Losing Weight in a Body Positive World

     Desiring a different body shape has become synonymous with hating your own. For as long as I can remember, I have constantly been told to strive for skinny and to lust for weight loss. I have been made to feel ashamed and embarrased of the body I am in. As time passed, I began to accept my body and ultimately learned to love it. However, despite the love that I have for it, I was, and still am, an unhealthy weight. As I expressed my desire to become healthier and workout more, I gained pushback from people who associate wanting to be healthier with being disgusted by my body. 

     At the beginning of this year, I yearned to be healthier meaning I wanted to lose weight. While at my annual check-up, my doctor informed me that I was unhealthy, and would quickly gain many issues in the future if I did not make a change. As I began making those changes and expressed an inclination towards a healthier life, I constantly heard, "you just hate your body and should learn to love it." The more I listened to this, the more frustrated I became. 

     I had to wonder when society began associating wanting to better one's health with hating the body you're in. I would go to the gym. "You're beautiful the way you are." I would choose the healthier food option. "Wow that's all you're going to eat? Are you starving yourself?" I would celebrate when I lost a pound. "What happened to body positivity?" While I admired and appreciated the sentiment, I only grew frustrated. However, while I became frustrated, I stopped and questioned why we associate weight loss with being mentally unhealthy, and I examined many aspects of my life, coming to a startling conclusion. Society has made the two synonymous.

     As a child, I was constantly told to change my flaws. I was told to hide them behind the parts of me that I didn't find as repulsing. My family, friends, and acquaintances all made me think the same thing; I should be ashamed of my body. I was told to change. Hide. Disappear. The problem is now we have to rewire our brains to ignore what we have been told since we were children. Sadly, to do this we must completely remove the idea of wanting to change. Since we have associated change with not liking what we have, we have concluded that we must stop people from wanting to change their bodies for any reason. however, all this has done is create shame for wanting to be healthier. 

     I have found the change to be frustrating because it should not be all or nothing. People should be able to want to get healthier or be their most confident without fear of the pushback they may receive. I have been made fun of and mocked for being a larger woman, and I have also been shamed for wanting to lose weight. It is ridiculous that we, as women, cannot live without having to justify every action involving our weight, body, and self-image. You should not feel shame in the body you have, nor should you feel shame in wanting to better yourself. Remember that you are beautiful and worthy in every shape and size.