Why is it not OK to not be body positive?

I’ve recently written how I am finally accepting my imperfections.  How I am relishing the imPERFECTion that my body has become having had two children in three year.  Spending much of 2012 pregnant, then across the latter part of 2014 and dawn of 2015 with an ever expanding bump.  Let’s not even count the number of months I then gave my body up to breastfeed my children.  Going all the way to 22 months with my youngest and only stopping because I had to due to medication changes.

It’s taken me nearly 34 years but I can finally celebrate and ignore my imperfections.  Celebrating the perfections instead.

It’s a hot topic of conversation, one which is contested wildly round the world.  Everywhere, from articles in newspapers to the latest viral post on Facebook.

And for me, it is one hotly contested with my friends.  One of whom is the lovely Emma of Wanderlust and Wet Wipes.  We have had many conversations about fitness, about the holy grail of Joe Wickes from the Body Coach, about running, about body positivity.

And with that, I shall pass you on over…

Emma Wanderlust and Wet Wipes

I’m not body positive

I know, I know…this is not going to be a popular opinion.  I should be posting something about how much I love my body.  How I adore the fact that it is strong and healthy and has carried and breastfed 2 babies.

I’ve had countless conversations about body image with my friends recently.  Living where we do, most of us have the same problem (the Doha Stone is a thing people, and it isn’t just a stone). I’ve read blogs like Laura’s about embracing their bodies, being proud of their bodies, having a positive body image… Lots say how they now aspire to be strong and not skinny and say they wear their bikinis with pride (within the confines of compound or hotel pools, of course, we’re still in the Middle East).

Others walk the walk but in the same breath tell me the reasons why they won’t wear a bikini. They all tell me I look great.

Maybe I do look great. I know I am fit – I work out 3-5 times a week. And I do pretty well, I think. I’ve seen my form improving. I can do more squats, run farther, for longer than I could in January.

Emma Wanderlust and Wet Wipes

My body mass index is still well within the acceptable range to be deemed ‘healthy’. I eat well, I don’t drink too much (ok, not too often).  I don’t smoke and I don’t do drugs. Objectively I look in the mirror and I know things could be a LOT worse. I DO wear a bikini, partly because I want a nice tan but mostly because I don’t want my kids picking up on body image issues inferred, implied or spoken. They have plenty of time for all of that.

But here’s the thing.

I don’t feel great.

And that’s what having positive body image is all about, isn’t it?

I weigh 30lbs more than when I got married and 20lbs more than when I moved here. This isn’t baby weight. I’m not carrying it around because I made 2 humans. I’ve lost that weight – twice! This is the weight from drinking too much wine and eating too much pizza and too many cookies. This is the weight that has crept on after moving abroad to a place where there is zero natural exercise. Walking up the stairs is about as natural as it gets. I don’t get my hour a day of walking to and from the park or the station or the shops.  Gone is walking half a mile to the shop and back because we need a pint of milk. To be completely honest I rarely even walk the dog because we have help in the house and somehow it just seemed easier for her to do it while I put the kids to bed.

I feel like it has suddenly become taboo to say you want to lose weight. Its not like I want to get super skinny (like I was when we got married – I’m a lot older now so that may be forever out of my reach). I know it’s not all about the number on the scale but I’m tired of that number being 20 more than it used to be. I could make my peace with it if I wasn’t also tired of having flabby bits when I have never had them before. Or if I wasn’t also tired of my clothes not fitting.

Do I feel strong and fit? Yeah, I think I’m in a good place for that now and I’m improving every week.

Am I proud of what my body can do and has done and will do?  Hell yes.

But why is it such a bad thing for me to say I’m not happy with where I am right now and that I want to lose some weight?




  1. August 16, 2017 / 8:02 am

    I agree with Emma actually, and to an extent the body positive thing worries me a bit. I think it’s brilliant that people feel confident in their own skin. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that lots of people (ME!!) need to lose weight for health reasons, so does being body positive take our focus off getting healthy? I don’t feel happy with the way I am at the moment and I think that if I did, it would destroy the tiny bit of motivation I currently have for losing weight and getting healthy, and I just wouldn’t do it. Which would be a bad thing for my long term health.

  2. August 21, 2017 / 7:25 am

    Love this! I’m 9 weeks since a c section second baby too! Love that my bodies given me two beautiful boys hate how it looks!

    I’ve already started running and swimming, I’ll get my body back and when I can say I look good I can’t wait but I hate where it is and it’s ok to say that…. even if others don’t like it.

  3. August 21, 2017 / 7:53 am

    I don’t think wanting to lose weight means you aren’t body positive. There are a lot of things said here that are positive and I don’t think wanting to improve your body means you hate it. I’ve written recently about loving my postnatal body, but in the same breath I’m just finishing off a post about my plans to shift the baby weight. I think we can have both – positivity as well as a desire to be better/more comfortable. As Natalie also touched on, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing to stay at an unhealthy weight or lifestyle under the heading of body positivity…surely part of loving your body is looking after it?

    Haha, sorry for the essay! Great post.

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