If you saw my post about my current struggle with professional clothing, you’ll know that I am far from fully embracing my body as-is. As much as I would love to be the kind of woman who feels that my curves mean that I have “more to love” or that they are “dangerous”, I’m just not there. Not right now, at least, but I am working on it.
I recently read an article about how Joni Edelman, the editor-in-chief of Ravishly, went through a transformation recently where as before, her articles were about being proud in her curves and embracing her shape, she is now openly discussing how she’s been losing weight. She describes her journey as being in “the space between” dieting and being fully body-positive. And she’s received mixed reactions to this new direction she’s taken with her body.
Which got me thinking, can you be fully body-positive and still want to lose weight?
You love your body with the recognition and acceptance of every spot, line, jiggle, etc. That seems to imply that wanting to lose weight is counter-intuitive to being body-positive because desiring to lose weight is desiring to change what you have claimed to love unconditionally.
Honestly, this bothers me. And I didn’t fully realize that it did until reading the article about Joni Edelman and thinking of all of the comments she must be receiving. On the one hand, I understand if people feel let down. If she was a source of inspiration that people looked to to feel better about their own bodies, only to have her say that now she desires to change hers, I can see that being disappointing. To that, however, I feel like there is a danger in relying on another individual for total inspiration. Because while it’s natural and wonderful to have role models to push you further in a direction you wish to go, it’s dangerous to rely on another individual to fill in a missing piece of your own life. At the end of the day, people are going to do what they want and nobody should let their value system crumble because someone they looked up to is no longer walking the path they desire.
The other piece of this is the question of being body-positive and still wanting to lose weight. For me, the breakdown comes in looking at things in black and white terms. When we decide that we are going to love our bodies and embrace what we may think of as “flaws”, does that mean that we can’t also want to feel a bit healthier? Or that we are deciding that today’s acceptable is not tomorrow’s?
I don’t have the answer, but in my gut I feel like it’s okay to want to lose weight, while putting the emphasis on happiness is dangerous. “I feel like trying to get in better shape so I feel better” is different from “I’ll be happy when I lose 20 pounds”. But truly, it’s us who decide when we cross that line. Nobody else can really tell us where it is. So I guess all we can do is be mindful of our inner thoughts, try to look at ourselves like we’d look at a friend, and be honest. Above all, be honest with ourselves.
Take care of yourselves,