THE BODY POSITIVITY MOVEMENT HAS A PROBLEM…
Happy Sunday Friends!
Let’s start with a lil story…
You might already know about me and my journey as a wellness coach, but just as a refresher: I became a certified personal trainer, I worked in corrective exercise, and then I went back to school to study integrative nutrition and holistic health. All because I believe that every single person is deserving of feeling awesome when it comes to their relationships with their body and with food. And while I loved coaching one on one about Body Positivity, I slowly started to realize that I was becoming part of a problem that, in my opinion, has been seriously messing up the entire Body Positivity Movement. And that problem stems from this black and white view of body positive health.
What do I mean by that?
What I mean is, there’s this idea that in order to be body positive you have to not want to exercise, not want to eat healthy, not have any desire to change your body in any way, not be curious about the world of nutrition, and be suspect of anybody who feels the opposite. On the other side, you have this idea put forth by the world of “fitspo,” that health is some sort of race towards perfection, where even a bite of cake will completely derail or negate any healthy things you’ve done or changes you’ve made. So where does a human person fit into this? They don’t! There seems to be no place for people who want a completely loved-based approach to moving their bodies and incorporating gentle nutrition principles into their lifestyle. And enjoying f*cking cake, because what is life without cake???
And that’s why this blog and shifting my own work as a coach is so important to me, because I want to bring clarity to the Body Positivity movement. And what’s more, I want to make the Body Positivity movement more welcoming and inclusive than ever before.
Now you might be thinking, but the Body Positivity movement is welcoming and inclusive!
Okay, cool, but let’s think about this: right now, people generally equate body positivity with women who are curvier or who don’t look like the typical model we’ve seen splashed on magazine covers for way too long. We also might picture someone who we would call “brave” for being body positive, which is super weird and condescending to tell someone how brave it is for them to love themselves because they’re bigger.
On the flip side, when someone really thin or fit says they’re body positive, a lot of times they catch a buttload of negativity, much of it implying that due to their smaller size, they don’t belong in the body positive movement because they don’t need it. As in: smaller people don’t need to take time to love their bodies and shouldn’t ever need a reminder that they’re beautiful because they’re already small. Meanwhile, bigger women need the body positivity movement because they must be really desperate for some body love and encouragement because how could they love themselves when they’re bigger?
You see where I’m going with this? And thus, we have people who are afraid to be part of a fitness community because they feel like they don’t belong or afraid to ask for help when it comes to understanding how nutrition and their bodies work because that shouldn’t matter when you’re body positive.
IT IS COMPLETELY MESSED UP and it’s making something that is already supremely complicated even more complicated, because it’s adding extra layers of fear and shame. Now, not only is there fear and shame around having issues with food or your body, it’s also shameful to talk about it or look for guidance to understand how to live your best life.
And all of this depresses the f*ck out of me.
So, not that you need anyone’s permission, but if you have been struggling with food or if you have been looking to make changes or challenge yourself to try something new fitness-wise? It’s okay to talk about it and it’s okay to ask for support!
I like to think of it this way, and, because I’m me, I’m going to get to my point in a very circuitous, yet humorous way…You know how some people love watching pimple popping videos? Well, I love watching chiropractic adjustment videos. Call me crazy, I love it. Anyway, in one video, a patient is being worked on to help his horrible pain, and after the first adjustment his back goes into spasm. So all the nurses kind of move towards him, but the doctor is like: “no, let him be, his body knows what to do, we’ll guide him if he needs us.” And that patient, with his back still in spasm, begins to slowly turn and move onto all fours on the ground, and then onto his side, and then back again, with the chiropractor gently touching him to help him as he moves in the direction he needs to. And his spasm goes away. The doctor was right, stuff was changing in this guy’s body, his body was reacting to it, this man’s body knew what to do about the reaction, and he was able to move through with gentle guidance from outside help.
All this to say: that voice inside your head that has been yearning for change or has been wondering about trying something or learning something new? That voice deserves to be listened to. Your body knows what it needs. It’s just that we’re so used to the media and society telling us that we don’t know what we need, that our own inner voice has gotten timid and turned it’s volume way down. It’s definitely not wrong, it’s just quiet.
So your task for this week is to keep an open ear for that little voice, and when it begins to pipe up: listen to it! I bet you it’s saying things you’ve been needing to hear all along.
PS. On December 7th I am starting a new Virtual Wellness Group. I am taking all of my expertise, and putting it along with modalities I personally use and wholeheartedly believe in, to make sure that you are supported on all fronts. I want you to feel confident through movement, through meditation, through healing your relationship with food, and with loving yourself through all seasons of life. I want to be able to combine the techniques I’ve used with one on one clients, along with exercise and gentle nutrition. And I want to do so in a way that is attainable and sustainable for everyone.
Not only that, but this month’s group is special because it is all based around Stacey Abrams’ group Fair Fight, and helping end voter suppression in this country (here’s some more info on the organization: https://fairfight.com/about-fair-fight/) With the upcoming runoffs in Georgia fast approaching, I wanted to build a link between doing good for yourself and doing good for others. So, when you join the group, every time you invest in yourself through movement or nutrition, you add to a total sum that will be donated in our group’s name to Fair Fight to help with the Georgia Runoff races. You are also automatically entered into a raffle to win a pair of Apple Airpods, because, you know, the holidays are about giving and receiving.
If you’re interested, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/danidangerstolls/