Does a weight loss blog belong in a list of body positive spaces? Of course not, but…

A couple of weeks ago, A popular Instagram account referred to me as a “body positive” woman of color.. I thanked them very politely for the inclusion and went back to hiding in the shadows, as I usually do in all things “body positivity”, because what happened next is what always happens.

I later received a message asking why I would take up space on body positivity like weight loss bloggerstating that weight loss and body positivity are completely incongruent and I was wrong to insert myself there based on what I represent.

And listen, I get it. A major part of what attracts people to body positivity is an escape from diet culture: we are inundated with the idea that our lives are deficient and we, as people, as women—they are failures who will never reach our full potential without thinness. We need spaces that reject that idea, that encourage us to reject that idea. We need spaces that allow us to define our own successes and that allow us to celebrate without a qualifier that basically amounts to “but are you thin?”

Diet culture tells us that we don’t deserve privileges and successes that come from our own hard work. unless we are thin Diet culture is when you see years of research showing that plus-size women are denied promotions, graduate programs, and many other opportunities.rarely, if ever, men— and no one bats an eyelid. In fact, you receive tweets admitting the practice.

Diet culture is when men feel comfortable completely ignoring you and denying you basic human needs like communication, all because they’re not attracted to you. And instead of questioning who raised him, he questions his value as a human being. And, when you try to explain this to others, they tell you that the solution to your problem can be found in… weight loss.

If body positivity is a respite from all that, then those spaces shouldn’t include weight loss. They shouldn’t do it.

So why would you find me there?

Over the years, I have always maintained that shame is no substitute for motivation. A person should not be motivated by social isolation and other punitive measures to do anything, let alone something as drastic as changing their bodies. No one can learn meaningfully if they feel ashamed of not knowing it, or of knowing it and not being able to execute it.

And I think that’s why people include me: fitness information without the shame component.

People come to the conclusion that they need to change the way they eat or lose weight or focus on a certain chronic illness for various reasons. A long conversation with a doctor, recovering from a difficult surgery, a health problem at home—all things that can abruptly change a person’s mind. It doesn’t have to be some feeling of inadequacy that compels you in this direction. Someone has to provide people with information that doesn’t demean them for not knowing; He does not shame them for not doing; and they don’t get the impression that suffering is somehow the key to success. People need a place where they can hear the facts without the pretense of flaws, failures or inadequacies.

Diet culture tries to define who deserves empathy, who can live with some kind of dignity. Diet culture tries to define who deserves it; I tell you that you were never undeserving. You don’t have to be thin to be or feel beautiful here, and there will never be anyone here trying to tell you that you have to be a certain size for your goals or intentions to be valid. Your smile should be as bright at 330 pounds as it is at 230 pounds or more. And no one here would bat an eyelid.

Do I belong to body positivity spaces? No, I am not a safe space. No matter what language I use, there are always members of my community who might use language that isn’t entirely supportive of larger bodies, or words that cause insecurity. As much as I want to control or change that, I know my limitations. But I, as an individual writer, can work to be a resource that not only provides clear information, free of bias and judgment, but is also someone trying to change the way health and fitness content is written on the internet. And if that makes the world an easier place to live for those on the front lines of body positivity, then I’ve done something I can be proud of.

PS: If you want suggestions on current body positive spaces online, take a look at these recommendations from one of my favorite people in the world, my good sister Marie de The fashionista with curves.

PPS: Here’s a look at the last time I wrote about this and a look at the moment before.

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