Confession time: Sometimes I feel like I’m not qualified to be doing what I am. I mean, who am I, as a white, thin, cisgender, 5’8” sorority girl to be telling people to feel comfortable in the body that they’re in? This isn’t me bragging about how “pretty” I think I am, but I feel like it’s important to acknowledge that I face almost no adversity when it comes to society’s ideals about physical appearance.
I have experienced a lot of guilt in the past about declaring myself an advocate for body positivity. Yes, I love to indulge in late night froyo, and I’m a huge fan of a McDonald’s McChicken, but for the most part, my lifestyle is very healthy. I eat veggies every day and I exercise regularly. So how can I, as a veggie-loving, gym regular tell people to accept themselves?
When I struggled with this self-imposed guilt, I developed the mindset that I had to maintain a perfect ratio of “health” to “treating myself” in order to successfully be an advocate for body acceptance. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, for a while I developed a “YOLO” attitude about everything that I ate, because that’s what I thought I had to do in order to qualify. That’s simply not the case. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
After doing a lot of reflecting, I finally came to a consensus on this. (I would genuinely love to know what you all think, so feel free to comment or contact me. Let’s start a conversation!) I personally believe that healthy living and body positivity can co-exist. I can pay attention to what I put in my body, and still push for all body types to be celebrated, and so can you. Or, you can eat pizza for lunch every day and hate the gym and still be an advocate. What you choose to eat doesn’t matter as much as your mindset does.
In my opinion, the only thing you have to do to be body-positive is free yourself from the pressures that society puts on us when it comes to physical appearance, and encourage others to do the same. Embrace natural body size and things like cellulite, stretch marks, and scars- on yourself, and others.
There is no list of criteria that you have to meet, and there is not a certain lifestyle that you have to live. You don’t have to eat a certain way, or look a certain way. Your role as an advocate is valid and important, no matter what you look like, or how much time you like to spend at the gym. Let’s expand what it means to be body-positive, because in my opinion, the more people we have to join our team, the better.
3 thoughts on “Imposter Syndrome”
Hey Mackenzie, I really love that you’re addressing this topic! So often I think people see dietitians/dietetic students as being a certain “type,” to the point that we want to eat a whole pizza just so they won’t think we’re some kind of superhuman. Reading your post really got me thinking about my attitude and thoughts about body positivity. I think a big part of body positivity is learning to love your body on you and others’ bodies on them (instead of comparing each other!). Thanks for bringing this up!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hey Holly! You said it perfectly. Comparison really is the thief of all joy, and we should celebrate the differences in our bodies instead of comparing!
Hey Mackenzie, I love that you’re posting about this topic! So often it feels like people assume dietitians/dietetic students have a certain “type,” and sometimes it makes me want to eat a whole pizza just so they don’t think I’m superhuman or judging what they’re eating. Your post really got me thinking about my attitude and thoughts towards body positivity. I think that a big part of body positivity is loving your body on you and others’ bodies on them (instead of comparing each other!).