Being part of a transformation challenge when you are a body acceptance believer.
The Biggest Loser has started on Australian television screens again this week with a re-vamp. Wanting to get rid of their fat shaming past, the relaunch features contestants who have a smaller amount of weight to lose, and a a good story to go with it. It seems that some of the double standards and lose-lose situations have gone, such as temptation challenges which saw previous contestants eat a calorie-laden food item just to stay in the game, only to have their trainer chuck a tantrum at the eating of one Ferraro Rocher.
I stopped watching The Biggest Loser after 2012. This was the year the producers used a female contestant as (basically) a lure to make a male contestant win something so she could go on a date with him. Despite the female contestant telling the cameras ‘we are just friends, I don’t like him in that way’, someone else was whispering in the ear of this guy, and it wasn’t fair for anyone.
Anyway, The Biggest Loser relaunch reminded me that I’m at the end of a transformation challenge (I have about ten days left), and that this isn’t something that the body positivity movement would really be rejoicing about. Firstly, transformation infers that the person is changing shape which is indeed the case. There has been a focus on weight loss (both fat loss and muscle gain), but also on measurements — some claim that waist measurement is a better measure of health than BMI.
It’s not that I’m no longer pro body acceptance, just that I’m pro accepting that my body can move and do more than I have pushed it to do in the last few years. And, with buggering up my knees, a huge part of my time in the challenge has been focusing on what I can do. Can I squat and lunge and run? Nah, not unless I don’t want to walk properly for a few days. But there is so much I can do, and do well, and it is that acceptance that is important to me.
It’s okay to not want to change, or to be happy in the skin you’re in, and it’s also okay to decide, for yourself, that you do want to try something different.
For me, transformation hasn’t just been about getting to wear a nice dress (although, that would be nice). It’s happening because for a long time I haven’t had a lot of energy and I haven’t been very fit. It’s happening because after going down the high-weight-high-risk-pregnancy route I want something better should I be blessed with another pregnancy. It’s happening because I can accept who I am, my failures and short comings too, and know that it’s only up to me if I want things to change.
Am I happy as a fat woman? Yup.
Am I happy being on the road to being a lean, mean, fat burning machine? Yup.
Is my life going to be improved by looking smaller, or taller, or thinner? Probably not.
In short, how do I stay true to myself? By engaging in activities that are good for me. I’m not big on ‘earning’ a cheat meal (although I do indulge in these), or only eating stuff I hate. Whatever feels inauthentic I chuck out, and what does feel right for me I am clinging to.