Can you be body positive and want to lose weight?

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When plus-size model Ashley Graham lost a bit of weight in the summer of 2017, people got really fired up. “LOL, even she is being changed by fame,” one person commented on an Instagram post, insinuating that the model had only lost weight after succumbing to the beauty industry’s impossible standards of thinness. Another went a step further, saying Graham was hurting the body positivity movement: “I hate that you say that you are a role model to every Big Girl, because in my opinion [you are not],” the rant reads, in part.

Graham’s response? “People come on my page and body shame me because I’m too big, because I’m too small, because I’m not good enough for their standards… But at the end of the day I’m good enough for me.” Why wasn’t her self-love good enough for everyone else?

The body positivity movement’s mission to stop the body-shaming madness is radically empowering—and one that is making real change.

The body positivity movement, of which Graham is a founding member and icon, is a response to a culture that judges women by their appearance (even when applying for jobs, women are far more likely to be judged on their looks than men are, research shows)—and a world where “You’d be so pretty if…” and unsought diet advice is like white noise in the background of a young girls’ upbringing.

This mission to stop the body-shaming madness is radically empowering—and one that is making real change.

Body positivity has created a space where people of any size can confidently walk into a yoga class. It’s reminded women that a badass body is one that belongs to a badass person—not one that looks a certain way. And it’s corrected dead-wrong stereotypes about what larger bodies are capable of. Writing for Well+Good, fitness historian Natalia Petrzela, PhD, said, “Body positivity is a potentially paradigm-shifting movement that has expanded far beyond the borders of Instagram with a power that would have been unimaginable back in 1973, when the radical Fat Liberation Manifesto proclaimed ‘Fat People of the World Unite—You Have Nothing to Lose!’ From that perspective, our current moment should feel triumphant and in some ways it truly does.”

Being proud of your body and wanting to change it seem to be at complete odds.

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