Do I Belong in the Body Positive Community?

In the body positivity world, I often hear self love adages like “love your cellulite” and “eat what you want.”  I love these and have since added my own affirmations to the list:

  • Eat what feels good (like pizza for breakfast!).
  • Relax and release my stomach, taking up the space I deserve.
  • Release food from being the enemy; instead thank it for nourishing me.

I love these affirmations and strive to live by them every day. But these sayings are dominant in the bopo community, while other things I enjoy feel wrong to mention — outlier affirmations I haven’t found space for.

These are happy-moment tickets like:

  • Splurge on the pre-made salad: I love it plus it spares me from cooking.
  • Be bold and beat yesterday’s spin class PR.
  • Get curious around recipes, replacing applesauce for eggs and almond flour for all-purpose, to make them more filling and satisfying.

I love vegetables, I love my dairy-free zucchini bread, and I love to sweat. But I also love my stomach rolls (#feedthepooch!) and am a student of intuitive eating (eating as I please, without assigning value to foods).

So where do these pleasures fall? Are they invisible peripheral dwellers that no one talks about? Or worse, are they outside of the body positivity world and counter-productive to its efforts?

I have chosen to make them a part of my body positive world. I shout for inclusion of these happy-moment tickets and simultaneously make sure I’m shouting loud for inclusion of all bodies: for mine, for a friend’s, for the oppressed’s, and for the underrepresented’s. There is no difference or value attributed to eating a salad versus eating a cake, just like there are no good bodies and no bad bodies.

I refuse to think I need to act, eat, or be a certain way to join the body positivity movement. In my opinion, doing so would degrade the body positivity movement to match the dangerous exclusivity of today’s whitewashed “wellness” clique (where anyone who doesn’t juice cleanse and can’t meditate for 30 minutes on a white sand beach need not apply).

Body positivity does not mean I change what I genuinely enjoy: it means loving myself regardless of size, shouting loudly in support of all bodies, and creating more spaces where bodies can be loved, not judged.

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