Problem areas are the problem.
It’s no secret – our bodies are being scrutinized. They’re under uncensored judgment every day, and not just by our own eyes in the mirror. Everywhere we turn – social media, television, movies, magazines, (god, especially magazines…), we’re hearing the same song, being fed the same ideas. One idea in particular: THIS (insert photo of thin/super-fit woman) is how we are SUPPOSED TO LOOK.
…Didn’t you hear? Look at that magazine over there, it says it too. Don’t believe us? Fine, check out this woman in this movie then. She has a lot going for her, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, there is NO FAT ON HER BODY. Look, people respect her. Look at all of these men in line to love her! If you don’t have this life? It’s probably because you have fat on your body. You know what those bits of fat are? They’re your problem areas.
What does that even mean.
The very idea of a problem area infuriates me. I could go on and on for hours, pages, endless wordcounts about how much I hate the diet industry and how they secretly LOVE fat people (yes, I said fat, we’re going to stop treating that word like it’s mean or dirty instead of true and perfectly fine), because fat people KEEP THEM IN BUSINESS.
Everyone who is projecting an idea of the perfect body (the aforementioned magazines and movies and tv and social media gurus with their aggressive-sounding solutions) is benefiting from your unhappiness with your body. They’re all working together to feed us lies that parts of our bodies – these arms that hug our friends when they’re upset and carry fifty pounds of groceries from the car to the house in one trip because we’d rather suffer for two minutes than make two trips, the legs that walk and swim and get us to and from the jobs where we kick ass every day, the tummies that are soft and round from eating brie and drinking wine with our best friends and enjoying every single bite – these parts of you that you might actually love if you weren’t being constantly told that you’d better not even think about it – they. are. a. PROBLEM.
What does that even mean? A problem for who, exactly? Why would additional fat on my legs be a problem for anybody? I bet I know. I bet the fat on my legs is a problem because someone out there already had a “solution,” and they want me to feel just awful enough about myself to pay for it over, and over, and over again, hating myself more every time.
Let’s do a little real problem-solving
The truth. The reality, once you push past the hazy promise of 8-minute abs that you don’t actually want anyway or the false sense of joy fitting into a size 0 swears it will give you, is that having fat on your body is not a problem.
Your body is not a stumbling block you were cursed with at birth. It’s not something you have to wake up every morning and work tirelessly to solve.
What if we took that energy and redirected it? What if we took the time, and money, and agonizing mental effort, and put it toward accepting ourselves and others? I know this isn’t a novel concept. It’s also not easy! There are countless books, programs, blogs, etc. devoted to this too.
What if, in addition to body acceptance, we took it a step further? What if we actively went up against the insidious, pervasive presence of fat-phobia that seems to run rampant with very little repercussions.
Fat people are an easy target for hate. We’ve got decades of not just strangers, not just trolls on the internet, not just mean boys in middle school, but well-meaning friends and family, telling us that our appearance is NOT OKAY. Eventually, we not only believe them, but start apologizing desperately for being who we are. What if we stopped being sorry? If we challenged the next person who minimizes our existence because the space we take up makes them uncomfortable? If we were bold enough to like ourselves? How delightfully rebellious would that be?
I lied. You can’t eliminate them because they aren’t there.
I have no quick fix solutions to body acceptance. This is a theme you will find if you stick with me, friends. There’s no fast way to get from A to B, and I’m still very much on this journey with you. My fist is raised high in the air one day screaming about body positivity and loving ourselves, and the next I’m wondering if this whole keto thing is worth a shot…maybe this time I’d get it “right.”
I don’t have any answers to this larger problem. I do know that our bodies? They are not the problem. These pieces of us that make us who we are – they’re not issues to be corrected. Our bodies are good, regardless of what they look like. They. Are. Good.
Let’s fight together against these larger themes. These giants that tell us every day that we have to change to be good enough. Let’s make choices every day to show up for each other, and ourselves. Let’s be bold enough to realize that the women on TV and in movies and in magazines, they might be beautiful? But that we are too. Let’s dial up the kindness, the generosity, and the genuine support, and let’s tackle some real problem areas. Together. You in?