Plus size models are going mainstream. I watched “The Sunday Talk” on “The National” last night with deep interest as they discussed the growing popularity of The Body Positive Movement.
Check out the video.
Let me begin with the comments being left. This is the heart of the issue. Nasty comments about the “fat cows”, the “fat slobs”, and the “fatties taxing our health care system.” They are fat shaming without any reserve. The people commenting like this only show their ignorance on the issue at hand.
Research about health issues of being fat are consistently quoted to support this fat shaming attitude. This included many comments made by panelist Tasha Kheiriddin from The National Post. Here are my research-based rebuttals to dispute the argument that tries to put down The Body Positive Movement.
- Dieting Leads to Weight Gain
We know that dieting leads to weight gain in 95% of people. Only a small minority are able to maintain a weight loss without surgery and typically that weight loss is a mere 2 pounds. Traci Mann at the University of Minnesota revealed this to us through all of her research. What if we stopped telling young women to lose weight? Maybe we could prevent the weight gain in the first place since we know that we are literally dieting ourselves fat.
- Shame is Directly Linked to Binge Eating Behaviour
Feeling ashamed and poor body image is directly coupled with binge eating episodes according to a study published in the December issue of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. Shaming these women and dismissing the Body Positive Movement is therefore adding to the issue. If we would like to help these people change their eating behaviour and promote health, then we can help them by stopping the fat shaming.
- Being Overweight Lowers Mortality Risk
Being fat does not equal being unhealthy. By itself, extra weight is not a marker for increased risk of mortality. Only the morbidly obese are excluded from this argument (class 2 and 3). In fact, being overweight is actually associated with reduced mortality compared to normal weight individuals.
These are only a few of the evidence-based arguments to stop the fat shaming “in the name of health.” This approach is not working. There are many more.
The Body Positive Movement has the potential to change lives!
Having women of all sizes modeling clothes is practical. As a consumer, it is very frustrating to not be able to see yourself represented. I wear a size 14 for the most part. When I online shop I can rarely find a model close to my size displaying the clothes that I would like to purchase. It results in a lot of returns since a shirt and skirt look very different on a size 0 model than they do on my body.
As I made mention above, the possibilities for the teens and 20 year olds are exciting. If I had not believed that my size 6 body was fat back when I was a teenager, I would not have dieted myself into a size 14.
I watched my Mom diet and speak poorly about her body. We know that this increases the likelihood of disordered eating. By stopping the fat talk and learning to appreciate and celebrate all sizes, we can make a serious difference in the next generation.
When acceptance and self-love are implemented as a treatment strategy, people stop hurting themselves with food. Sure, there may be a quick pendulum swing to overeating when women first stop dieting and body shaming, but it will swing back. People who love themselves, take care of themselves.
So thank you Scaachi Koul at Buzzfeed for supporting this movement and “The National” for bringing it to a larger audience. Women of all ages are deeply affected by this in many positive ways.
Yours in Health,
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.