The Negative Truth of the Body Positive moment

By Laura Campbell

Body positivity is something I am so PRO. Promoting a positive body image is wonderful as it stops the food extremist behaviours that can become obsessive and ruin lives and kill people. However think body positivity should be about getting healthy.

I had anorexia and so I understand wholeheartedly the implications of a negative body image and thank the body positive movement deeply for its positive encouragement towards health. I have recovered to be healthy and I am finally at peace with my body and am healthy again in a strong, fertile and athletic body I am proud of. I had to change my behaviour and face the stigma of anorexia. I had to work hard to gain weight and to fight the compulsive desire to lose weight to get healthy and go back to the fit athlete I was before and am again. I listened to the advice given from medical professionals and proactively and positively acted accordingly to get healthy.

However, I am getting angry at the moment as the images that are being thrown at me by the “body positive” moment as “healthy” over social media and the internet are NOT healthy. Marilyn Monroe was healthy, she promoted a good body image. She was active, fertile, strong and mobile. Her body was able to do the things a body should do and that is healthy. What is not healthy is the morbid obesity “plus size 20-28” “body acceptance” that I am seeing at the moment as these bodies are morbidly obese, slowly dying, unable to be active and unable to live full lives. There is no difference between this and the anorexia I fought so hard to fight. One is compulsively undereating and one is compulsively overeating. Both restrict health and cause pain. Both cause fertility, bone and mental disorders. Both cause disease (the absence of health) and both are using food for feelings. Both kill people. How is this positive?

To me there is no difference between the hideous insidious “pro-ana” anorexia promoting campaigns in anorexia and these “body acceptance” campaigns. Both are promoting body weights that kill people.

Yes she’s beautiful, but she is also very unhealthy and killing her body.

Morbid obesity is an eating disorder. Its a food and weight extremism. In the same way that anorexia does. Anorexia restricts life. Obesity overwhelms it and both reduce life expectancy. It is unhealthy and it kills people. It steals life. It steals joy. That’s the negative truth.

How is this healthy? How is this body positive?

Body positivity is about learning to accept yourself for the way you are but should NOT promote obesity and the absence of health. We SHOULD be encouraging change in society because we want people to live FULL and active lives and get the most out of all life has to offer. Obesity deprives people of the ability to run and be active and causes physical pain as joints are over compromised. It damages livers, damages hearts and damages fertility. It causes mood disorders and steals joy. Why should we say that is ok? Its not. We should want people to be happy and if their health is compromised, their potential for happiness is too. Obesity causes premature death. Why on earth is this acceptable? Why should people accept this? That’s not positive. It’s negative.

This is the negative truth of the body positive moment.

As a scientist and people lover, I want people to live the fullest, happiest and most beautiful lives that they can live. To do this, you need a strong and active body so that you can experience all life has to offer. So you can run after your children, swim in the sea, climb trees, have wild and crazy sex and travel. If you are obese you can’t run and you can’t swim and your sex drive is restricted and your heart affected and so you can’t travel much. This is sad. This limits life. This steals from people the opportunities for full enjoyable lives. We should be promoting positive body attitudes, but to me this means being ACTIVE and AGILE and food and weight extremism stops this.

When I was anorexic I was always being encouraged to “recover.” To “go back to old me” and “get healthy.” I think that obesity should be treated the same way. It should be “recovery” not weight gain or loss. Recovery to health. That’s all it is. It’s not about anything other than optimising for health so you can live the fullest, happiest and most exciting life you can proactively achieve.

I am pro the cancer research campaign (though it was hard to see in anorexia recovery, I see now the huge health optimising benefit of the campaign).

Body positivity is about a positive body. A strong body. A healthy and at full capacity body. This is the truth we should accept. This is the positivity we should all aim for.

COPYRIGHT LAURA CAMPBELL 21/05/2019, all rights reserved.