I just fielded a very troubling comment on the She Zine Instagram account that accused me of fat shaming in recent picture posts and I am assuming due to my last fitness post about beginning my personal fitness journey.
I suppose that I am especially sensitive to this because my very first exposure to feminism was activism and protest concerning body image at the age of 16. Since that time, I have created various zines where body positivity was the main focus. I’ve counselled friends and family about feeling comfortable and proud to be in the skin that they’re in, regardless of their shape or size. It was a sore spot.
In fairness to the commenter, I think that I mislabelled my messaging and it perhaps came off as my promoting “diet culture”, as she put it, and for that, I offer some clarity.
It is true that I am adopting a new way of eating, but it is a diet that encourages you to eat healthy whole foods and then allow your body to eat intuitively, meaning that if you want seconds.. or 3rds.. then go for it. The idea is that if you are feeding your body exclusively the foods that it requires as fuel, then you will find your true weight. If that is 180lbs, then it is 180lbs.
I understand that it is a sensitive issue, but I disagree with the sentiment that you are no longer being “body positive” if you take a realistic look at yourself and your lifestyle and realize that you’d like to be shed some weight and get more fit. That realization doesn’t necessarily come from a place of hate, but perhaps simple dissatisfaction and a desire to do better for yourself.
I want to make it very clear that these fitness posts are about my own personal journey. As I highlighted in my initial post in this section, I am reluctantly posting these articles because I have been, as of yet, unable to find someone else who is a professional in the fitness arena to lend their content to this emerging section.
I am not advocating that everyone start dieting and working out like mad dogs, but if you can relate to my story and know that you haven’t been kind to yourself lately maybe you will be interested in the content included in this section. Maybe you will find some of my tips and advice helpful. Maybe not.
I have been a vegetarian for on and off since I was 16. I haven’t had any meat at all for the past 8 yrs and I’ve been a fairly strict vegan for about 4 yrs. I am not advocating this lifestyle.. I am just giving a little background. I live with a disease called Gastroparesis, which is essentially paralysis of the muscles along the digestional tract, which means that when I eat, it can sometimes take 12 hours to digest food that would take a normal person an hour to process.
You would think that will Gastroparesis, I would require lots of roughage, but actually a diet of super low fat, no fibre is recommended.
For the purpose of sharing, I have amended recipes that I will be sharing to suit a larger audience. They are low fat, high carb, high fibre and you will find that these recipes will be very satiating so that you can enjoy a full serving and find that you are full after just one helping. Anyway.. you will have to stay tuned for that content.
In my first post in the fitness section I mentioned my bipolar 1 diagnosis. That I received about 8 yrs ago, at which point I was put on an antipsychotic drug, known as Olanzepine, which severely affects the metabolism. Within 4 months, I had gained 60lbs.
Is it considered “not body positive” to be shocked and appalled at such drastic gains over such a short period of time?
If so, then fine. I guess I had a problem with body positivity. Over the years, I exposed myself to positive messaging, continued to write and diagnose my feelings about my body and I processed these feelings to the point of acceptance.
I’ve comfortably lived at my present weight that has been hovering around 200lbs for many years, until certain things started to become difficult for me. I get winded when I go for walks with my dogs. My guts hurt when I bend over to tie my shoes. I was starting to grow out of my clothes again.
FOR ME I took this very seriously. I had lived the majority of my life as a 120lb active girl who had always been full of energy and now I was noticing that that had slipped away.
My sister lives with crippling rheumatoid arthritis and she started on the diet that I will be sharing with you on the blog, known as the Starch Solution a number of years ago. Essentially, it is a vegan diet, minus oils, at a daily ratio of about 70% starch, 20% vegetables, 10% fruit.
The idea is that you will be eating calorically dense foods and so you will intuitively know when your body has had enough.
I have started loosely eating this way for about two weeks now and I have lost nearly 7lbs, without having yet started my exercise regimen. My goal is to get as close to my original 120lbs (pre meds) as I possibly can. If that turns out to be an impossibility or if I start to see it to be an unrealistic goal once I have started exercising, then I am prepared to adjust my sights. I am mostly concerned about my fitness, opposed to the number on the scale.
I am still taking mood stabilizers that affect my metabolism and so I will have to work harder to achieve the same results as other people, but I am ready to embrace a healthy lifestyle again.
I intend to continue my journal-style posts about my fitness journey and I hope that you will continue to read. I also hope that we can continue the conversation about body image and body positivity in the comments below.
In the future, I will tag my fitness posts with the #journal so that it is clear that I am speaking of my own personal experiences and not making reference of what we should be doing, as all womxn kind.
Love your bodies. Treat yourself with kindness and sensitivity. Remember #selflove. But also remember that if you want more for yourself, than isn’t self hatred. Simply being dissatisfied can be a powerful motivator to do better for yourself, your body, and your health.
Lastly, the number on the scale does not mean shit. If you eat intuitively for yourself you will find the weight that you were meant to be.. and whatever that weight is, you have to love every ounce of it.