Understanding the Difference Between Body Positivity and Glorifying Obesity

Have you ever looked at a model or influencer and wished to have a slim, smooth, and glowing body like them? If so, you must have also cringed at the lumps of fat on your belly, right?

Television, social media, magazines, and the film industry feed us with the image of an ‘ideal or normal’ body, usually fair-skinned and slim. You must have watched shows or movies where fat people are made the target of jokes and are ridiculed for their walking or eating style.

Understanding the Difference Between Body Positivity and Glorifying Obesity: Pills and a measuring tape

“Hating our bodies is something that we learn, and it sure as hell is something that we can unlearn.”

Megan Jayne Crabbe 

This socially constructed image of the ‘ideal body’ gets so entrenched in our minds that we consciously or unconsciously start critiquing people with bodies incompatible with it. We don’t even realize when our brain jumps to the problematic conclusion of healthy being synonymous with thin.

Body shaming is unacceptable and needs to stop!

Comments like ‘you look thin in black’, ‘when did you lose weight, your skin is glowing’ e.t.c become so natural to us that we fail to perceive what we are in fact adhering to, is body shaming. 

Understanding the Difference Between Body Positivity and Glorifying Obesity: A skinny and a chubby girl sitting together

We even become self-critical of the little lumps of fat that develop in our belly while sitting, which can increase to an extent where one might stop wearing tight clothes or even take a balanced diet.

“No one has the right to demand that your body be something other than what it is.” 

Agnostic Zetetic

Body shaming refers to the ugly practice of criticizing and bullying a person for their physical appearance. This practice is vicious and unacceptable as it takes a mental toll on its victims, causing depression, low self-esteem, shame, and in severe cases, even suicide.

Supporting body positivity: from the path of shame to that of pride!

Some people absurdly believe in the myth that body-shaming helps in losing weight. Contrarily, people exposed to weight discrimination are more likely to become obese.

A 2019 study published in Pediatric Obesity shows that teasing kids about their weight is directly proportional to weight gain. Hence, the more they are criticized about their weight, the more they gain it.[1]

Understanding the Difference Between Body Positivity and Glorifying Obesity: A chubby girl throwing her hat in joy

Everyone should have the right to be comfortable and confident in their bodies. Hence body-shaming is in no way justified and should be condemned. Instead, what we should propagate is the message of body positivity, which takes us from the path of shame to that of pride.

Glorifying obesity in the name of body positivity is not okay!

Body Positivity is the practice of embracing all body types, irrespective of their shape, size, or color. It challenges society’s view towards the human body and dismisses its unrealistic expectations regarding one’s body image.

Understanding the Difference Between Body Positivity and Glorifying Obesity: A group of chubby people sitting together

While introducing plus-sized models, normalizing fat, and accepting the idea that all body types can be healthy,we should also be aware of the thin line between promoting body positivity and lauding obesity.

Where body-shaming is a social practice that affects us mentally, obesity is a disease.

Obesity is a life-threatening disease, not something to be mocked or embraced!

As declared by the American Medical Association in 2013, obesity is a complex, chronic disease that requires medical attention, which if neglected, can have serious consequences, like heart strokes, type 2 diabetes, and even various kinds of cancer.[2]

Understanding the Difference Between Body Positivity and Glorifying Obesity: A chubby girl.

This article does not aim to make anyone feel less confident or inferior about their body, instead, we strive to propagate self-awareness and inspiration to monitor the changes that our bodies undergo and the effects of excessive fat on them. 

WHO’s claim that the obesity rate has tripled in the last 40 years because of the modern lifestyle gives us a valid reason to take special care of our bodies.[3] Obesity, if detected in the early stages is very much treatable, if genetic, can be kept under control. But once it plunges into its complexities, it can even cause death.

Monitoring the changes in your body can help you stay healthy.

You can be of any body type and at the same time be happy and healthy, and trust me, there is nothing better than that. But following the age-old saying,’ prevention is better than cure,’ monitoring your body and a few routine checkups causes no harm.

So whenever you notice a sudden increase in your weight, sweating, trouble sleeping, skin problems, or other symptoms hurling at you all at once, go for a precautionary full-body medical checkup. This will detect if your fat is natural or symptomatic of the life-threatening disease, obesity.

Obsess over getting healthy, not fat or thin!

With our ever-increasing workload, stress, dropping air quality, and the food we consume, human health is deteriorating collectively, and in such a scenario, negligence is unacceptable.

Understanding the Difference Between Body Positivity and Glorifying Obesity: A girl holding blueberries

So, along with promoting body positivity, embracing your fat lumps, and accepting others as they are, we urge you to be a little more alert of what your body is going through. No one is asking you to be obsessed over getting thin, but yes, an obsession to be healthy is a good one.  

“A fit, healthy body—that is the best fashion statement” 

Jess C Scott

Liked this piece. Also read, A Healthy Belly Is a Secret to a Healing Mind.

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