The legendary Mahatma Gandhi has been famously quoted as saying, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." This means you must embody the characteristics and principles that matter most to you.
How does this apply to spreading the message of body love, neutrality
with food and self-acceptance? It means choosing to be part of the
solution instead of continuing to contribute to the problem.
Here are a few ways to do that:
** Consider the cessation of commenting on people's appearance
COMPLETELY. This can be done innocently enough; you see someone out and
about and notice a significant change in their size. We have been
taught to revere thinness in this culture, so your first reaction is to
praise this person for reducing their weight. Remember, you do not know
how healthy someone is by looking at them. A noticeably smaller person
could be healthy. They could also be in the throes of an eating
disorder. Or undergoing chemotherapy. These may sound like extreme
examples, but the fact is, it can happen.
** As a follow up to
the first, ask yourself if you are unknowingly participating in body
shaming. Saying things like, "oh, you are so skinny. Why don't you eat
a sandwich?" or "Must be nice to eat whatever you want and be rail
thin" or even "Gee, I wish I had your discipline. I'm too busy having
fun and living life to the fullest to have the abs you do." These kinds
of comments are just as damaging as criticizing someone who may be
considered overweight. I have known people who are genetically
predisposed to be thin. Sometimes these very same people don't like
being that thin or wish they could have more curves, build muscle, etc.
I have also known some people who are excessively exercising and
obsessively trying to construct the perfect body...and it's slowly
KILLING them. Think before you speak. And remember: ALL BODIES ARE
GOOD BODIES. We all don't have to look the same
** Eat for
enjoyment and nourishment. Feed yourself well and take pleasure in your
meals. This also means respecting the eating habits and food choices
of others. We are not supposed to be the food police, here. I don't
know where the idea that commenting on what is on people's plates is
socially acceptable, but guess what? It's not. And it's rude. Don't
do it. And, if someone does it to you, feel free to tell them politely
that you appreciate their concern, but you don't need any help figuring
out what to eat.
When in doubt, always be part of the solution. Always.