Originally published August 26, 2019.
I know I write about fat largely from an erotic angle, but body acceptance and fat positivity are also things I care deeply about. Which does come up in some of my stories (The Baker’s Bashful Boyfriend and The Fashion Writer’s Husband come to mind), although I feel I ought to write about it more. But that’s beside the point.
A while ago, a friend asked me for tips on accepting his body at the weight it’s at, after I told him that I’d managed to go from hating my body to loving my body in about a year. Some people suggest positive affirmations or trying to change your inner dialog for this kind of thing, but I find that very hard to do. I personally find it easier to make myself do things than make myself think thing. So here’s a list of the things I did to help me see my body in a more positive light.
- Take selfies and post them online. It sounds silly, but thanks to the mere exposure effect, where being exposed to something makes you like it more, it really works. One way to incorporate more selfies in your social media usage is that when to go to take a picture of something, take a selfie with the thing in it instead, to also show off your reaction.
- If possible for you, when you’re home, lounge around naked. It’s a great way to get used to your body and see it as a more neutral thing, which can be a good stepping stone to liking your body.
- Buy cute underwear. Again, this sounds silly, but it can help you feel sexy, which can be a big confidence boost depending on the person.
- Follow body positivity and fat positivity accounts on whatever social media site you use most. The more you see confident people who look like you, the more that confidence will seem possible to you.
- When you find yourself thinking bad things about yourself, actively counter it. If you can’t counter it with something positive, at least counter it with something neutral. E.g. “I look fine,” or “If I don’t mind this body type on others, then it’s fine on me,” or “I don’t owe anyone thinness,” or “Weight has no moral value.”
- Similarly, stop saying bad things about your body. Just because you think them doesn’t mean you have to vocalize them, and how you talk about your body is going to influence how other people see your body. If you use self-deprecating humor as a coping mechanism, try saying outrageously positive things about your body instead. The disparity between how you feel about your body and how you talk about it will serve a similarly humorous purpose. But over time, the way you feel about your body will more closely mirror how you talk about it.
- Buy clothes you actually like, rather than ones that are “flattering”. And buy them in a size that fits you, rather than a “goal” size or a baggy size.
- Take care of the other elements of your appearance that you have more control over. Try something new with your hair, wash your face, wear deodorant, etc. These things make a huge difference for people of any size.
- Go to the gym, but not to lose weight. Taking care of yourself can make you feel good about yourself. Plus going to the gym has a ton of benefits that have nothing to do with weight loss. Also, I think a source of insecurity for a lot of big guys is the sense that their body “happened” to them. If you start lifting weights and getting definition, you can gain a sense of ownership over what your body looks like.
- Remember the “shitty basement ska show” paradigm, as described here: ronibravo.tumblr.com/post/1252…. I don’t offer many positive self-affirmations because I don’t find them helpful. But I think a paradigm shift can be helpful. I listen to a lot of black metal. The bands and artists who make this stuff will never be able to sustain a full-time career off of it. Even the most popular artists in the style have audiences whose size PALES in comparison to a mainstream artist. But they can still be proud of their work. And their work will still find an appreciative audience, who will appreciate it all the more for being exactly what it is. We are that black metal / shitty ska music.
- If possible, minimize your time around people who make you feel bad about your body.
- Watch Queer Eye and pick up some of their tips.