Updated: Aug 16, 2020
By this point, I hope you all have realized that I am a pretty positive person. I try to spread love and kindness wherever I go, no matter who it is. Okay, I get it. We are all couped up in our homes, we are getting so tired of seeing the same 4 walls, and we are running out of shows to watch on Netflix (sidenote: I truly have no idea how you people are watching so many shows because I barely have enough time to finish my homework!)
We spend so much time scrolling on social media, and it has been brought to my attention time and time again the amount of "fat" jokes that are being shared. I am not writing this post to offend a single soul, but I just want to inform others about what we learn in preschool: words do hurt. Subconsciously, even if we think we are not affected by the word choice of others, what we read and hear sinks into our bones and shapes our beliefs.
So here is what NOT to say on your social media as you are posting away.
1. "Are they taking open enrollment for the Biggest Loser? If so, sign me up after this quarantine!"
2. "I cannot stop eating!"
3. "I am gaining so much weight being cooped up!"
4. "I am going to be so fat when all this is said and done."
5. "Looking for diet recommendations"
These are only a few statements that I have heard and seen, and I am certain you have heard and seen plenty too. Here's the thing: when you are promoting the idea that gaining a few pounds in this season of social stress is a bad thing, you are feeding into the social norm of fat phobia. What does this mean? This means that we worship the "thinness ideal" and shame the idea of health at all sizes. Yes, your lifestyle may have become more sedentary during this time, and that is a-okay.
Let me tell you this: your body is beautiful and strong and healthy no matter what your weight (aka your relationship with gravity on a scale) is. You have legs for walking outdoors to get you up and out of your home. You have eyes to see the tv screen and keep up with the news (or Tiger King, whatever you are feeling). You have hands to put on some rubber gloves and go help at your local food bank. You have a heart that beats and lungs that give you breath. I know sometimes it's so hard to see past the outer layer, but deep down you have a purpose that goes past this pandemic.
Here is my challenge for you: each morning, when you walk into the bathroom (which is probably running low on toilet paper at this point), say 3 things you love about yourself NOT your body, you--a wholesome person with multiple dimensions past the 2D image staring back at you. As you go about your day, list the things you are thankful for. When you scroll through social media, unfollow the people who are triggering to your anxiety, stress, eating disorder, trauma, or anger. If you must post on Instagram and Facebook, instead of making a joke about how you're going to have eyebrows that look like Chewbacca's, roots like Cruela DeVil's, or ask for recommendations of diets, be encouraging to someone who may need it more than you do. Lastly, get up and get moving! I'm not asking you to do CrossFit or be training for a marathon during this time, but go for a walk, get some fresh air. Dust off your old Wii Fit if you're really feeling it! Take an online yoga class. Movement can be a form of meditation, it doesn't have to be a punishment in quarantine.
It's the little things that make all the difference. Chose your words wisely.