Addressing Concerns Regarding the Body Positivity Movement

There has been a lot of commentary in the media about the body positivity movement. They question “how far is too far” and express a variety of concerns. Some reasons they give are the effects of weight on health and how this may lead to more health issues. We’ve gathered some frequently posted questions regarding the possible negative impacts and added our responses below.

“Being overweight/obese is more detrimental to one’s health vs those who are underweight.”

Both over and underweight people face a similar number of possible health risks. For those who are underweight, issues include vitamin deficiency, a weakened immune system, and osteoporosis. We also must consider their mental health.

For example, consider those who constantly diet. They typically believe in the ‘thin ideal’. This often leads to spending many hours of their days worrying about each meal and its impact on their bodies. Counting or tracking every calorie in and out via exercise can undoubtedly wear on a person’s ability to be present in their lives.

“Being in a larger body is not attractive.”

The body positivity community has made great strides in challenging the way society labels bodies as attractive and healthy. It has drawn attention to the harm of the thin ideal as the holy grail. It has instead provided an alternative, encouraging people to move towards body acceptance.

This has included the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement. HAES addresses previously held beliefs made legitimate by medical reasons for weight loss are being debunked. People now more than ever have a voice, especially via social media. They are able to say ‘this is my body and it doesn’t have to be thin to be beautiful’.

“Encouraging body acceptance will lead to higher rates of obesity.”

The concern that the encouragement to accept and appreciate your body may lead to greater obesity and health concerns is based on the thin ideal propaganda. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to separate from.

Those who have been able to shift their body image mentality and are now strong believers in body positivity may react strongly when those in the community lose weight or change their diets.

Yet, the movement’s message is to accept our bodies for their uniqueness and differences. This encourages one to let go of the comparisons and judgments of others. By doing so, we build our self-esteem from within, positively impacting our mental and physical health.

This approach is contrary to the diet industry’s message of changing the outside first. And only when you do that, then self-acceptance and happiness will come.

For those who have bought into the latter time and time again, I hope they may give this alternative approach a chance. When we appreciate and love ourselves, we are more inspired to live in a balanced and joyful way.

If you are struggling with negative body image, you are deserving of support towards healing. We help our clients improve their self-esteem and transform their relationships with their bodies.


If you’d like to learn more about working with an Evolve clinician, reach out to us today!