We Aren’t ‘Celebrating Obesity’ — The Truth Behind Body Positivity

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“Jillian Michaels, you got it way wrong. We’re not celebrating obesity, however, we are celebrating acceptance.

Let’s clear this up. In 2020, you asked why we were focused on Lizzo’s body rather than her music. You then said if Lizzo got diabetes, ‘It wasn’t going to be awesome.’

Ever since then, I’ve seen you, the fitness mogul, in a different light. And just like you have to work it out, I have to write it out.

Jillian, we wouldn’t be happy if ANYONE got diabetes. And well, thin people get diabetes, too. So, can we stop with the body-shaming already? Enough is enough.

Your size is not always an indication of your health. And your size isn’t the only size the whole world wants. Hate to break it to you, Jillian, but someone out there doesn’t prefer your six-pack. Does that make you any less? Absolutely not. Do I say this to shame you? Absolutely not. I’m making a point that there is no standard of beauty and you need to stop living like we either meet your checklist or we don’t.

Your body is your own. No justification is needed. Lizzo’s body is her own. No justification is needed. Both are very different bodies. But say it with me: No. Justification. Is. Needed.

Your body makes you part of an endless flood of humans who come in all different shapes and sizes. And we need to never say any of these shapes should not be talked about because one doesn’t measure up to your idea of acceptance.

You may not prefer Lizzo, and that is your right, but I think we learned in grade school if we didn’t have anything nice to say then we shouldn’t say anything at all.

I’m not saying we should celebrate eating copious amounts of food and gaining copious amounts of weight, either. Health is important.

But belittling someone will never justify your ‘healthy’ message. In fact, it just dilutes it.

Health isn’t limited to organs and body mass, Jillian. There’s a mental health component that gets affected when you choose certain words. Our minds are not treadmills you can just run on. You need to tread a little lighter here because mental health needs just as much care as you claim physical health does.

Your commentary didn’t come from a place of compassion. If it did, you would be just as worried about the thin person and their chance of getting diabetes as you are the overweight person.

Do you go around asking people who are not overweight what they eat in a day to make certain their foods are within the diabetes preventative category? Doubt it.

Instead, you saw an image that wasn’t pleasing to your eyes and made a comment based on that.

Here’s the thing, Jillian, comments like yours hold weight. Again, weight isn’t just limited to pounds. Sometimes, the weight of the words we carry can be just as fatal or even more fatal than the weight of the pounds we carry.

Comments like yours are why people have self-esteem issues. Comments like yours cause people to feel less about themselves and you wonder why people cope with carbohydrates.

If you want to contribute to the obesity epidemic you constantly speak about, start with compassion. Words matter to people just as much as your calorie intake and fitness matter to you.

Acceptance matters.

Empathy matters.

Class matters.

Knowing when to keep your opinions to yourself matters.

Tact, yep, it matters.

When the reporter asked you about Lizzo, she asked you your thoughts on the body-positive movement taking over our generation. You had your chance to contribute to a beautiful cause, and you chose to go low.

I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism. I know what objectivity is like the back of my hand. You can call me a journalistic fraud, but this is one topic I would never see both sides of. Perhaps because I live it every day. And it is not until most of us live something do we truly understand the pain that comes with it. Empathy, my friend, empathy.

And not just you, everyone. To the people who will never struggle with food or weight, please listen. If you want people to care about their health, you should be an example of how they can care about their thoughts, too.

Long ago, a psychologist told me thoughts determine your actions and IT IS SO TRUE. What if you were Lizzo? What if you were the girl that was 600 pounds on the reality show and your struggle with weight and addiction was used to entertain others?

What if you were the one that was on the receiving end of constant family jokes and harsh criticisms because you carried more weight than society finds acceptable (remember, you’re society)?

Would you want someone to say to you, ‘Oh, we shouldn’t be glorifying so and so’s weight because if they get diabetes it won’t be pretty?’’ Or, would you rather them say to you, ‘You know what, you’re beautiful. Period.’

Yes, beautiful.

Yes, period.

An overweight person already carries enough self-doubt and skewed perspective. Why do they need to carry your bias, too?

Knowing you’re beautiful and just beautiful. Nothing more. No stipulations. No ‘but, the weight.’ Just a plain beautiful reminder can get you out of the bed in the morning. Can make you feel a sense of worth that is life-changing.

When you have enough of that, you tend to like yourself more. When you like yourself more, you tend to want to fight your demons just a little harder instead of letting them win.

There is also a scientific component to food addiction that plays into all of this and can easily erase what I just said, too. So, why not address that?

Why not address why people eat instead of making statements that imply we shouldn’t make positive comments about someone’s body because it doesn’t look like yours? And you’re worried about diabetes? Please.

If you were that worried about diabetes, you would be making the same comment to people who are not overweight because diabetes doesn’t discriminate based on weight. Ask my dad. Ask my brother. Ask my former co-worker. Ask my childhood friend. Ask my grandma. None of them are overweight and they all have diabetes.

This isn’t about diabetes. This is about what meets the eye. Fat may make you uncomfortable, yet there is a whole world of people who prefer it. Just saying.

Fat shouldn’t make you uncomfortable, rather limiting who we should accept based on size should make you uncomfortable.

See, Jillian, people have souls. And souls ache. Instead of trampling on a whole group of people who are already struggling, why not use your powers to go higher? You have a platform that could move a nation.

We know about diabetes. We know about the risks of overeating regularly. We know about high blood pressure and weight. It’s real. I’m not avoiding reality.

I’m just choosing compassion because reality is a mother-f–ker and we need a little tenderness to deal with it all.

But I wonder… do we really know compassion in the way we should? When I look at the world, I have my doubts.

Social media drowns in hateful comments. Humans spew hateful comments. I’ve dated them (no more, though). I’m related to them (I tune them out, though). I’ve been their patient (doctors’ comments and therapists’ comments would shock you). And now we have a public figure trying to silence a body-positive movement and all at what cost? Where is the payoff?

The bullying doesn’t get better. The skewed perspectives don’t seem to suddenly reach logic and clarity without years of work and chance meetings with the right people who rebuild your broken and even then, not everyone is that lucky.

People still hate themselves more than they love themselves. People still cope in ways that are not helpful and here we are. Here we still are.

Can we try a more workable way?

Can we not erase how far we’ve come?

Can we help people feel more worthy instead of worthless?

Can we choose better words?

Can we celebrate ALL types and ALL people?

I think we need to start there, Jillian.

I think we need to untangle our skewed perspectives.

Final alert:

Glorifying Lizzo’s body was never the issue. Glorifying people when they lose weight and dehumanizing them when they gain weight IS the issue.

Fat shouldn’t correlate with disgust and distaste, and health isn’t synonymous with size. If we can let this sink in, maybe then we will have less numbing and more healing.

Maybe then we won’t have to diminish something as beautiful as a positive-movement because it was simply positive and you had to find the negative.

Maybe then I wouldn’t have to write this.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Felicia Naoum of Parma, Ohio, and originally appeared here. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Felicia here:

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‘She’s conceited. She needs to get over herself. Felicia. Felicia. Felicia.’: Woman insists we ‘get lost in crushing goals and proving others wrong’ that instead we ‘crush ourselves’

‘I’m not entitled to a place in this world. A crowded mall. A crowded anything.’: Woman says ‘remind me again and again, to never take for granted this life’

‘I love your lips! Your lips are so full and sexy. I love bigger girls. Let’s have some ‘fun.’: Sexual innuendos woman receives in her inbox make her want to ‘throw up’

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