Recently I posted the following on social media:
“You know you need to #gettoyoga when your preschooler tells you ‘Mommy you have a waddle under your arm.’ (In case you don’t know, a waddle is the flappy skin under a turkey’s neck.”
A friend commented
“ Hmm... that, or use it as a teaching moment for body diversity and self love.”
That got me thinking...
Can we want to firm up, get strong, lose weight, and elevate our physical health to new heights and still be loud and proud body diversity advocates?
Here’s the deal.
I think in some ways women can’t win.
We criticize each other and ourselves endlessly-- we are too fat, too skinny, too strong, too weak, too short, too tall, too dark, too light, too old, too wrinkled, too saggy, too flabby … we are too too.
Body diversity was supposed to be the answer to that.
Body diversity advocacy says let’s embrace ALL bodies.
Body diversity advocacy let’s advertisers and casting agents know that we want to see a FAR greater representation of women in the media.
We want an earth-shattering expansion of the definition of beauty.
We want beauty on OUR terms.
What woman doesn’t want that?
I know I do.
But I also want a strong, lean body.
How can I be an advocate for body diversity and still want a strong, lean body?
A better question is, why can’t I be?
Strong, lean bodies are just as valuable as soft, curvy ones.
And I get to choose which one I want.
And I get to have fun working towards that result.
If I want a soft, curvy body I am going to take lots of action to get that result.
And if I want a strong, lean body I’ll take lots of action in that direcetion, too.
The action will just be different depending on the result I want.
But the FEELING will be the same if my head is right.
The feeling I have as I take action to achieve the physical result I want will be that of joy, satisfaction, exhilaration, self-love, motivation, inspiration-- whether my goal is soft and curvy or strong and lean.
This is why body diversity advocacy is so important-- because girls get to CHOOSE what they want their bodies to FEEL like and whether or not they FEEL good caring for their physical form.
Where body diversity goes wrong is when we use it as a euphemism for fat and then shame girls who don’t want to be fat.
How about we let girls decide for themselves what they want their bodies to look like and support them to make that decision from a place of SELF-LOVE-- not from compare and despair or self-loathing?
Which means when my kid points out my flabby arms I take it as a message from my greatest teacher (because aren’t our kids our greatest teachers??) that I’m not taking care of myself the way I want to.
Because for ME extra weight on MY body is symptomatic of emotional imbalance and strife.
This is me knowing myself, not me having opinions over other people's bodies.
I invite you to ask yourself:
What do you want to look and feel like in your body?
Does your answer feel like love?
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.