Am I a bad feminist for wanting to lose weight?

Live laugh love? More like die cry and hate... am I right?

In this issue, I'm going to be talking about weight loss and body image, so if those topics are triggering to you in any way then feel free to skip this one.

With the end of lockdown #3 in sight, many of us are starting to transition out of pyjamas and into more socially acceptable clothing. I am sure I’m not the only person who has found that many of my old favourite outfits are a little tight.

Although I have been running three times a week since August last year, no amount of exercise can offset the comfort I’ve sought from takeaways, cakes and wine over the last period of social quarantine.

I’m not alone, either. Around half of the people in this survey admit they have gained weight during lockdown. Without the usual hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be hard to get our steps in. Add that to the stress and pressure of a global pandemic and the lack of need for normal clothes, it’s no wonder that our bodies have changed.

Now the summer is rapidly approaching, the beer gardens are calling my name, and I couldn’t be further from body confident. When it comes to losing weight, I am torn. Part of me wants to, and that’s why I’ve been eating healthy and running even more over the last three weeks, but at the same time, I feel like I am letting the side down by even caring.

I don’t think women are the only ones feeling the pressures of unrealistic body expectations, however, I can only write from my own experience. With apps like Facetune, influencers actively promote impossible standards from pore-free skin to tiny waistlines and giant bums held up by spindle legs.

Over the last few years, celebrities, influencers and Jane public alike have joined forces to subvert unrealistic body expectations with campaigns like I Weigh by Jameela Jamil and the rise of plus-size models representing global fashion brands.

Now you have two warring camps: one that depicts a single beauty standard that is impossible to attain without technological (or surgical) help, and another that says it’s okay to be any size. And here I am… somewhere in the middle.

This is where my problem lies. Am I a bad feminist for wanting to lose weight? Am I subconsciously playing into the hands of the brands that promote skinniness as an ideal? Or is it just that I want to shift a few pounds and get healthier in the process? I don't know.

Don’t get me wrong, I am vehemently against diet culture. I strongly believe that a healthy lifestyle with treats in moderation is the only way to make a lasting change, and weight loss isn't always the end goal for those looking to feel better in themselves. I also think it's crucial to note that all bodies are different and, as a result, so is the definition of “healthy”.

For example, I was nearly two stone lighter back in 2016. I vividly remember receiving compliments at work for my figure and people would ask for dietary and exercise advice. The real reason why I was borderline underweight was because I suffered from chronic IBS and anxiety that meant every meal made me ill. On the worst days, I could barely stay awake at my desk. Now I can run 10K without stopping. So, even though 2016 Ellen met society's body standards, 2021 Ellen is fitter and healthier than ever.

For me, this current journey is as simple as ditching the lockdown bloat and improving my fitness at the same time. I'm even training for the Great North Run to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK.

It's springtime (apparently)

As the summer months approach, it’s not unusual for people to experience a health kick. The sunshine makes it much easier to go out for a family bike ride or walk around the park. And that feeling is only exacerbated this year by the fact that we’ve all sat on our arses in our sweats for the last 12 months.

By making a choice to live more healthfully, with the goal of losing a few pounds, I feel like I am letting the side down. Am I part of the problem for monitoring my calories or wearing a FitBit? But if I don’t make conscious changes now, I risk falling into worse habits.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on balancing the need to make healthy changes with the guilt of playing into societal pressures that skinny = better.

You can find me on Twitter @ContentByTheSea or reply to this email for a chat in confidence. If you are also on a fitness journey, you can add me as a friend on Strava!

📚 Monday’s Not Coming - Tiffany D. Jackson

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong.  As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

🎙 Commentary Youtuber Munecat is back with the second part of her deep dive on Tony Robbins. This is some mind-blowing stuff… I just don’t understand how people are still paying to see this man speak. If you don’t know why Robbins is a scumbag, you can watch both parts of Georgie’s video here.

No podcast from us this week as we took the long weekend off, but we’ll be back next week. Catch up on previous episodes on our YouTube Channel or follow us on Spotify.

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That's all from me this week! See you next Wednesday 🙂 x