Body positivity seems like a great thing on paper, but is it actually doing a lot of damage to folks out there?
And by that, I mean are we so eager to make everyone feel accepted that we’re making people who are dangerously overweight feel they don’t need to or shouldn’t make lifestyle changes to be healthier?
A Reddit user believes that the body positivity movement is a public health risk.
Other readers shared their thoughts on the matter.
1. A crisis.
“People should be happy with their bodies. That’s a fact; you need that to start changing. You need to love yourself before you become more healthy. You should love yourself to work your weight off and be determined to get rid of your weight.
However, saying that an obese woman who weighs 400 pounds and has had multiple strokes is healthy is completely incorrect. Obesity causes many health consequences and has caused many d**dly problems. 
This movement will most likely cause many problems in national health if kept up. Obesity is obviously unhealthy, and the Health at Any Size movement, in my opinion, is a crisis.”
2. Health, not weight.
“Healthy At Any Size prioritizes health, not weight.
It’s saying ‘you should be healthy, regardless of your size’, not ‘size has no bearing on your health.’
HAES wouldn’t say that the example given is healthy, because she’s had multiple strokes. HAES would say that they should focus on the strokes, and not the fact she’s obese.
If she needs to lose weight to lower her risk of a stroke, fine, but that’s putting health first, not weight.”
“Have you ever heard of “Nutpicking”? It’s basically taking the most ridiculous people in a group and holding them up as representative of the whole.
It’s no more valid to find one person saying weight has no impact on health and talk about them as if they’re a widespread problem than it is to find one person who blames every health problem on weight.”
4. Can’t ignore it.
“Weight is a massive factor in health, ignoring it is ridiculous.
It’s like a drug treatment center for heroin addicts focusing on health and ignoring and allowing it’s patients to shoot up as they please.”
5. I disagree with it!
“You’re not healthy at 400lb, and some of the people say that you’re just as healthy and attractive at 400lb or 150lb.
That is something I disagree with.”
6. Stop complaining.
“It never fails. A group of people wanting social change start a movement and thr first thing people on the fence do is complain about the name.
“If they had just named it something other than Black Lives Matter because it implies other people don’t matter!”
If the first thing you don’t like is the name, you’re reaching for excuses not to support the movement.”
7. Doesn’t equate unhealthiness.
“Health risks due to weight dont equate to general unhealthiness. You can be fat and still be “healthy” in the sense that you work out regularly and properly.
You eat really well. You arent “lazy” and you make an genuine effort to keep fit. Fat people can do nature retreats, jogs, yoga (a lot of fat ppl are hella good at yoga) and still be fat. Theres a lot of genetic factors that play into weight. Theres also some less well known conditions that do very much cause uncontrollable obesity.
The health at any size movement is basically saying “Just because we’re fat we’re still not lazy. A lot of us live healthy life styles. Some of us just struggle to lose weight.” I think the confusing thing here is that theyre going by a different definition of health.
You might think health means being an average weight. But health can also extend to what kind of lifestyle and diet choices you make.”
8. The value in it.
“What I find valuable about the healthy at any size philosophy is that when numerous attempts at weight loss have failed, it encourages you to keep exercising and eating relatively healthy rather than giving up because “all this work and I’m still fat – f**k it”.
Healthier is better.
Progress, not perfection, is the goal.”
9. Book recommendation.
“Have you actually read the book Health At Every Size that sparked this movement? I encourage it. It’s full of information taken from peer-reviewed scientific articles.
It isn’t spouting that one can be healthy no matter what. It does discuss the science behind metabolism, weight, body size, etc. It also explains how toxic diet culture and chronic dieting actually keeps many of us fat people fat in the long-run. Instead, it teaches intuitive eating, learning one’s natural food/eating rhythm, overcoming trauma, and provides further nutritional education.
Health At Every Size shifts one’s understanding of health from one that ONLY focuses on weight to one that is more holistic and ultimately, healthier. Which, likely, will ultimately make someone lose some weight…but that’s not the key objective.
As someone in recovery for a 15 year eating disorder, Health At Every Size has helped me realize how chronic dieting was far more damaging to my health (physical and mental) than being fat.
It helped me to better understand ways to care for myself and improve my health that don’t completely revolve around losing weight as the most important and dire thing in my life.”
10. The proof.
“Obesity does not cause someone to get diabetes or hypertension, and does not cause someone to d**, it increases their risk of contracting those diseases and having poor outcomes.
It is an important distinction to make because it is often falsely made equivalent (like you did in your post), that correlation = causation. It does not.
Plenty of fat people out there without those diseases, as proof.”
11. Helping out.
“I think body positivity is important because we had a huge health crisis when it came to eating disorders and females several years back. I grew up in the 90’s and there was no such thing as “body shaming”.
I was a very attractive young lady, 5’8″, 145lbs. I had a little cellulite on my thighs and a boy said it was “gross” and “looked like cottage cheese”. I was mortified. I always thought I was fat (even before that comment), and clearly I wasn’t. We had a huge problem with unrealistic expectations of women’s bodies as a society, and a lot of young people suffered for it.
Now, we do have an obesity crisis, yes…but people should be allowed to love themselves and their bodies for what is good about them and not feel “less” because their body isn’t perfect.”
12. Not a public health risk.
“Health at every size is not a public health risk. The main message of the movement is to focus on healthy behaviors regardless of your size.
As a fat person with a long history of being ignored by doctors and shamed by people telling me to lose weight under the guise of “caring about my health” I only got healthy when I stopped being obsessed with my weight. Diets aren’t sustainable for most people.
Focusing on weight doesn’t do anything but make people feel like s**t. As soon as I stopped caring about my weight and started focusing on healthy behaviors, I lost weight. But again, that wasn’t the result of focusing on weight loss. It was the result of adopting healthy behaviors.
And that is the point of the health at every size movement. You may lose weight or you may not, but either way you will be living a healthy lifestyle which is literally never a bad thing.
Another point I’ll add is that because people were obsessed with my weight, I resorted to starvation and extreme exercise at one point. And I lost a ton of weight, fast. Nobody asked me how I lost weight, though. I was drinking black coffee, eating just celery and carrots, and running every day until I passed out.
I would pass out during practice after school on a regular basis. THAT was unhealthy. But technically I wasn’t obese anymore, so everyone assumed I was healthy and ignored my physical deterioration until I got too sick to function.
When the focus stops being on weight and the visible “proof” of health and instead actually focuses on living a healthy life, the outcomes are not only sustainable, but harm-reducing. My eating disorder caused more damage than my weight ever did.
Discouraging health at every size is essentially saying that fat people are not worth living healthy lifestyles and should instead pursue weight loss at any cost, even if that causes more damage in the long run.”
What do you think about the body positivity movement?
Talk to us in the comments and let us know.
Thanks in advance!