A recent study published in the American Journal of Cardiologists (online) has found that "Healthy Obese" people (those with no metabolic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol) are at a greater risk (49% greater infact) of heart disease.
Journalists have been incredibly quick to point out that this is absolutely devastating for the body positive movement. Which I think is inherently incorrect.
What does this mean for the body positive movement?
My understanding and philosophy on body positivity is Eat, Move and Think because you love yourself. This means making healthy choices in moderation that are suitable for my body.
I eat a good range of healthy foods to address my nutritional needs (put simply, all things in moderation, mostly plants, not too much) I move my body to keep it flexible, strong, and within a normal weight range. And I seek out scientific information to support my philosophies, and adjust when necessary.
Does this mean we should shame all fat people?
Oh hells no!
Firstly, that's cruel and mean, and just unnecessary. Secondly it won't achieve much, other than a heap of sad, isolated, and disconnected people who are no longer listening to your meanness.
Thirdly, it's our body and our choice as to how we live. We still cannot tell whether someone is healthy just by looking - all we know is that obesity carries an increased risk of heart disease.
What we do know about body positivity is that when people DO make healthy lifestyle choices that uplift them and come from a place of positivity and enjoyment, they make life long changes.
When we shame and bully people, we might get short term results, but that's all they are; short term.
What does this study really mean?
Nothing new, really. It's not groundbreaking to assume that obesity does put certain stresses on the body and can increase the risk of heart disease, and we all logically know that a healthy, nutritious diet, and active lifestyle are good for us.
A healthy diet and lifestyle is a really body positive approach to living. That part has always been common sense and part of the body positive movement.
If we're going to encourage, inspire and uplift as many of our fellow humans as possible, we really should be focusing on helping shift the paradigms of what exercise and movement are.
Movement can be joyful and wonderful, and should never be a punishment. Food should be nourishing and pleasurable, and never something we have to "earn"
Encouraging people to make healthy lifestyle choices SHOULD be the responsibility of EVERYONE, but I feel that the body positive movement can really positively shape HOW we do it, how we FEEL about it, and how inclusive it is for everyone.
In conclusion we here at Polkadotsi will ALWAYS encourage you to EAT, MOVE and THINK because you love yourself.
No-one should EVER be ashamed of their body. It's a literal miracle of statistics.
And we will always approach you from a place that you're enough right now. Your past brought you this far, and your future is the only bit you can change.
If we can encourage you to fall radically in love with your amazing body, then we're doing our jobs right.