A Very Good Place to Start

NO Negative Body TalkOne of the most common questions I’m asked is “Where do I start…?”  Sometimes it’s “where do I start to stop hating my body?”  Sometimes it’s “Where do I start to be a Size Acceptance Activst?”  To me one of the best places to start is with our own mouths:  Stop negative body talk, including about your own body.  That alone could start a revolution.

Start by making a decision – I’m going to stop negative body talk, including about my own body.

You can start by interrupting yourself when you think something negative about someone else’s body. You can just stop yourself, you can find something about them that you find beautiful, you can remind yourself that you’ve been conditioned to do this by people looking for profit, privilege and/or control and that you can opt out.  You can do this within your own mind, or go public about it and let people know you’ve taken a pledge to stop negative body talk. You can interrupt other people’s body snarking. You can stop sharing anything on social media that has elements of negative body talk.  You can skip the “Best and Worst Bikini Bodies” articles. It will take time for this to become second nature, so have compassion for yourself while you work on it!

When it comes to your own body, I recommend that you take ten minutes, right now, and make a list of things that your body does for you (breathing, blinking, heartbeat, waste management, smiling, rolling your wheelchair, hugging, texting whatever etc.) Include everything that you can think of. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Ok so you have your list, now become conscious of the way that you think about your body and start interrupting negative thoughts and replacing them with gratitude for something on the list. It doesn’t have to be an “even exchange” so  if you start to think about how you don’t like part of your body, you can interrupt that thought by thanking your body for breathing or anything else.  If there are things about your body that frustrate you or make you angry, it’s ok to feel that frustration and anger, and it’s also ok to still have gratitude for your body for all of the amazing things that it does do.  It takes practice and commitment, and it takes choosing to remove yourself from the the body hatred that comes standard with life in this culture, so be patient with yourself.  I know for sure that, for me, it was totally worth it.

Think about how different the world would be without body snarking, body hatred, negative body talk, body comparison, and a constant stream of articles criticizing women’s bodies.  How different would our thoughts be if they weren’t clouded with constant negative thoughts about our bodies and negative body comparisons?   How would the world be different if women refused to hate our bodies, or trash each others’ bodies?  I want to find out, what about you?  I think that one place to start is with ourselves, by deciding to stop being part of the system that holds us down.  Will you pledge to stop negative body talk?


I’m super excited to announce that Candice Casas, Courtney Marshall, Jeanette DePatie and I are creating an anthology of stories of fat people in the world of movement/fitness/sports at all levels. You can find all the information for the Call for Proposals here! The deadline for the proposals is July 15th. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org.

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7 thoughts on “A Very Good Place to Start

  1. Shutting down your own negative talk is an amazingly powerful thing to do.

    Another good place to get started: put together your own gallery of images of bodies that don’t fit the current beauty standard. Don’t worry too much about whether you find them pretty to start with, but don’t pick images designed to humiliate the subject (i.e.: no People of Walmart pics). Put them up in places where you will see them regularly. Then look at them regularly.

    It’s amazing what a difference this can make in a fairly short time. Plus it clues you in viscerally to just how limited a range of faces and bodies deemed ‘acceptably attractive’ by the current standard.

    But any place you find that works for you is the best place to start, whether it’s shutting down the negative talk, putting up positive images of fat bodies, blowing raspberries at diet aid/program/food line when the ads come on the television, or going out and buying a new wardrobe for the body you have now instead of the body you have been told you ought to have.

    Oh, and you could also start by reading Ragen’s fabulous book: Fat:The Owner’s Manual… I’m just saying. ; )

    1. Those are wonderful ideas! 😀 I’ve been involved in size acceptance for about a year, I discovered it via great blogs like this one! 🙂 I have done a lot of the same – I post, look at, draw and create (on the Sims 4) positive images of fat people 🙂 I saw Lilo and Stitch recently and thought it was so cute how she photographs them like they’re her favorite celebrities, telling her mom “Aren’t they beautiful?” ❤ I stopped dieting and diet talk immediately after learning about this great movement, and am always happy to blow raspberries at diet ads especially the ones aimed at kids! 😦 I currently can't afford the book, I'm going to ask if I can trade for the ebook a piece of my art or a copy of a short story I'm planning to write per this blog's request. http://obesitytimebomb.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-famous-headless-fatty.html Sometimes it's hard but I try to tell people to stop negative talk 🙂

      1. Hmm, I would love to put all my downloaded images of fat people in a site where people could see them, what’s Photobucket and is it good?
        I also made a cute GIF of Lilo and her size positive photography hobby, does this comment area take BBCode? or HTML? Img link? Thanks 😀

  2. Thank you for all those suggestions on how to fight negative body talk. Eliminating negative body talk and thoughts–mostly about my own body–is very hard for me.

    I don’t hate my body because of how it looks. When I hate my body (not all the time, but fairly often) it’s because of bad symptoms from my illness.

    However, even though it’s not about looks it’s still not a good thing. All that negative energy from hating my body can’t be good for me.

    I try to turn it around by thinking about how my body is doing the very best it can under difficult circumstances (disabled by chronic illness). Now I can add a lot of the items from your list. My body can still smile, hug, laugh, and so on. I will try to focus on that the next time I start to feel those negative thoughts. 🙂

  3. This is good stuff, but what if it has become relatively easy for you and you want to take your activism a step forward? I’m thinking along the lines of community activism, being public about your concerns and thoughts about weight stigma, things like that.

  4. Well, today I was told that I have a great personality, if only I loved myself more and lose weight (in order to be fuckable).

    This is where I stood up for myself. Shut down the negative talk, shut down negative talk about others and others talking about you in that way (yeah, including fake concern and OMGdeathfat). However, it all comes from the inside out.

    Accept that sometimes you are going to want to give up and start hating yourself again. Maybe some days you will wake up feeling exactly like that-it won’t last forever, I promise.

    Finally, find meaningful things in life that keep you away from all the negative talk. Ban all harmful images and look at yourself and others with love and compassion.

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