do that then you should make smoking and alcohol diseases too, but they are not diseases! Cancer is a disease, an illness, obesity is not.

Smoking and drinking are lifestyle choices and so is eating too much without doing any exercise. It’s the individuals choice to be overweight and if they are happy with themselves that’s great. No argument from me there, but stop trying to normalise it. Being overweight is a choice you have made and you can, if you want to, do something about it, just the same as if you smoke, you can make a change and stop smoking or stop drinking or eating too much. That’s a lifestyle choice that will make you healthier.

It infuriates me when people are critical about people who show before and after photos. I truly don’t understand how you can criticise them. It shows a commitment to a lifestyle change and it should be applauded that they are making positive changes to their lifestyle. It is not, as some like to say, harping on about “fat shaming”. It’s not even close.

I struggle to understand how posting a before and after photo is anything but positive. Before and after images of weight loss do not demean or devalue or become problematic when somebody posts a photo of their larger form.

I have no problem with what people post on social media and if it makes you happy that’s fantastic, but don’t post on social media and not expect to face opinions that might differ from yours. If you don’t want a debate over it turn comments off. Everybody has a right to an opinion and it may differ from yours. Not everybody is going to agree with you and actually that’s what makes life interesting.

Looking beyond the what is right or wrong to post online, we as parents have a responsibility to teach our children a sensible way to live and to educate them on healthy lifestyle choices. I really don’t want my children thinking it’s ok to be overweight or do no exercise, or have their tea every night from a fast food outlet. That is bordering child abuse.

There is an epidemic of children that are obese in the UK and it’s getting worse year on year. The UK currently has the highest rate of obesity in children in Europe. Surely that is telling us that as parents we need to be better role models when it comes to eating healthy and exercise.

Our children look at us as their role models. We can’t always get it right, but we can certainly try our best to give them the best example we can. This can mean many things such as being healthy, being a normal healthy weight, not smoking or drinking in excess, and being respectful of other people’s opinions and treating people with kindness and respect. Being rude because you can’t get your own way is not something we should be teaching our children.

Finally, it is not as I have said fat shaming if you post a before and after photo of weight loss. It’s a body positivity photo, and a fantastic example to our children. Ultimately being overweight will reduce your life expectancy. You are leaving yourself open to a multitude of possible health issues and you could either become a burden to your children, or die far too young.

So let’s stop fat shaming, diet shaming or slim shaming. We are what we decide to be, but just as we do not glamorous anorexia, let’s not glamorous obesity or normalise obesity by wrapping it up in a body positivity photo. Body positivity photos are not the sole domain or exclusive only to people that are overweight.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

13 thoughts on “Body Positivity Photos Surely It Applies to all Shapes And Sizes

  1. I’m afraid I have to disagree with you. I think you’ve missed the point of the movement – which is about ending discrimination based on weight. A lot of people are unable to change their weight. It’s a lot more complicated than “you’re fat so obviously you eat too much.” I encourage you to do some reasearch. https://iamdaniadriana.com/ is an excellent resource on body positivity and what it means to be fat.

    Also, alcoholism is a disease. https://www.alcohol.org/alcoholism/can-it-be-cured/

  2. I don’t agree with you on this.
    A person posting a photo of themselves being confident in who they are are someone children should be looking up to. Many people, children included, struggle with their weight for more complicated reasons that eating unhealthily or not exercising enough. But there is another hidden side to being overweight.
    I am 6’3″ and just under 90kg. According to the NHS weight scale that puts me at the top end of the “healthy weight” band. A couple of extra kilos and I would then be in the “overweight” category. I run 40+ miles a week, have a resting pulse in the that averages 40 bpm, my blood pressure is checked regularly and is always bang on. I am thin, tall and thin and those extra few kilos to put in into the next band won’t make much (if any) difference to the way I look but technically I would be unhealthy. I could eat fast food every day and keep banging out the miles and make little difference to the way I look but I would be unhealthy.
    What I’m trying to say is that it’s more complicated that simply looking at someone and seeing an overweight person. That’s not what body positivity is about. I am a healthy person, yet I look thin. People tell me I look thin. Even my wife. But I am happy with the way I look and my lifestyle. It’s not just larger people who can be body positive.
    #ThatFridayLinky

  3. I agree with you that any kind of body shaming is shameful. I also don’t believe obesity should be considered a disease, it takes away personal responsibility. However, I also believe that any one has the right to be fat or thin, fit or unfit – is all part of having freedom – and as a community we all have to take up the responsibility for everyone as a whole and pay for their care. This is why health education and amenities are so helpful to make individuals more clear on the personal consequences xx

  4. A tricky one, Nige, as some of your comments show! I would not be in favour of any form of shaming, obviously, but it can be hard to educate people to eat better if they don’t want to make the effort. Forget trying to blame others and your “disease”: as you say it’s not rocket science: eat too much and you put on weight. And outside of some health-related causes, most of it, I believe IS down to eating too much of the wrong things and not exercising enough. #ThatFridayLinky

  5. I think the problem is extremes your either one or the other. You can’t be both becuase it is frowned upon and that gets on my wick. I think peopke should do with what feels right for them without the guilt X #thatfridayfeeling

  6. As a woman who suffered from a horrible and long battle with an eating disorder, I’d say I have to disagree with a lot of this. I think we should all treat each other kindly and not make any fuss, good or bad about the way one looks. It’s a slippery slope and one wrong phrase, comment, thought – and your kid could be devastated. Body positivity is loving who you are, inside and out. #ThatFridayLinky xoox Like you said, we have to do this for the kids. They deserve it!

  7. Yes it’s a difficult one. But seeing overweight kids is the one I struggle with. We should be encouraging our children to eat healthily and exercise, it’s not rocket science. There is absolutely no excuse for children to be overweight through poor diet and lack of exercise. If they have health issues then fair enough but we as parents shouldn’t be allowing our kids to become overweight through lifestyle

  8. I recently joined our local (council run) gym and have been shocked to see the number of children there on NHS referrals – there is definitely a problem that needs tackling in this country #ThatFridayLinky

  9. Speaking as somebody who lost quite a lot of weight (almost 4 st) a couple of years ago, it takes a huge amount of will-power to shift into a healthy lifestyle, and it’s even harder to maintain once the weight’s gone. I go up and down and up again like a yo yo! Plus as a public figure the pressure’s always on to shift the podge. Also I’ve always thought I have an addictive personality (and a sweet tooth) which doesn’t help my cause. In my opinion, social media and TV is littered with too many muscly, beautiful people with perfect teeth who don’t represent ordinary people. I’d like to see more, happy, average-sized people in the media to inspire happiness, rather than extreme fitness and beauty. #Thatfridaylinky

  10. Speaking as somebody who lost quite a lot of weight (almost 4 st) a couple of years ago, it takes a huge amount of will-power to shift into a healthy lifestyle, and it’s even harder to maintain once the weight’s gone. I go up and down and up again like a yo yo! Plus as a public figure the pressure’s always on to shift the podge. Also I’ve always thought I have an addictive personality (and a sweet tooth) which doesn’t help my cause. In my opinion, social media and TV is littered with too many muscly, beautiful people with perfect teeth who don’t represent ordinary people. I’d like to see more, happy, average-sized people in the media to inspire happiness, rather than extreme fitness and beauty. #Thatfridaylinky

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