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 Manna Minute 
Sunday, 29 October 2017

First of all, I am going to state that I LOVE the body positivity, fat activism community, and the strong push by many dietitians and health professionals for Health at Every Size. The knowledge and freedom that can be gained from these amazing humans who are shaking up the societal norms is truly inspiring and life changing - if you allow yourself to sit back, shut up, and listen to what they have to say. I was listening to author Lindy West speak with Christi Harrison on her Podcast Food Psych- Episode #99- on two topics that truly hit home for me in my recovery, and I felt like the epiphanies that I experienced through these two shared experiences between Lindy and me were profound in the following way: if we take away stigma and judgment on weight, so many lives will go from imprisoned by shame, fear, and ignorance to enlightened, fulfilled, and full of joy.

1. Lindy acknowledged that when she was living in diet culture and manipulating her food intake to fit the societal “norm” and “acceptable” standards, she was miserable and realized if that is what it took to be “a satisfactory weight” then she didn’t want that life. AMEN. As an eating disorder sufferer, the world is a cruel place to begin with, but even for someone who does not have the mental and physical fight of ED, society is still poisoning brains. All humans are cultural consumers of diet trends, unrealistic expectations, and constant exposure to the “right way” to look, feel, and exist due to media and lack of factual nutritional and health education. My whole life prior to taking a stand, I was not living, but surviving in a hell hole that I allowed society and my influencers to help me create for my life. Restricting food to fit an ideal, over exercising to compensate for the food I did eat, and limiting my existence to a small space that was deemed appropriate and promised me happiness and love… yet that small space I was existing in was, in reality, joyless, anxious, self-damaging, and sad. And I am in a thin, society accepted body; think of how a person living in a fat body feels? At one point of my recovery, it just hit me… I deserved more: more food, more choices, more self-love, more connection, and more joy. That is when I decided to truly fight for the eating disorder voice to be silenced, and that brings me to the second realization that Lindy and countless other body positive activists endorse and I experienced.

2. Immerse yourself in what you fear. Like most people, I have been taught by society to fear fat. Fat in foods, fat on people… all fat is scary, bad, and undesirable; that is what I, and many others, have been taught. When I was deep in my disorder, I ran across a hashtag on Instagram that read #wightgainiscool, and I was appalled- how would weight gain EVER be considered as cool??? Well, after finally facing my deluded brain, going to treatment for my anorexia, and, indeed, gaining said cool weight, I revisited the hashtag and began to dig… All my clicking and searching led me through countless pages and handles of women who were embracing weight, being proud of their imperfections, and truly celebrating what it is to be a non-traditional, marginalized, gorgeous woman. As I studied these majestic beings of the body positive movement such as Lindy West (@thelindywest), Megan Jayne Crabbe (@bodyposipanda), Danielle Galvin (@chooselifewarrior), Amanda Gist (@amandagist), Imogen (@the_feeding_of _the _fox), and Danielle Brooks (@daniebb3), something began to shift in me. The fears that had been instilled in me by those around me, the media, and society in general, slowly began to melt away. I felt liberated, cheated, excited, scared, joyful, and lost all at the same time. I was excited to have a new found freedom in my thinking, yet angry that these bodies are so widely unaccepted. I was scared because anything new is scary to me a first, but so joyful because this realization opened my eyes to what truly matters in the world- people matter. Not their bodies… people.

And now the kicker… I know that I am a thin, white, privileged woman who has never felt the discrimination that occurs for people living in a fat body, a disabled body, or a marginalized body… but I do know this… Learning to love, respect, fight for, lift up, normalize, bring together, and take a stand with and for ALL bodies, especially those who have social biases and demeaning standards against them on a day to day basis is a MUST. With my privilege in this world, I want to help others see the beauty, value, need, and gift that diversity in weight and health at every size will bring to all human beings, not just to those who suffer. As for me, I want to say thank you to the body positive community who has taught me to let go of societal standards and embrace myself and others for who we are… and for goodness sake, follow these amazing women and so many more. Don’t take my word for it- allow them to show you the way to freedom.

Also, a huge thank you to Maghan Kacmarcik (@Sundaesforthesoul) for being such an amazing example of a thin ally to the fat activism and body positive movement. You inspire me daily! Allow her to inspire you, as well!

First of all, I am going to state that I LOVE the body positivity, fat activism community, and the strong push by many dietitians and health professionals for Health at Every Size. The knowledge and freedom that can be gained from these amazing humans who are shaking up the societal norms is truly inspiring and life changing - if you allow yourself to sit back, shut up, and listen to what they have to say. I was listening to author Lindy West speak (Food Psych Podcast Episode #99) on two topics that truly hit home for me in my recovery, and I felt like the epiphanies that I experienced through these two shared experiences between Lindy and me were profound in the following way: if we take away stigma and judgment on weight, so many lives will go from imprisoned by shame, fear, and ignorance to enlightened, fulfilled, and full of joy.

1. Lindy acknowledged that when she was living in diet culture and manipulating her food intake to fit the societal “norm” and “acceptable” standards, she was miserable and realized if that is what it took to be “a satisfactory weight” then she didn’t want that life. AMEN. As an eating disorder sufferer, the world is a cruel place to begin with, but even for someone who does not have the mental and physical fight of ED, society is still poisoning brains. All humans are cultural consumers of diet trends, unrealistic expectations, and constant exposure to the “right way” to look, feel, and exist due to media and lack of factual nutritional and health education. My whole life prior to taking a stand, I was not living, but surviving in a hell hole that I allowed society and my influencers to help me create for my life. Restricting food to fit an ideal, over exercising to compensate for the food I did eat, and limiting my existence to a small space that was deemed appropriate and promised me happiness and love… yet that small space I was existing in was, in reality, joyless, anxious, self-damaging, and sad. And I am in a thin, society accepted body; think of how a person living in a fat body feels? At one point of my recovery, it just hit me… I deserved more: more food, more choices, more self-love, more connection, and more joy. That is when I decided to truly fight for the eating disorder voice to be silenced, and that brings me to the second realization that Lindy and countless other body positive activists endorse and I experienced.

2. Immerse yourself in what you fear. Like most people, I have been taught by society to fear fat. Fat in foods, fat on people… all fat is scary, bad, and undesirable; that is what I, and many others, have been taught. When I was deep in my disorder, I ran across a hashtag on Instagram that read #wightgainiscool, and I was appalled- how would weight gain EVER be considered as cool??? Well, after finally facing my deluded brain, going to treatment for my anorexia, and, indeed, gaining said cool weight, I revisited the hashtag and began to dig… All my clicking and searching led me through countless pages and handles of women who were embracing weight, being proud of their imperfections, and truly celebrating what it is to be a non-traditional, marginalized, gorgeous woman. As I studied these majestic beings of the body positive movement such as Lindy West (@thelindywest), Megan Jayne Crabbe (@bodyposipanda), Danielle Galvin (@chooselifewarrior), Amanda Gist (@amandagist), Imogen (@the_feeding_of _the _fox), and Danielle Brooks (@daniebb3), something began to shift in me. The fears that had been instilled in me by those around me, the media, and society in general, slowly began to melt away. I felt liberated, cheated, excited, scared, joyful, and lost all at the same time. I was excited to have a new found freedom in my thinking, yet angry that these bodies are so widely unaccepted. I was scared because anything new is scary to me a first, but so joyful because this realization opened my eyes to what truly matters in the world- people matter. Not their bodies… people.

And now the kicker… I know that I am a thin, white, privileged woman who has never felt the discrimination that occurs for people living in a fat body, a disabled body, or a marginalized body… but I do know this… Learning to love, respect, fight for, lift up, normalize, bring together, and take a stand with and for ALL bodies, especially those who have social biases and demeaning standards against them on a day to day basis is a MUST. With my privilege in this world, I want to help others see the beauty, value, need, and gift that diversity in weight and health at every size will bring to all human beings, not just to those who suffer. As for me, I want to say thank you to the body positive community who has taught me to let go of societal standards and embrace myself and others for who we are… and for goodness sake, follow these amazing women and so many more. Don’t take my word for it- allow them to show you the way to freedom.

Also, a huge thank you to Maghan Kacmarcik (@Sundaesforthesoul) for being such an amazing example of a thin ally to the fat activism and body positive movement. You inspire me daily! Allow her to inspire you, as well!

Posted by: Brooke Heberling AT 02:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
 

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