Mind positivity over body positivity

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
Body Positivity, just as bad as the skinny trend. We are missing an important point.

On thin ice

Ever since sports brand Nike advertised with a plus size mannequin a few years ago, Body Positivity has been trending. Not a day goes by without posts of celebrities in bikini’s pleading for more body  positivity. The topic is too delicate and complex to make some brief statements about it. It takes a lot of nuances. Nevertheless we are missing an important point here:

Embrace uniqueness...

One the one hand, it’s amazing that people (mostly women) feel the need to get out of their comfort zone and post pictures of themselves in a bikini, with the purpose of demonstrating the fact that bodies are unique and incomparable. Or with the purpose of telling especially young girls that they do not have to look like a thin supermodel. If these women feel empowered by posting those pictures, if they feel they need to do that, fine. (Every body is unique)

... but not fat glorification

On the other  hand, half of the world population is overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of chronic lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes type 2,  cardiovascular diseases, depression and cancer. (The risks of being overweight). Although overweight people might feel healthy today and do not experience health issues, they do have an increased risk of disease later on in life (Emergency in slow motion). Relating being overweight as something ‘positive’ means relating being at risk as ‘acceptable’.

Embrace how you look: Both wrong

The more important point here is: Both sides (thin as the standard as well as overweight as the standard) are grounded from the same principle. Both are about appearance, societal standards and opinions of others related to self-esteem. Either someone should match the norm of a thin body to be and to feel good; or someone should embrace an overweight body to be ok and to feel good. (From fat shaming to fat glorification)

If the goal of body positivity is to teach women and young girls to feel good about themselves by embracing the way they look, we are missing the point. Because feeling good about yourself should mean feeling good about your physical, mental and emotional health, about the choices we make in life; about friend and family, work, hobbies and all others aspects of life.

So instead of posting bikini pictures, we need to teach women and young girls to embrace a healthy lifestyle. That lifestyle includes taking good care of yourself with healthy nutritional habits including having a snack every once in a while; with healthy exercise habits including doing activities we enjoy instead of feel we need to do; with healthy mental and emotional investments such as meditating, doing nothing, having proper sleep and spending time with lovedones.

A healthy lifestyle means taking good care of your body and your mind on a daily basis and feeling in control. It’s about developing  self-worthiness based on you as a person. It’s about mental growth and developing resilience against opinions of others and posts on social media of people in bikini, fit girls or crazy diets (Inner voice or social media, who wins?)

Mind positivity over body positivity.

Create your own health!©