Body positivity is my crutch for being unhealthy

Guys, I’m done.

Today I decided that I was going to be a grown up, chuck out all the clothes I’m desperately trying to get back into and just embrace my current figure. What is the point in keeping clothes that don’t fit me? If I lose weight, I will buy more clothes that I love. If I don’t? I will have clothes that fit me and make me feel attractive and THAT is half the battle right? Yep. Done. So done.
Until I got to primark and, ignoring my usual size 10/12 I picked up size 16. The size I am now. No flinch, no upset – what even is size anyway? Fuck it. This is the size I am and I don’t care. I don’t want to diet, I love food. I hate salad. Salad was invented by rabbits to take over the world.

I filled up my bag, declared I was buying a new wardrobe as NOTHING fits me and even less looks good on me. Then I go into the changing room and you know what I discovered? Nothing fitted me still, and the little that did looked AWFUL.

I have no idea how I have gotten back to this space where I have lost all sense of self, all self confidence and I absolutely ABHORE my body shape. I am carrying fat where I’ve never carried fat before, I feel uncomfortable, unhealthy and oh-so-unhappy. I ambled out of the changing room, with my 8 items to swap over for another 8… that also made me look vaguely sausage with ripped skin esque. As I stamped out of the changing room for the third time I declared that I wouldn’t be trying on the rest of my basket – what was the point and COULD IT BE MORE DEMORALISING to KEEP coming out in and out, in and out, in and out and telling the assistant that, no, none of these thanks, I don’t look good in a single fucking one. Cheers for asking, now can I have another eight that make me look like a Sunday roast mated with Michelin man? Ta.

Nope. Done.

The whole “ohhh go and buy new clothes that fit, don’t be unkind to yourself” thing is a giant lie. I’ve come away feeling less body positive and wondering if I could cancel Disney and use the money for a decent plastic surgeon to sort my shit out and a personal trainer/food bodyguard to make me run from a to b and smack food out of my hand whenever I get too close to it. I feel genuinely upset, and what’s worse is that I KNOW this is something I have done to me, I know it’s something that only I can change. I know that the constant snacking, poor eating choices and excesses portions have caused this. I’m not suffering from a thyroid problem, I’m not diabetic – there are very VERY valid reason that people cannot shift their weight and the body positivity movement is amazing for helping them to understand that their natural shape is beautiful. This isn’t me and it isn’t my natural shape. I’m not being firm with myself and I don’t exercise, something that isn’t true for everyone who sides into the large categories – lots of these men and women do exercise and are healthy. When I want to justify my behaviour to myself I look at obese people and lean on their body confidence, tell myself if they can rock out in a two piece with midriff showing and feel sexy, why can’t I? Do I care if I shop at asos plus? Well she doesn’t, she’s still confident and looks awesome to me so yeah, sure I can… body positivity is becoming my excuse for being unhealthy and overweight (to clarify – the two are not synonymous).

Except standing there in that primark changing room, willing myself to be body confident, I couldn’t. I hate this body now. It’s not foreign to me, it’s a place I swore I would never be again, for my mental health and physical health. It’s a place I told myself 6 years ago I wouldn’t get to and 2 years ago I was a million miles from.

Let me hit you with a few truths:

– You can holler body positivity until you are blue in the face, if it ain’t happening for you, it ain’t happening full stop. You need to find something that makes it happen and that may very well be a DIET. It might be bulking up. Fuck, it might be plastic surgery, but whatever it is, for me, it’s not accepting that this is me and rolling with it.

– It’s not about the label sizes. This is true, label sizes don’t mean a thing. Large, small, arbitrary numbers, they mean nothing. What means something is not justifying to yourself that you are unhealthy – be that for whatever reason – with I’m body confident. Nu-uh. I’m not body confident anymore. I’m overweight by a country mile and I HATE my body, I feel sad and uncomfortable. No amount of justifying to myself is going to change that changing room saga where I leave feeling down.

– Being unhappy with your body doesn’t mean you need to meditate and find your inner confidence, it means you need to change it. Sorry, it’s the truth and one I’ve been denying for a time. It’s not about accepting it, not conforming to society, it’s about saying “hey, I feel sad and like shit, I can’t walk up the stairs without sounding like a sex pest so I need to work on this. I need to find MY healthy.”

– Trying to embrace body confidence when you don’t have it will bite you on the bum. Hard. You will suddenly realise that you have no confidence and that no amount of forcing it is going to make it come.

– Following body confidence on social media is lovely… but what is the actual message? Love your body? I know my body is amazing but I’m not keen on its shape. You don’t like your interior you redecorate. So… why not my body now?

My point here is that no matter how hard I try to embrace that I’m larger, that I shouldn’t deny myself whatever I want to fit some arbitrary rule, I can’t do that anymore. I’m getting bigger and bigger the more I’m forcing myself this unacceptable ideal of body confidence and give-a-damn about my weight/size attitude. It’s not me. I give a damn and I’m deeply unhappy with mine.

So I’m changing it.

In the meantime I am also avoiding shopping for new outfits because, guess what, I won’t like em anyway because I don’t like my shape and body. As for “we can’t punish ourselves for being larger”… well, it certainly helped me lose 6 stone last time so, yeah, I guess I can.

13 Comments

  1. August 7, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    I spent years of time and money on gyms up until I had kids. I then embraced mid aged spread. It feels good not to worry about fitting into those smaller sizes just to say you can 🙂

  2. Bee
    April 19, 2018 / 8:58 am

    The body positivity movement (at least what I think of it as) is for embracing bodies for being bodies and not their sizes, that all bodies deserve the same respect. It’s not to tell people they can’t lose weight if they’re unhappy etc. Ultimately your body is your own. I do believe that it’s ridiclously important for plus size to be represented, the amount of young people (and adults) affected by eating disorders is truly sad, I do believe having varying role models will help them to realise that not everybody is going to be slim naturally and not all larger people are unhealthy. I follow a lot of plus size women who could kick my ass in the gym any day!

  3. April 18, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    So as you know, ive been on a journey towards body confidence so I’ve been trying to educate myself on body positivity. Now, from what I’ve learned, body confidence is about loving your body, being confident with it but body positivity is a political movement to address issues felt by more marginalised bodies. With the first, you could diet, you could do whatever to make yourself feel better, with the second, you absolutely can’t diet etc because it’s at odds with body positivity as a political movement. They believe we shouldn’t want to change more marginalised bodies to be more mainstream. We should be celebrating them etc. I’ve been guilty in the past of using the terms interchangeably but recently I’ve come to understand the true meaning. Personally though, I’m not there still. And frankly, I think it would be easier to go on a diet and conform than try to unpick 34 years of social conditioning. The thing is, I think it probably is possible to teach yourself true body positivity but it’s going to take a fuck load of work – Therapy, reading tonnes of books, completely filtering your media etc. You would have to work at it just as much as any diet, so it’s no wonder so many of us still don’t like our bodies. I’m sure it’s worth it in the end, but my body issues run so deep I wonder whether I could really do it. Since educating myself more about body positivity I feel more conflicted than ever as now I feel like I have body positivity in one ear and diet culture in the other and I have an internal struggle. I dunno, I’ve got more thinking and unpicking to do on this yet!

  4. April 18, 2018 / 10:48 am

    Totally with you on this. I have body confidence as far as I’m going to stop beating myself up about being a hot mess because it’s utterly exhausting, but I’m not happy or healthy the way I am so as much as I don’t care that my butt shelf is back, I am going to change it. Body positivity in the right way is bloody awesome but I need to feel happy and healthy too. It’s amazing how crappy a few extra pounds can make you feel xx

    • Harriet April 18, 2018 / 10:55 am

      Exactly this. This isn’t a diss on body positivity, in the right way it’s fab, but in the wrong way, I just end up being so unhealthy and uncomfortable. H 🙂

  5. Anjanette
    April 18, 2018 / 9:32 am

    It’s like you took a peek inside my head! I’ve started following plus size stylish ladies on IG in the hope that their body confidence would rub off on me – and although they look great and happy I’m just not feeling it. I’ve always been curvy but now being a size 12/14 (in my twenties) looks way better than my current size 18 – I wish I appreciated my old size back then!
    And its true (it hurts) but we just got do something about it – which is bloody hard when you’ve had a hard day with the kids and you just want to stuff yourself silly at the end of the day for some sort of reward or you just love food! So I’m with you on this… it’s ok to want do some self-improvements if it makes us happier!xx

    • Harriet April 18, 2018 / 10:37 am

      Thanks for making me feel less alone lovely. It’s really hard isn’t it. It’s become almost taboo to say that you don’t buy in to body positivity but it depends on your health. x

  6. Lauren
    April 18, 2018 / 8:26 am

    Amazing. It’s exactly how I’ve been feeling for months but couldn’t find the words. I admire all the men and women that embrace their bodies and are happy but I myself am not happy yet. There’s work to be done to feel comfortable in my own skin and using the whole, “she’s bigger and so much happier I must be mental and just accept my body” made me miserable for months cause I couldn’t accept it and felt I was wrong for that but as you put it. Need to find your own healthy. There’s to much pressure from all angles to be skinny, to accept your curves, to make a change. There should be a spa that we should all be sent to to find our inner happiness and balance without outside pressure. And I’m all for a few spa treatments in the process haha.

    • Harriet April 18, 2018 / 10:39 am

      Ohhh I love this comment. All the yes. x

  7. G
    April 18, 2018 / 8:14 am

    Body positivey is whatever works for you to make you feel good. Not what someone else on social media is saying works for them . I’ve already put on the 6kg I put on with my first (yes ! Just 6kg) by 15 weeks preg with twins lol Im feeling ok now because I know my body is doing what it needs to do to grow two babies and that’s great. But it doesn’t mean I won’t try to go back to prior when I’ve had them ! And that’s cool. Maybe other mamas don’t. Also cool! Each to their own!

    • Harriet April 18, 2018 / 10:39 am

      I couldn’t agree more. I was speaking to a friend who received so much back lash for promoting weight loss through exercise because it was “shaming” people and why couldn’t she just be happy with herself. NO. Her body is hers, it’s about finding a place you’re happy and not misusing the body positivity movement to excuse allowing yourself to be less healthy and unhappy.

  8. G
    April 18, 2018 / 8:06 am

    Ain’t no shame in it 🙂 I’ve had plastic surgery as I hated my nose… 🙂 i also went to effort to lose pregnancy weight after my first child and no doubt i will do again as I’ve put on quite a bit with this pregnancy. Good luck whatever you decide to do. You ARE gorgeous but it’s important YOU feel that way yourself as well as others thinking that you are .

    Love

    • Harriet April 18, 2018 / 8:09 am

      Thanks lovely – it’s exactly this isn’t it? It’s what works for you and I do think that you can fall into the trap of using the body positivity movement as a crutch. H x

Leave a Reply to Lauren Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.