First up – trigger warning – this post discusses diet culture, anti-fat bias, body dysmorphia and talk about obsessing over your body. If any of these topics raise issues for you, please click away. If you listen to this episode and feel like you need more support, please visit butterfly.org.au.
Second up – these stunning images are via the extraordinarily talented Annie Spratt. Her photos are license-free and she took them of her own body because she hated that photos of women like her (and me!) aren’t widely available in the free photography space. You can find her website here and Instagram here. Show her some love.
The way we view our bodies is extremely complicated. The body acceptance movement changes all the time and it’s deeply embroiled in capitalism, racism, classism and a lot of other nasty ‘isms’. It’s a tricky topic to tackle.
I’ve been gently dipping my toe in the waters of the body acceptance or body neutrality movement. I’ve been following some fantastic people online who explain these things very well but I’m still confused.
I like my body. I really do. I’m very good to it – I exercise often and I eat very well almost all of the time. However, with the amount of effort I put into my body, I’ve always believed it should look better than it does. It should be smaller, more toned. Thinner. Take up less space.
I sit somewhere between a size 14 and 16 most of the time. Generally, when my size 16 clothes get a touch tight on me, I go stricter with my diet and get back down to a size 14 and I repeat the cycle every few years. Most people wouldn’t even notice this – I can gain and lose 10 kilos without anyone blinking an eye but I feel different when my body is smaller. I love myself at both sizes but I feel more comfortable when I’m smaller. It has nothing to do with appearance and more to do with workouts being a bit easier and my clothes being a bit more comfortable. I don’t look at this as crash dieting by the way it’s more of a natural fluctuation of weight and conscious body maintenance.
But then I have to question is that really right? Or have I been taught that this is the correct way to feel about my body? I used to think I waxed my legs because I enjoyed the silky sensation of smooth skin but the truth is I was TAUGHT to enjoy the silky sensation of smooth skin. My male partner wasn’t taught this. If it’s so great why doesn’t he do it? Why don’t most men do it like most women do it? Would I have ever even thought about how my legs feel if the beauty industry didn’t bring it up all the time?
If I lived in total isolation and my body looked the same as it does now would hate it? To be honest, I probably wouldn’t even think about it. How amazing does that sound?
This week’s guest is my beautiful friend April from @thebodzilla – we’ve been online and real-life friends for years and April is walking apple pie. She’s positive, bright and gorgeous. Her smile is off the chain. You know when you meet people and they smile at you and it’s like you’ve blessed by a rainbow? That’s April. Just one of those mega infectious joy-filled people. She does a lot of work in the body-positive space and I thought she’d be a good person to chat to about improving your own self-talk habits around your body.
In this episode, we chat about…
• The pitfalls and mistakes you can make with body positivity and neutrality
• The diet industry and what cluster fuck it is
• Are we even allowed to want to lose weight anymore?
• Anti-fat bias – what it is and what it means for the fat community
• The importance of language and the preferred words to use when speaking in the anti-fat bias space
• Tips for truly embracing body positivity/neutrality
• Things to stop doing if you actually want to live safely in your own body
• My 5 personal pledges I’m committing to when it comes to my own body acceptance and raising my daughter with body neutrality
So if you’ve been wanting to care a lot less about your body and get the hell on with your life, this episode is for you.
Reviews and ratings make the podcasting world go around – I’d absolutely love it if you could review the podcast here.
Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve started sending weekly newsletters again and they’re full of useful things!