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Why I No Longer Want to Be Body Positive

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Despite how it sounds, this is not meant to shame people that are body positive. In fact, they inspire me every day.

This is simply an exploration into other options for my relationship to my own body post-recovery.

For all the negative impacts social media has had on my mental health — speaking for myself only here, although I am sure I’m not alone — there is still good. So much good.

The body positive movement is incredible, and online communities based around such important issues as these really do transform lives. The only issue I have: It still focusses on the physical appearance of the body.

And as someone who has battled with body image issues and a debilitating eating disorder, I believe that as a society we should seek to move beyond this. Because being fixated on the physical is still limiting and can still be damaging, even if the response is only ever positive.

As someone who’s gone through their fair share of ups and downs during the period in which I have been considered “fully recovered,” I am now sitting pretty above the threshold for a “healthy” recovery weight. And by healthy recovery weight I mean a fully healthy recovery weight. And anyone at any stage of eating disorder recovery will probably know what I mean when I differentiate between “healthy weight” and “healthy recovery weight.” My recovery was messy, raw and full of shame.

Glennon Melton says, “Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush.” She is right of course. I am an artist, and so are you.

My body has carried me through times when it shouldn’t have had the ability to do so, and I doubt I will ever fully comprehend that. So I can thank my body through yoga, I can celebrate my stretch marks through bikini selfies, or I can move beyond all of this; toward creating my work of art.

I love my body now, don’t get me wrong. But my body is not my masterpiece.

Now, I am not so much “body positive,” but realizing more and more that I do not care.

I am not my past struggles, but I’m not my past triumphs either.

I am now not so much “recovered,” but just “me.”

So why am I not body positive? Because I am more than my body, and you can be too.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Originally published: March 14, 2018
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