Eat, guilt, restrict, binge, guilt, restrict, binge, guilt, restrict.
This is a cycle that far too many of us are far too familiar with. The reasons behind this feeling of guilt after eating nearly anything are a lot more ingrained than we think. It is put in our heads from a young age that eating food and feeling full should result in regret. It stems from “cheat meals” and “you’re not fat, you’re beautiful!”
Fat shaming is pushed on each one of us, mainly girls, through every avenue of media and every aspect of our social lives. I remember being 11 and looking in the mirror, sucking in my stomach to look thinner. Girls are taught that the number on the scale dictates their worth.
Not that all of us are told directly that being fat is the worst thing you could be, but that’s the message that is being sent to us. Recently there was a “plus size” model in a bikini on a sports magazine. She was a size 6. Do you know the average size for a female in the US? A 12-14.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that we are having more average looking bodies on covers of magazines, but how detrimental is it to label a size 6 as plus sized when the average is a size 14? It leads to feeling ashamed, due to the negative association with “plus size”, if you are a size 6 or up. This is the kind of standard that leads to fat shaming and self hatred. It causes repetitive, unhealthy eating habits that can be extremely harmful.
I’ve been seeing a lot more body positivity trending lately and I absolutely love it. However, there is still a lot of fat shaming that goes on with body positivity. Those who exceed a certain look or weight are often excluded. It feels like “you can be proud of your body until you reach this point, then it’s unhealthy”.
The idea of loving your body no matter what is phenomenal, but it seems that skinny people are often trying to dictate what is body positive and what is not. For example, if a heavy girl wears a crop top it is automatically considered body positive. Sounds good, right? But what say does the girl in the shirt have? She should be the one to decide if she’s feeling body positive that day. A heavy person wearing a crop top is not always doing it to take a stand. Wearing a certain style is not inherently brave, people can wear what they want.
What I’m getting at is that, from a young age, we need to teach people that there is not one correct way to look (talk, skinny, fit, white, blonde). It is absolutely great to love your body, but having it be the deciding factor on your worth can be extremely harmful. So love yourself for whatever body you have, and don’t try to tell other people what do do with theirs.
Stop policing what people wear, stop deciding what makes a person body positive, stop only complimenting people when they lose weight. Start loving yourself and those around you for reasons other than their body.