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Several TikTok Influencers are Demonstrating that Achieving a Fit Body Can Happen While Embracing Curves

Throughout much of my existence, I’ve encountered the societal notion that individuals with curvy bodies either “overeat” or “do not engage in enough physical activity.” The narrative states that if they were to change these behaviors, they would lose weight. Thus, when I experienced weight gain recently, I could sense the judgment from others, presuming that I had adopted those habits and somehow became a “bad” person. (Spoiler alert: That was not the case.)

Intellectually, I understood that weight gain does not reflect one’s morality. While involved in a college organization focused on social justice in relation to eating disorders, I unraveled the myths that pervade our society—and discovered the truths behind them. For instance, I learned that food does not possess moral worth, individuals can be healthy at diverse sizes, and it is misleading to make assumptions about someone’s habits or health based purely on appearance. Furthermore, I acquired knowledge about the plethora of factors influencing health and weight, including genetics, medication, income, geographical location, and much more. Despite this awareness, I struggled as many people around me were uninformed and did not share this understanding.

Then, I stumbled upon Sports Illustrated model Ella Halikas and Laetitia De Carufel on my TikTok “For You” page. These women are influencers and creators celebrating body positivity, showcasing their dedication to regular exercise, fitness, and living in bodies with curves. Some of their videos serve as responses to comments from TikTok users, while others are standard uploads.

@ellahalikashealth & fitness isn’t a one-size fits all kinda thing.. remember that

♬ original sound – Sickickmusic

As an illustration, Halikas conveyed in one of her gym workout videos: “When individuals suggest I should hit the gym without realizing I have been an athlete my entire life and could outperform them any day.” In the accompanying caption, she emphasized, “Health & fitness isn’t a one-size fits all kinda thing…remember that.”

In one of De Carufel’s videos, she addressed the expectations from individuals who discover that she exercises five days per week, anticipating to visually witness someone who appears “extremely fit.” She confidently responds, “Indeed, I am,” and proceeds to pan to her body, elucidating that a healthy, fit physique does not always exhibit visible abs or a low body fat percentage. My immediate response: You go, girl!

Yet, on a more profound note, witnessing this kind of portrayal holds significant meaning for me. While recognizing that physical exercise does not automatically categorize someone as “good,” “better,” or “healthier,” and that we are not obliged to provide anyone with a justification for our workout routine, observing real individuals demonstrate that a curvy body does not signify a lack of fitness is reassuring. As a woman with curves who enjoys dancing and occasionally engaging in volleyball, it alleviates the sense of solitude or the feeling that there is something inherently “wrong” with me or my body.

These TikToks also illuminate those who have not yet comprehended that weight and health are not as directly intertwined as previously believed—which ideally leads to a reduction in fat prejudice and criticism. This is crucial not only on a personal and societal level but can potentially influence systematic issues such as weight-based discrimination. If you are unfamiliar with this, it is common for individuals with larger bodies to receive inadequate healthcare and experience job rejection or lower earnings purely due to their appearance. Needless to say, this is irrational, perilous, and necessitates change.

“The day I decided to be confident and embrace life to the fullest in the body I inhabit, regardless of size, was the day my life transformed forever.” –Ella Halikas

Change is underway, albeit gradually. Registered dietitian and intuitive eating counselor Sammy Previte serves as an example. In several of her TikToks, she discusses her shift from advocating weight loss and “clean eating” to her clients, and the abandonment of these practices due to the enlightenment she acquired from the Health at Every Size movement and comparable initiatives, illustrating that weight is not the exclusive indicator of well-being and that all foods are acceptable.

Individuals like these creators frequently encounter significant backlash for their content—a circumstance I can relate to as someone involved in crafting online articles—and I respect the zeal that motivates them to continue sharing despite the adversity.

“I believe it is vital to disseminate this message because individuals must recognize that health and fitness manifest in various shapes and sizes,” Halikas emphasizes during a conversation. She references instances where her healthiness, equivalent to that of her slender counterparts, was overlooked due to her size. “I would even argue that this is my physically heaviest, yet I am at my healthiest and most robust,” she asserts.

Halikas aspires to instill confidence in others. “By sharing my workout regimens, discussing my meal preparations, and candidly revealing aspects of my life, I hope to empower others to share their own narrative and lead their lives according to their desires, regardless of their physique,” she states.

Her success in this endeavour is evident in the comments section. Noteworthy remarks directed towards Halikas include “Thank you for illustrating that one can be healthy and strong even in a curvy body” and “You have motivated me to concentrate on self-improvement.” Such affirmations inspire her to persist with her content creation.

Despite encountering criticism, Halikas possesses the resilience to manage it. “The negative feedback I have received primarily involves individuals fat-shaming me, urging me to shed weight, and asserting my lack of well-being purely based on my physique,” she discloses. “Managing disparaging remarks is never straightforward; nonetheless, I have acquired the capacity to prevent them from affecting me.”

She comprehends the significance of her message and identifies the underlying roots of those negative comments. “I now grasp that these derogatory remarks originate from individuals plagued by insecurities attempting to drag me down to their level,” she observes. “I strive to avoid interpreting these comments as a personal affront, recognizing that they reflect more on the commenter than on me.”

Moreover, she emphasizes that physical fitness is not exclusively about weight reduction. “I wish for individuals to discontinue assuming that my daily fitness sessions are solely aimed at shedding pounds,” she remarks. “There exist numerous reasons driving people to exercise, beyond the pursuit of weight loss.”

Halikas’ choice to embrace confidence regardless of her size elicited a profound transformation in her life. “During my younger years, I devoted considerable effort to conforming to societal norms of beauty and fitness, yearning to become slimmer,” she reflects. “The day I resolved to exude confidence and relish life to the fullest in my current body size was the day my life underwent a radical shift.”

The impact of her dedication resonates in my personal experiences as well. Presently, thanks to Halikas and De Carufel, I have gathered the fortitude to challenge that inner voice suggesting that I am not healthy or deserving of respect due to being “larger.” I proudly sport bikinis at the beach without attempting to conceal my stomach. I strive to incorporate exercise more into my routine for reasons unrelated to weight-related concerns. I am gradually shedding concerns about external perceptions of my appearance and behaviors. While it is a journey that demands time and acceptance, progress is undeniable.

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