Love Your Body, What Does That Mean?

Just a warning before you continue, this blog post is laden with controversy. I don't mean to offend, just to offer another perspective that many of us may have not considered in our experiences with food and exercise. Proceed with caution and take this with a grain of salt.

If you've ever been on Tumblr, odds are you've seen young women blogging about loving their bodies and embracing their natural curves. Right off the bat, I think that's awesome. It is so important to be proud of your God-given shape and the way you're "programmed". If you're naturally slim without any prominent curves, odds are you're not going to wake up one morning with the boobs of a lingerie model. By contrast, if you're like me and you have a larger bottom half, you're probably never going to fit into size 2 pants. That's okay. The sooner you learn that, the better. Sizing charts and Victoria's Secret Angels are both unrealistic examples of Western society's beauty standards. I know that, and deep down so do you; we've heard Christina Aguilera tell us we are "beautiful, in every single way" enough times to recite the mantra in our sleep.

However, I think the new "Love Your Body" campaign is taking a negative turn that is dramatically rebelling against societal expectations in an ultimately hurtful way. By teaching girls to love their bodies, we're confusing love with laziness. We're creating a malformed, half-assed version of self-acceptance that is causing unhealthy habits. Because guess what? Truly loving your body goes beyond embracing your natural shape and eating as much pizza as you can sustain. Loving your body means understanding its functions and its ability to serve your daily endeavors. Loving your body means respecting it and leading a healthy lifestyle so you're able to live a long life free of illness and full of opportunity. And no, that doesn't mean you can just eat Cheetos all day with your middle finger up to the world.

Before I proceed, I just want to note that no one has a completely perfect relationship with their body, no one will ever completely understand and nurture the inner workings of themselves 100% of the time; anyone that tells you otherwise is lying. In fact, I preach a healthy lifestyle and go to the gym at least five days a week, but I also have eaten tacos, pizza, and cinnamon rolls in bed this week alone. Having a good relationship with food means allowing yourself occasional indulges, and I'm not even going to pretend like I disagree with that premise. That being said, I do believe in treating one's body like a temple and making poor habits the exception and not the rule. If you truly love your body, you should be energizing it with healthy foods and exercising. I'm not sure where people got the impression that proponents of clean eating and cardio are evil, but for some reason if you were to talk to someone about working out or eating vegetables, you're considered a terrible sadist. I don't follow that logic.

So here's the bottom line: I'm not here to judge you, and no one on Earth can make you feel inferior without your consent. So while you and I both know that it would be in everyone's best interest to be healthy, if you don't care, then don't. Eat more mozzarella sticks and start heaving every time you go up a flight of stairs. But consider this: while that may be comfortable now, and while you're 100% entitled to loving your shape and weight regardless of your eating habits, I urge you to really consider if you "love your body". My guess is that if you really did, you would do everything in your power to make sure its in good shape. Think about it this way: if you were given a top-of-the-line sports car absolutely for free, with the only catch being that you had to fuel it with premium gas, it'd probably be in your best interest to do so. Sure, maybe if money was tight one week or you just didn't care, you may occasionally fuel it with regular grade gasoline, but you have to admit that the car won't run at its personal best under those circumstances. And if you got a sports car with no charge and no gimmicks, I would argue that top-of-the-line gas isn't a terrible offset.

God (or whatever spiritual force you do or don't believe in) gave you a top-of-the-line body, and all you need to do is fuel it with the best gas you can--that doesn't seem too difficult, right? Let's find a balance between these two images below:

Take more responsibility than this.
But know that life is too short to not eat cupcakes when you want a f--king cupcake. Also I should note that if your mindset resembles this one, you may be a candidate for disordered eating and may require the attention of a professional physician or psychiatrist. 

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