I have a lot of friends in the size acceptance/body acceptance, body positive, fat activist world. I am solidly with them. All bodies are good bodies and all bodies deserve respect. I’ve been a fat activist for going on 25 years now. I’ve been a nudist going on 15 years. Long enough for me that body shame has become a non-issue. It never occurs to me anymore to think about changing my body or hiding my body. I don’t worry about what I consume or don’t consume. If I want to eat something, I eat it. I naturally like a lot of “healthy” foods – but I feel no need to explain or justify my food choices, my body size/shape/fitness, my wardrobe choices, or really anything about me. I am here. I exist. I’m doing my things in the world – and that is enough. I feel internally held and supported. I stand present in myself.
It wasn’t always this way. On the contrary, I spent decades trying to change my body size, trying to shrink myself, trying to flatten my stomach. From the time I was 10 years old until I was in my early 40’s, I dieted and exercised like a person obsessed. I converted to “lifestyle changes” when I’d decided dieting was harmful – found sneaky ways to continue dieting as I also tried to make fat acceptance/celebration my reality. I’d held the problematic and untrue belief for so long that if I just got the right body size, the entire rest of my life would fall into place. Looking back, I’m not sure how I could have ever fallen for such a load of crap – for THIRTY years! But such is the power of receiving around 386,170 negative messages a year about our bodies from media and society in general. (https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/386170-unhelpful-things/)
Somewhere along the way, and I think the biggest piece of all of this was becoming a nudist, I stopped struggling with body image altogether. So much so that when I now see articles from my friends that talk about how many young girls are dieting and suffering from eating disorders, and how many women struggle with body image, I feel like, oh that’s still around? It’s just not a part of my world anymore – and it’s disorienting to see and read about people for whom it is still an issue that consumes them and prevents them from living a full and happy life. That’s still the reality for a lot (the majority?) of girls/women, and increasingly, boys/men.
I remember waiting for my life to begin when I finally attained what I thought would be my perfect body. I remember all of the self-denial and grueling exercise – and how imbalanced and small my life seemed back then, consumed with trying to be smaller than my body naturally was.
Today, I look around and I see bodies of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, and various scars and other variations – and we’re all just human beings, all worthy of love, respect, and belonging. We don’t need to have different or “perfect” bodies. We are all miracles!
I look at myself and see signs of my body aging. And I’m okay with that. I’m comfortable in my body, grateful for my life. Maybe part of it is having survived cancer. That certainly gives a different perspective. But I think the biggest part is the nudist lifestyle. Through nudism, I have come home to my body. I invite you to see what nudism can do for you.