The Blog

Fighting Diet Culture With Body Positivity

As a nutritionist I feel pressure to look a certain way, and because I don't look like Deliciously Ella or the Helmsley Sisters, I rarely show pictures of my body on my website or Instagram (just the odd head shot).

I recently interviewed Megan Crabbe of Bodyposipanda for my new podcast series 'Don't Salt My Game'. The episode is embedded below, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

As my friend who listened to this episode pointed out, Megan Crabbe is superfuckingcool. She's the body positive Queen behind the inspirational Instagram account @bodyposipanda and blog of the same name. Her message is simple: you're god enough exactly as you are. Despite what magazines, adverts, and diet culture wants us to believe.

She's part of a growing movement that encourages acceptance of all shapes, sizes, colours, abilities, genders, and everything else that makes us unique and interesting.

Just last week, the plus sized model Ashley Graham appeared in a music video, playing the love interest of Joe Jonas, and her weight had nothing to do with it. She was just being her goddess self. This was a big deal, but it shouldn't have been. It should have been a normal part of a variety of bodies we see in the media. But plus size women are rarely portrayed as sexy or cool; they're the 'funny one', because we all know that fat girls have to have extra good personalities to make up for falling short of society's standards. Just look at Pitch Perfect's Fat Amy and you'll see what I mean.

But OK, Ashley Graham is a model, and a superfuckinghot one at that. What about us everyday girls (and dudes, this is by no way just about women)? We're not immune from this body shaming bullshit either. As Megan points out in our conversation, girls as young as age 10 are dieting, AGE 10. Think about what you were doing at age 10. You probably weren't worrying about whether or not you should eat that piece of cake at your friend's bday party, or how long you'd have to jump on the bouncy castle to work it off.

As a nutritionist I feel pressure to look a certain way, and because I don't look like Deliciously Ella or the Helmsley Sisters, I rarely show pictures of my body on my website or Instagram (just the odd head shot).

Just think about how crazy that is for a second. Sure, I have hips, and boobs, and thighs, and the top of my arms jiggle. But that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with my ability to do MY JOB. But there's still a very real fear of judgement.

Over the years I've tried weird juice cleanses and calorie counting apps and various other things to control my weight. Was I healthy? Nope. Was I happy? NOOOPPPPE.

As Megan points out, that's the biggest lie that diet culture sells us - that losing weight will make you happy. It won't. If you can't learn to love and accept your body, AS IT IS, independent of shape, size, colour and everything else, you will never be happy. Because you have to live in your body, every damn day.

So Megan challenged me to share a BoPo picture of myself to show that, like all people, nutritionists come in different shapes and sizes. I chose this one specifically because it's not the most flattering image ever, but I love that this dress shows off my curves. Even though I get self conscious about showing the tops of my arms, I'm letting them out, because it's summer and why shouldn't they get to enjoy the sun too? And because, fuck it, I feel good in that dress.

Take a second to think about all the amazing things your body has done for you. Maybe it took your ass to uni to earn that degree, maybe you play sports with your friends, maybe you made a whole other person with your body, or maybe you travelled all over the world with it. Learn to recognise how much your body does for you. But also, appreciate that you're more than just a body.

Megan can explain all of this way better than I can, so listen to our conversation, where Megan get's real on her struggle with anorexia and body dysmorphia and talks about the lie of diet culture and bikini bodies. More importantly, she talks about what it looks like to really love every part of yourself (rolls and all), and how you can learn to love yourself right now!

And share your #bopo images with me (@laurathomasphd) and Megan (@bodyposipanda) telling us a few of the things you LOVE about your body using #dontsaltmygame