It's a New Year. Many people set intentions for the upcoming 365 days as a new calendar is hung. My intention is to continue spreading the word about respecting and being kind toward other human beings. As a dietitian working with people who struggle with disordered eating and body weight concerns, I am especially passionate about spreading the word of body acceptance. I recently read an article by Latoya Shauntay Snell that really struck a cord with me and fits so well with my mission about body acceptance.
In her article, Latoya writes about her experience with fat shaming and downright hateful feedback from complete strangers. She talks about the enormous amount of physical activity she has been part of, specifically, many long distance running events. And, I mean loooooooooooooong!!!!!! Marathons (26.2 miles), 50 miles, 62 miles! Oh my, that is pretty amazing! She also participates in cycling and swimming events, and weight lifting. She is strong, passionate, and enjoying every minute of it. She is taking care of herself. She is trying to be a good role model for her son. Yet, she has received countless negative, and in my opinion, downright hateful feedback from others simply because she lives in a larger body. She has been the target of fat-shaming, one person questioned "If you are runner, why are you still fat?" and another person employed parent shaming by accusing her of causing her young son's Type 1 diabetes. This is mind boggling and infuriating to me. How can anyone pass so much judgement and hate for another human in this way? The answer is simply fat phobia and weight bias. It has become the norm in our culture to demonize body fat and people living in larger bodies while glorifying thin bodies as the benchmark of health. This simply is not true. I wrote about this topic in my blog Dispelling the Myth that Thinness = Health back in July 2019.
I task everyone this New Year to embrace, or maybe just open up a tiny space of possibility, that bodies are meant to come in all shapes and sizes, body size doesn't directly influence health and well-being, and most importantly, all humans deserve respect.